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Pennsylvania

Employment Lawyer Network:
Pennsylvania

Susan K. Lessack (Editor)

Pepper Hamilton LLP
Pennsylvania Employment Law

LessackS@PepperLaw.com
(610) 640-7806

Click for Full Bio

Susan K. Lessack is a partner in the Berwyn and Philadelphia offices of Pepper Hamilton LLP. She concentrates her practice in employment counseling and employment litigation. Ms. Lessack’s experience includes counseling employers on matters related to compliance with federal and state labor and employment laws, counseling regarding employee discipline and terminations, conducting investigations of employee conduct, including harassment, training employers on their obligations under employment laws and litigation avoidance, and developing employment policies. She defends employers in litigation of employment discrimination claims, wrongful discharge claims, and claims under federal and state employment-related statutes, such as the Family and Medical Leave Act and the Pennsylvania Wage Payment and Collection Law.

Document ADA requests to prove good faith

11/04/2021
The ADA requires a disabled employee and her employer to have an interactive conversation to determine whether it’s possible to accommodate the disability and, if so, how. If the employee doesn’t participate in the interactive process, she won’t be able to sue successfully over a denied accommodation. That’s why it’s essential to document every interaction once you suspect an employee might be disabled.

Take local predictable scheduling laws seriously

09/16/2021
These days, it’s harder than ever to schedule hourly workers. But before the pandemic hit, scores of cities and towns adopted predictable scheduling laws aimed at letting hourly workers plan their lives around regular schedules. Ignoring those rules may mean big payouts for affected workers.

Small employer? FLSA probably still applies

09/09/2021
Most private-sector employers must comply with the Fair Labor Standards Act’s wage-and-hour rules, regardless of size. The law applies to employers that do a reasonable amount of business while engaged in interstate commerce.

Ask attorney: Does state law supersede FLSA?

08/19/2021
The Supreme Court’s 2014 decision in Integrity Staffing Solutions v. Busk, that time employees spend in a security-check line after work doesn’t count as time worked under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, did not create a foolproof safe harbor for employers. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court just ruled that state wage-and-hour law did require Integrity Staffing to pay for screening time.

Cost of diverting prevailing wages: $20 million

08/19/2021
A Pennsylvania construction contractor pleaded guilty earlier this month in what is thought to be the largest criminal prevailing-wage theft case in U.S. history. The cost for short-changing employees who worked on state paving contracts: $20 million.

PIP: Offer chance to improve before firing

08/05/2021
Smart employers make it a standard practice to establish performance improvement plans before terminating employees who can’t do their jobs properly. PIPs can help turn around an underperforming worker. They also demonstrate your good faith to courts, assuring them that a subsequent firing was because of a performance problem, not discrimination.

Track, date all steps in disciplinary process

06/08/2021
When employees figure out they are about to get in trouble at work, expect a flurry of complaints and requests for job-protected leave. These desperate measures are based on the belief that employers can’t fire anyone who has a pending discrimination or harassment case, or who is out on some form of medical leave. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t impose discipline for actions unrelated to an employee’s protected status.

Beware ‘no-poach’ pacts with competitors

05/20/2021
Recruiting new employees is difficult these days, making it more important than ever to retain the staff you already have. Just make sure your retention efforts don’t cross the line into collusion with other employers.

Title VII covers nontraditional beliefs, too

04/22/2021
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act protects employees from discrimination based on their religious beliefs. That sounds simple enough. Almost all managers know they can’t fire someone because they’re Christian, Jewish, Muslim or any other mainstream religion. But Title VII also protects less well-known belief systems.

Document reason for every act of discipline

03/25/2021
Always record the facts of every incident that warrants discipline, including the exact reason you chose to punish the employee the way you did. It’s the best way to head off an employee lawsuit alleging she was disciplined harshly because of some protected characteristic.