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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

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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.

That stinks! Don’t tolerate co-worker efforts to provoke fragrance sensitivity

06/29/2015
Some employees are sensitive to various chemicals such as perfumes and other strong smells. Accom­­­­mo­­dat­­ing the problem can be difficult, but it’s necessary if the condition rises to the level of a disability.

Ensure physical tests are fair for women

06/29/2015
Some professions require applicants to prove a certain level of physical fitness. When employers demand passing a physical test as a qualification to be hired, they need to make sure that protected classes such as women don’t fail at rates that indicate the test has a disparate impact on otherwise qualified applicants.

Cross-departmental work? Remember OT rules

06/29/2015
Large employers usually have several departments, and it’s common for employees to do work in more than one. But some payroll systems may not catch it when cross-departmental work exceeds 40 hours in a week, separately recording hours worked in each department.

Are employer’s verbal promises binding?

06/09/2015
Q. Can I rely on verbal promises made by my em­­ployer during my interview, or during my employment as forming part of my contract of employment?

After exempt employee uses up paid leave, what do we do when he misses work again?

06/09/2015
Q. I have a salaried employee who used all his vacation and sick time. He is allowed a total of 21 days and has used 22. He wants to take more vacation in Novem­­ber and is always sick (so he’ll probably be out more). Can I deduct from his pay if he’s out more? Or can I take days from next year? This may be an ongoing thing every year.

Telecommuting not always a reasonable ADA accommodation

06/09/2015
A federal appeals court has ruled that telecommuting is not always a reasonable accommodation under the ADA. The case involved a Ford employee suffering from a disability, but the court found that on-site attendance was an essential function of the plaintiff’s job.

Absent with no excuse? That’s willful misconduct

06/09/2015
Employees who are fired for willful misconduct aren’t eligible for unemployment compensation. Not following the employer’s call-off rules is willful misconduct and may bar benefits.

State lawsuit finished? Now brace for federal case

06/09/2015
Don’t assume case is over after state court case ends. A recent case shows that even after a decade of litigation, the former employee may add a second federal lawsuit.

When hiring, never consider or mention military reserve obligations

06/09/2015

Federal law protects applicants who belong to the military reserves from discrimination based on their service, and considering their military obligations when making hiring decisions is illegal. If anyone involved in hiring ex­­presses reluctance to hire a candidate because of his or her service, expect legal trouble. Make absolutely sure you had valid reasons for picking other candidates.

When employee has FMLA history, beware punishing for suddenly going home

06/09/2015
It’s almost always inconvenient to have an employee suddenly leave in the middle of a shift. But if the under­­lying reason is an FMLA-covered con­­dition and he gave you enough information to make you realize the time off might be covered by the FMLA, think twice before punishing the early departure.