The HR Specialist: Pennsylvania Employment Law

The Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission has ordered Plum Entertainment, a New Hope theater production company, to pay $162,000 to Sharon Sheridan, a former personal assistant who claimed she was fired for complaining about sexual harassment.

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The borough of Ellwood City has agreed to pay $160,000 to former police chief Richard McDonald to settle charges of racial discrimination. Almost immediately after being hired in June 2007, McDonald clashed with Mayor Donald Clyde …

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Employers are responsible for the way their employees behave. Threatening behavior toward fellow employees or customers that causes emotional or physical harm can lead to a negligent-supervision lawsuit.

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Q. If we suspend an employee “pending investigation,” what information must we provide to the employee?

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The financial meltdown has spelled job creation for one office: The Pennsylvania unemployment hotline recently hired 132 additional staffers.

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Philadelphia-based CIGNA has instituted a complete smoking ban at all of its 179 properties, effective April 1.

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As Valentine’s Day draws near, it’s time to take a loving look at that everlasting HR worry … the office romance. Supervisor-subordinate relationships can spell real trouble, and it’s no solace if—at least for a while—the subordinate welcomed the boss’s advances. More cheerfully, there’s good news about where our priorities are these days.

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The ongoing soap opera that is Philadelphia news broadcasting seems to be winding down. Former WCAU-TV news anchor Vince DeMentri has settled for an undisclosed sum for a sex discrimination complaint…

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Nieland Bynoe was hired as a driver for UPS Freight in 2007. He hadn’t even made it through orientation, however, before he was fired for refusing to shave his beard and cut off his dreadlocks … The EEOC has sued on his behalf.

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Don’t be surprised if your employees who are bicycling enthusiasts approach HR about a bicycle commuting benefit recently passed into federal law. The Bicycle Commuter Act allows employers of every size to deduct the cost of subsidizing bicycle commuting from their federal taxes.

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