Pennsylvania News & Analysis

  • Ellerth/Faragher in #MeToo era: What if harassment isn't reported?

    The U.S. 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals (whose rulings apply to all Pennsylvania employers) recently applied the familiar Ellerth/Faragher affirmative defense to reach a notable #MeToo conclusion in a sexual harassment case: An employee didn't act "unreasonably" by failing to report her boss's sexually harassing conduct to her employer, and her claim could therefore proceed to trial. Although it isn't a change in the law per se, the court's conclusion is a departure from previous cases in which courts have routinely dismissed harassment claims under similar circumstances.

  • New technologies create new employee privacy issues

    Unless you work for a company that's very small or very low-tech by nature, chances are, one of your biggest challenges is keeping up with technology. If your competitors are taking advantage of the many new technological advances that promote efficiency and productivity while you're stuck in 1999, your business will struggle to compete.

  • L-I proposes significant changes to Pennsylvania Minimum Wage Act

    In 2016, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) set out to significantly modify the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) regulations regarding exemptions from its overtime and minimum wage requirements. The changes it proposed—including raising the current salary requirement from $455 to $913 per week—would have affected an estimated 4.2 million salaried workers, of which 4.1 million would have been reclassified as nonexempt and overtime-eligible. After an 11th-hour injunction from the U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of Texas, the DOL's proposed changes never took effect.

  • The end of the Kennedy era

    For the past 20 years, Anthony Kennedy has decided the most important issues in America. An early protégé of Justice Antonin Scalia, Kennedy was appointed by Ronald Reagan as a conservative choice for the U.S. Supreme Court. At first, he voted with the conservative bloc more than 90 percent of the time and remained solidly conservative on criminal justice issues throughout his judicial tenure.

  • Be reasonable: Employees may not be able to request 'a few weeks or months' of ADA leave

    A request for indefinite leave isn't a reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the 3rd Circuit recently decided.

  • Are you obligated to investigate dated harassment complaints?

    Q Is there a statute of limitations for sexual harassment complaints? For example, if an employee brings forth a complaint from many years ago, are we obligated to investigate?

  • Workplace Trends

    Survey finds more than half of workers open to new job opportunities. Recruitment firms Accounting Principals and Ajilon released results of a new survey in July exploring job search trends among more than 1,000 U.S. full-time workers in sales, office, and management/professional occupations. The survey found that 25.7% of respondents are actively seeking new job opportunities and that 55.5% are passively open to new job opportunities. The survey found that salary is the most important factor respondents consider when deciding to accept a job offer. The survey also found that 43.2% of respondents would be enticed to leave their company if another one offered a better salary or pay. That rate is highest among respondents ages 18 to 25, while respondents age 55 and older are least likely to leave for better pay.

  • Agency Action

    NLRB launches ADR pilot program. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) announced in July that it is launching a new pilot program to enhance the use of its alternative dispute resolution (ADR) program. The pilot program is intended to increase participation opportunities for parties in the ADR program and help facilitate mutually satisfactory settlements. Under the new program, the NLRB's Office of the Executive Secretary will proactively engage parties with cases pending before the Board to determine whether their cases are appropriate for inclusion in the ADR program. Parties also may contact the Office of the Executive Secretary and request that their case be placed in the ADR program. There are no fees or expenses for using the program.

  • Coming to a runway near you: breastfeeding in PA workplaces

    Nursing and breastfeeding issues are making headlines again following model Mara Martin's walk down a runway while nursing her five-month-old daughter in a Sports Illustrated swimsuit show. Although Martin's on-the-job nursing may be an extreme example of breastfeeding in the workplace, employers and employees should be aware of an employer's obligations regarding nursing mothers while they are at work. Notably, these obligations can differ based on the state, or even the city, where the workplace is located. This article focuses on employers' obligations in Pennsylvania, and employers in other states should ensure they are in compliance with their state laws and local ordinances.

  • EEOC reaches $1.1 million settlement for leave policy that discriminated against males

    The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) reached a $1.1 million settlement with Estee Lauder for the company's parental leave program, which allegedly discriminated against male parents. The policy provided more favorable leave benefits to female employees seeking maternity leave as compared to male employees wishing to take paternity leave. As part of the settlement, Estee Lauder agreed to change the allegedly discriminatory portion of its policy.