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Employment Lawyer Network:

Susan K. Lessack (Editor)

Pepper Hamilton LLP
Pennsylvania Employment Law

(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.

Track each supervisor’s disciplinary patterns

Discrimination is often manifested by individual acts, not a systemic, organization-wide problem. That makes it important to track discipline by supervisor.

Tell bosses: No comments about health costs

Make sure supervisors understand that it is never appropriate to question how much an employee’s health problems might cost the organization.

Pennsylvania LGBT employee rights in flux as courts weigh in on bias

A significant number of test cases are working their way through federal courts, testing whether Title VII’s prohibition against sex discrimination encompasses discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

OSHA proposes fines after finding no peace at KidsPeace

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited KidsPeace, a private charity serving youth with behavioral and mental health problems, for exposing its employees to workplace violence.

Milton, Pa. truck wash accused of harassment, discrimination

Eagle United Truck Wash, a national chain, faces charges it permitted severe harassment of a black employee at its Milton facility—and then retaliated against him after he complained.

Make objective qualifications your focus when hiring

The best way to inoculate against failure-to-hire or promote lawsuits is to ensure your selection process is based on objective criteria.

Contradictory evaluations? That’s going to be a problem

Beware changing supervisors during an employee’s probationary period. That may lead to evaluations that contradict one another, which could trigger a lawsuit.

Worker demands back overtime? Investigate and, if warranted, pay up

If an employer pays overtime incorrectly, it may be liable for up to two years of unpaid overtime, doubled as a penalty. But if an employer’s overtime mistake is “willful,” that liability reaches back another year, adding to the cost.

Seek confidentiality order if employee wants access to co-workers’ disciplinary records

A federal court hearing a Pennsylvania case has concluded that plaintiffs seeking to compare the discipline they received with that of other employees are entitled to the information, but must keep it confidential.

Flu shots: Seek accommodations if employee refuses vaccine for religious reasons

Employers must reasonably accommodate employees whose sincerely held religious beliefs prohibit immunization.