Pennsylvania News & Analysis

  • Hungry dogs run faster: employment lessons from Super Bowl LII

    In the week following the Philadelphia Eagles' first Super Bowl victory in franchise history, the Philadelphia skyline changed from fluorescent green to warmer hues, city light poles were cleaned of Crisco, and city streets were cleared of the Budweiser cans fans had tried—but mostly failed—to pass to Eagles' wide receiver Mack Hollins, who was perched atop a parade bus. As the players take a much-needed break this off-season, employers and HR professionals should consider the following takeaways from the team's truly incredible rise to victory.

  • PA medical marijuana statute raises new questions for employers

    Pennsylvania's new medical marijuana statute has taken effect, and dispensaries are open. The law contains a specific carveout barring employers from "discriminating" against employees who use medical marijuana with a legal state certificate. Pennsylvania employers will now join others in a growing number of states learning how to handle employees who test positive for medical marijuana.

  • PA court of appeals' unemployment decision helps gig economy

    A court of appeals in Pennsylvania recently reversed a finding that income a man earned from driving for Uber rendered him ineligible for unemployment benefits after he lost his job as a behavioral health specialist.

  • Opioids in your workplace? Tips for prevention and response

    These days, it seems impossible to tune into the news without hearing about the opioid crisis. In addition to tragic reports of overdose deaths and heartbreaking addiction stories, most of the news focuses on the rapid rise of opioid use over the past 10 to 15 years and what—if anything—can be done to turn the tide.

  • WHD reinstates Bush-era opinion letters

    The U.S. Department of Labor's (DOL) Wage and Hour Division (WHD) recently reissued 17 opinion letters that had been withdrawn by the Obama administration for "further review" but never ruled upon. The letters had been issued mere days before former President George W. Bush left office in January 2009.

  • Agency Action

    H-2B cap reached for first half of 2018. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced on December 21, 2017, that it had reached the congressionally mandated H-2B cap for the first half of fiscal year 2018. December 15, 2017, was the final receipt date for new H-2B worker petitions requesting an employment start date before April 1. USCIS continues to accept H-2B petitions that are exempt from the congressionally mandated cap. USCIS also was accepting cap-subject petitions for the second half of fiscal year 2018 for employment start dates on or after April 1. U.S. businesses use the H-2B program to employ foreign workers for temporary nonagricultural jobs. Currently, Congress has set the H-2B cap at 66,000 per fiscal year, with 33,000 for workers who begin employment in the first half of the fiscal year (October 1 through March 31) and 33,000 for workers who begin employment in the second half of the fiscal year (April 1 through September 30).

  • Workplace Trends

    Survey shows employers offering more health, wellness programs. Two-thirds of HR managers responding to a survey from staffing firm OfficeTeam reported their organizations have expanded health and wellness offerings in the past five years. The survey, reported in January 2018, also found that 89% of workers said their company is supportive of their wellness goals. The OfficeTeam results contrast with a survey from Willis Towers Watson reported in December that found a disconnect between employers and employees on the effectiveness of programs. Fifty-six percent of employers in that survey said they believe their current health and well-being programs encourage employees to live a healthier lifestyle, but just 32% of employees agreed.

  • Union Activity

    Teamsters praise lawsuit against Los Angeles trucking companies. The Teamsters Union in January 2018 praised the Los Angeles city attorney for filing lawsuits against three port trucking companies, all owned by NFI Industries. The union said the suits allege that the companies intentionally misclassified hundreds of truckers as independent contractors, rather than employees, to avoid providing benefits and paying applicable taxes. A statement from the union said the Teamsters applaud Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer for taking aggressive action against these market-leading companiesK&R Transportation, CMI, and California Cartage Express. Fred Potter, director of the Teamsters Port Division and international vice president said, We hope this will send a strong message that not only these companies, but [also] the entire port trucking industry, must stop breaking labor laws.

  • Pennsylvania bill seeks to curb use of noncompetes

    Late last year, Pennsylvania joined a handful of states seeking to limit the use of restrictive covenants by introducing a bill that would effectively ban noncompetition covenants in the employment context going forward.

  • Using 'fluctuating workweek' method to calculate overtime doesn't violate PA wage law

    In a recent case, the Pennsylvania Superior Court settled a novel question regarding the appropriate method for calculating overtime compensation under the Pennsylvania Minimum Wage Act (PMWA). Chevalier v. General Nutrition Centers, Inc. and General Nutrition Corporation involved a class action that GNC employees initiated against the health and nutrition company for unpaid overtime. In their complaint, they alleged that GNC's method of calculating overtime violated the PMWA and its regulations.