The HR Specialist: Pennsylvania Employment Law — Business Management Daily: Free Reports on Human Resources, Employment Law, Office Management, Office Communication, Office Technology and Small Business Tax Business Management Daily
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The HR Specialist: Pennsylvania Employment Law

Here’s a reminder for Pennsylvania employers: Before videotaping or otherwise recording an investigation into an employee complaint, get permission to do so. Otherwise, you may face a wiretapping criminal charge.

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When an employer in Pennsylvania revamped its break program by requiring workers to log out, it also decided the breaks would be unpaid. That flew in the face of decades of Department of Labor guidance—and provoked a lawsuit.

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Is spousal jealousy grounds for firing members of a particular sex? According to a recent federal court case, the answer is no if that jealousy is directed to a group of employees rather than one specific worker.

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One response to reported sexual harassment is to separate the alleged victim from the alleged harasser. However, if the separation includes a schedule change, the victim may claim that amounted to punishing her for reporting harassment in the first place.

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A Philadelphia-area real estate investment firm that owns and manages apartment communities, retail shopping centers and professional office buildings faces an EEOC lawsuit after it fired an employee shortly after she disclosed she was pregnant.

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Cosmetic giant Estée Lauder faces charges its parental leave benefits discriminate against men.

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A U.S. Forest Service biologist working in Pennsylvania claims he is being discriminated against because of his sex.

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The 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals recently handed a victory to employers that struggle with employees who misuse FMLA leave—particularly intermittent FMLA leave. The court held that an employer’s honest belief that its employee misused FMLA leave was sufficient to defeat an FMLA retaliation claim, even if the employer was mistaken.

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In Pennsylvania, workers are protected for whistleblowing. However, the law has specific requirements. For example, the worker’s complaint must be “objectively reasonable” and not merely a complaint about some perceived safety issue.

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When preparing a performance review, remind supervisors that they should never mention FMLA leave or appear to use it as a factor in the evaluation. That can lead to a big jury award later if the review is used to justify termination—even during a reduction in force.

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