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The HR Specialist: Pennsylvania Employment Law

The 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals, headquartered in Philadelphia, has given the EEOC approval to implement a final rule allowing employers to give greater benefits to younger retirees than to Medicare-eligible retirees — without violating age-discrimination rules …

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Q. I have an employee who hurt her neck, went to the doctor and never came back. However she has been in contact with me and keeps me updated. She has been out for three months, and had surgery a couple weeks after her injury. She told me she would not be returning for a few more weeks. In the meantime I received an unemployment claim form from her. We denied it because we did not let her go. Do any Pennsylvania laws state she can collect unemployment?

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Q. How do I give a reference for a worker I had to fire?

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Q. Can I dock an employee’s pay for failing to meet a production quota?

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If you’re a decision-maker in your organization and exercise that power to withhold wages from an employee, you could find yourself personally liable to that employee if you get it wrong …

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The Pennsylvania Unemployment Compensation Law includes a presumption that out-of-work individuals are employees, not independent contractors (who aren’t eligible for UI benefits). It’s up to you—not the worker—to prove that he or she is an independent contractor

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When it comes to evaluating applicants, you can consider factors like evidence of the employee’s commitment to the job and the likelihood he won’t stick around. That’s true even if it means you don’t hire an older applicant who worked for your organization in the past and received good reviews

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While at-will employment is the standard in Pennsylvania, the right to fire an employee with or without cause is not absolute. Your organization can be sued under state law if former employees can show that they were fired in retaliation for exercising a right protected by Pennsylvania law

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Firing an employee is a painful process. But delivering the news needn’t turn into a marathon discussion or airing of every management beef about the employee …

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If your organization hires a subcontracting firm and knows that it’s discriminating against its employees, take note: You could be held liable under a rather obscure part of Pennsylvania law …

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