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The HR Specialist: Pennsylvania Employment Law

The Pennsylvania Criminal History Records Information Act restricts how employers may use criminal records in hiring. That doesn’t mean employers cannot require a security clearance from an outside agency.

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Sending an employee home following a dispute or workplace error with instructions to think about the event doesn’t count as a discharge—it’s a second chance. Failing to return to work afterward then becomes a resignation, thus disqualifying the employee from receiving unemployment benefits.

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A federal court interpreting Pennsylvania law has concluded that firing a worker for calling in a complaint to OSHA provides protection under the public-policy exception.

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If you have a progressive disciplinary policy that gives employees a chance to improve when they make mistakes, make sure you use it consistently. It will pay off if you follow your policy, fire an employee and the employee later decides to sue.

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Government employees have more protection from termination than most private-sector workers do. Example: They have the right to comment on matters of public concern without being discharged for doing so.

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The Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry has submitted a proposed rule to amend the regulations that exempt executive, administrative and professional salaried workers from overtime requirements under Pennsylvania’s Minimum Wage Act of 1968.

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Brandishing a plastic bag containing 79 cents, Gov. Tom Wolf announced an executive order barring most Pennsylvania government offices from asking for an applicant’s salary history during the hiring process.

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Winning a discrimination suit over a lost promotion can cost an employer dearly—but all is not lost simply because a jury concludes the promotion was unfairly awarded.

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Strong Contractors in Bensalem, Pa. has become the go-to destination for OSHA inspectors. Since March 2017, they have descended on Strong worksites 14 times.

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Workplace diversity initiatives can benefit employers and employees alike, but they can also present a challenging dynamic for employers.

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Employers don’t have to comply with the FMLA unless they employ 50 or more employees. However, they can’t escape being covered by creating smaller, wholly owned enterprises.

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Terminated employees often receive a severance payment in exchange for waiving the right to sue. Employees considering such an offer may feel stressed out, considering they are about to be fired. Their stress won’t invalidate an otherwise fair waiver.

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Generally, employers should be careful to discipline workers in a consistent manner. Employees who break the same rule should earn the same punishment. However, employers can sometimes justify differences in discipline if they can offer detailed explanations why.

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It is essential to grant FMLA leave when eligible employees need it. At the same time, it is perfectly legal to require employees to follow specific procedures for using leave. Just make sure employees understand those rules.

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Supervisors may harbor deep animosity towards a particular worker. But unless that animosity is based on a protected characteristic such as race, sex or age, it remains merely unfair, not a case of discrimination.

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A New Freedom, Pa. woman says gambling addiction is why she embezzled $4.3 million while working at the Susquehanna Valley Surgical Center in Harrisburg.

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Eastern Penn Manufacturing Co. in Lyon Station, Pa., faces a lawsuit after investigators from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division found the company failed to pay workers for the time they spent putting on and taking off protective clothing and time spent showering before they checked out.

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If an employer reassures an applicant that she’s going to be working in a safe environment and that turns out to be incorrect, that worker may be justified in quitting.

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Sometimes an employee discovers she may have a disability, or that it’s time to disclose one she had been keeping secret. How the employer responds to that information may prevent an ADA discrimination lawsuit—or trigger one.

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Not every negative thing that happens amounts to retaliation or discrimination. Employees have to show that any “punishment” they experienced significantly changed the conditions of employment.

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