Pennsylvania News & Analysis

  • #MeToo movement linked to jury's large gender discrimination award

    Earlier this month, a federal jury in Pittsburgh awarded a female scientist $993,495 in front pay, $478,585 in back pay, and $1.5 million for emotional distress following a trial against her former employer for gender and age discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act (PHRA). The fact that the case was otherwise unremarkable is exactly why it is remarkable. Gender bias cases involving similar facts proceed to trial all the time, yet result in significantly lower verdicts.

  • Executive's testimony about calculable monetary damages torpedoes injunction

    On October 18, 2018, the Superior Court of Pennsylvania denied a pharmacy services provider's request for preliminary injunctive relief to prevent two former employees from competing against it or using its confidential information, finding the company's harm was not irreparable.

  • How to claim paid family and medical leave tax credit

    The tax reform law passed late last year contained a little-noticed tax credit for employers that provide employees paid "family and medical" leave and meet certain other requirements. While the IRS hasn't finalized regulations pinning down the specifics of the new credit, it recently issued some helpful guidance. Let's take a look.

  • Court approves policy requiring arbitration agreements for new hires during lawsuit

    A federal court in Pennsylvania recently denied a request to impose sanctions against hospitals involved in a wage and hour class/collective action because they required employees hired after the lawsuit was commenced to sign arbitration agreements that could bar them from participating in the litigation.

  • Things for which an HR manager should be thankful

    The challenges facing HR managers can be daunting. Amendments to the law, new and changing federal and state administrative policies, and a diverse workforce all contribute to the difficulty of appropriately resolving employee issues. As we approach the Thanksgiving holiday, here are some things for which every HR manager should be thankful.

  • Can you keep a secret? How to handle 'confidential' employee complaints

    The #MeToo movement just turned one. And while its long-term effects on the workplace remain to be seen, it's commonly expected that increasing numbers of women (and some men) will be informing their employers about problems with sexual harassment.

  • Agency Action

    DOL launches initiative to strengthen H-2B compliance. The U.S. Department of Labors (DOL) Wage and Hour Division (WHD) in September announced a nationwide initiative to strengthen compliance with the labor provisions of the H-2B temporary visa program in the landscaping industry. The initiative includes providing compliance assistance tools and information to employers and stakeholders as well as conducting investigations of employers using the program. The WHD announced that last year, its investigations led to more than $105 million in back wages for more than 97,000 workers in industries with a high prevalence of H-2B workers, including the landscaping industry. A key component of the investigations is ensuring that employers recruit U.S. workers before applying for permission to employ temporary nonimmigrant workers. The H-2B program permits employers to temporarily hire nonimmigrant workers from outside the United States to perform nonagricultural labor or services in the country. The landscaping industry employs more H-2B workers than any other indus

  • Workplace Trends

    Survey shows attitudes about talking politics at work. Job search platform Indeed in September reported results of a survey of 2,000 U.S. employees showing that 20% of those workers felt the workplace wasn't politically censored enough. The research also showed that 54% were comfortable with the current amount of sharing of political beliefs at work. Just 10% of respondents said they believed the workplace needed more political talk. The survey found that 23% of the respondents felt certain groups were being silenced at work. Of those, 60% reported that the source of silencing was statements or actions of peers, and 40% said it came from statements or actions from leadership.

  • Don't forget to properly classify independent contractors

    You likely recall a time not so long ago when the improper classification of employees as independent contractors was the hot topic for the IRS and the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). In 2011, the agencies entered into a "Memorandum of Understanding" in which they agreed to share information about potential misclassifications in an effort to crack down on the common practice. The DOL also entered into similar agreements with roughly 30 state departments of labor.

  • Don't forget to properly classify independent contractors

    You likely recall a time not so long ago when the improper classification of employees as independent contractors was the hot topic for the IRS and the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). In 2011, the agencies entered into a "Memorandum of Understanding" in which they agreed to share information about potential misclassifications in an effort to crack down on the common practice. The DOL also entered into similar agreements with roughly 30 state departments of labor.