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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.

Never tie FMLA leave to employee’s performance

10/27/2017
When preparing a performance review, remind supervisors that they should never mention FMLA leave or appear to use it as a factor in the evaluation. That can lead to a big jury award later if the review is used to justify termination—even during a reduction in force.

Feel free to terminate if you find wrongdoing while employee is out on FMLA leave

10/25/2017
Employees out on FMLA leave don’t enjoy more job protection than employees who don’t take leave. As long as an employer doesn’t terminate because an employee took FMLA leave, it’s perfectly lawful to fire someone during leave.

Lawsuit alleges ADA violation? Check if employee actually requested accommodation

10/23/2017
Employees are entitled to reasonable accommodations for disabilities in order to perform the essential functions of their jobs. But employers don’t have to guess whether an employee needs an accommodation—the employee must ask for help.

3rd Circuit rules reduction in work hours following complaint may be retaliation

10/20/2017
It is crucial for HR to follow up regularly with a worker who has complained of discrimination to see if she has any possible retaliation to report. Something seemingly as minor as a changed schedule or slightly reduced hours can be grounds for a retaliation lawsuit.

Being rude isn’t a protected ethnic trait

10/18/2017

Here’s a reminder to stick with solid explanations when documenting discipline. If you have facts to back up your decision, an employee’s spurious claim of some sort of discrimination likely will be dismissed.

Intended workers’ comp bid stops at-will firing

10/18/2017
In Pennsylvania, employment is presumed to be at-will, meaning employers can terminate workers for any legal reason or no reason at all. There is one exception, however. The so-called public policy exception provides protection from termination if an employee files a workers’ compensation claim.

Fixing harassment? Let complainer know

10/16/2017
When responding to a harassment complaint, be sure to let the worker who complained know what steps you are taking. Acting behind the scenes while telling your employee to “deal with it” himself is one of the worst things you can do. That’s courting a retaliation lawsuit.

Penn grad student unionizing effort gets complicated

10/13/2017
GET-UP, an organization allied with the American Federation of Teachers union, has been attempting to organize graduate student teaching assistants at the University of Pennsylvania. Independently of the university, grad students opposed to unionization formed a group called No Penn Union.

Utz chips in $2.5 million to settle with drivers

10/12/2017
Snack food giant Utz Quality Foods has agreed to pay $2.5 million to almost 1,900 delivery drivers to resolve claims it failed to pay them overtime.

EEOC suit accuses PPG of disability discrimination

08/30/2017
When Pittsburgh-based PPG Industries purchased paint supply company Revocoat, it inherited a plant in Michigan—and an ADA problem.