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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.

Probation office head could face jail time for theft


The former head of the Perry County, Pennsylvania Probation Office faces two third-degree felony theft charges after he gave himself an advance for work to be performed.

Meet the new boss, who is entitled to set new expectations regardless of past measures


Sometimes, a long-term and apparently successful employee may not adjust well to a new supervisor—especially if that supervisor brings new or different performance expectations about the employee’s job.

Talula’s Garden settles OT suit for nearly $400k


Talula’s Garden, the renowned farm-to-table restaurant in Philadelphia’s Washington Square, will have to pay 63 workers $197,917 in back wages and an equal amount in liquidated damages.

Snyder-Lance pays $1.6 mil to settle misclassification suit


A federal judge in the Middle District of Pennsylvania has signed off on a $1.6 million agreement between snack maker Snyder-Lance and its route drivers.

Document reasons for worker’s new, unusual assignment


Some workers may feel that being given a difficult assignment is discriminatory, especially if others outside the worker’s protected class don’t have to do similar work. Having a business-related reason for the assignment will persuade a judge that discrimination wasn’t a factor.

Court: Drug testing is not an inherent invasion of employee privacy


Employers can drug test employees as part of a safety program. The mere existence of a properly designed testing program does not invade a worker’s right to privacy.

It’s OK to fire in the middle of FMLA leave, but be prepared to show valid, unrelated reason


Employees who are out on FMLA leave don’t enjoy any special protection against being fired for unrelated reasons. If you can show you would have terminated the worker even if she had not taken FMLA leave, chances are the termination won’t be seen as FMLA interference or retaliation for taking FMLA leave. However, such a move will probably trigger a lawsuit anyway.

Warn bosses: Keep snide comments to yourself


Remember, any supervisor comments about a worker’s complaint can end up supporting a retaliation claim.

Beware firing safety whistleblowers


The Trump administration’s Department of Labor is aggressively going after employers that fire workers who report alleged workplace safety violations. It’s one reason to seek expert legal advice before disciplining any potential whistleblower—even for behavior or poor work performance that seems unrelated to any safety report.

Employee admits sexual harassment? Be sure documentation reflects that


When investigating sexual harass­­­ment, make sure you document every interview, including any with the alleged harasser. That way, if you end up discharging the alleged harasser, you minimize the chances that he might win a defamation lawsuit against your organization.