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February 2013 Archives

Workers with lead poisoning fired for seeking compensation

A group of nine former employees from a shooting range say that they were fired in retaliation for filing a workers compensation claim. They filed the claim after their boss improperly ordered them to sift through soil at the range which was filled with lead and other chemicals found in bullets. They were not provided with proper safety equipment to protect them from exposure, and as a result became sick from lead poisoning.

Workplace harassment, bullying can make you sick

There has been much talk of late about bullying in the schools and playgrounds, but what about workplace bullying, that is not talked about nearly as much. The problem say some employment law attorneys is that in many instances it is perfectly legal to harass or bully an employee - as long as it is not discriminatory. Seems like a rather fine line but some Pennsylvania legislatures want to enact laws that make workplace harassment illegal.

Pennsylvania school district to settle wrongful termination suit

The Governor Mifflin School District has agreed to pay a board member $200,000 to settle a wrongful termination claim. The board member in return has agreed to drop all of her legal claims and resign from the district's school board. The settlement means that the board member cannot take further legal actions against the district nor will she be allowed to work for the district in the future. She is also not allowed to run for the school board elections for seven years. If not for a request by local media under the Right-to-Know law details of the settlement would not be available. The school board member was elected to the board after she had been fired from her position with the school district. She was employed as the manager of the school district's technology department with an annual salary $91,000. She was fired after being accused of accessing private documents involving the school's district's superintendent at the time. Other accusations of breaching district policy were also made.

Nurse says she was fired in retaliation for reporting ICU risks

A nurse working in a major hospital says that her mangers wrongfully terminated her after she registered concerns about sub-standard conditions in the neonatal intensive care unit. The nurse was hired in 2008 to work in the newly opened hospital and began noticing staffing and safety code issues. The problems were affecting patients and she complained to supervisors, as most concerned employees would do.

Should employers be able to discriminate based on credit scores?

We've written often on this blog about the different ways in which the recession has affected job seekers in Pennsylvania and around the country. From discrimination against people who have been unemployed in the long term, to higher hiring standards for less demanding jobs, the down economy has made in difficult in many ways for people to get back on their feet.

FMLA turns 20 with room for improvement

The Family Medical Leave Act turned 20 years old this week, marking two decades of protection for employees who need to take medical leave. Before the FMLA became law it was much easier for employers to fire workers who needed time off to care for a loved one who was sick or to attend to a new baby. The law has benefited countless workers in Pennsylvania and around the country over the past two decades, but many activists agree that there is a lot of room for improving the protections that the law offers.

Lawmakers review mandatory retirement for Pennsylvania judges

State lawmakers are reevaluating the mandatory retirement age of 70 for judges in Pennsylvania courts. This age limit was set many years ago when there was concern about judges resisting retirement even though they may be less physically or mentally fit for the job. Lawmakers advocating to raise the retirement age to 75 or eliminate it entirely say that improvements in healthcare and longer lifespans make precise age limits less relevant.

Wage Wage Theft by employers increases

Since the economic downturn, a growing number of employers have violated wage and labor laws enacted 75 years ago in response to worker mistreatment prevalent during the Depression. Employers in this floundering economy have increasingly denied workers benefits and mandatory overtime pay. Some have doctored time sheets and even failed to pay minimum wage. The practice is widespread in low-wage jobs such as waiting tables or cleaning hotel rooms but has been bleeding into middle-class professions. And studies show that victims can lose up to 20 percent of their earnings due to what  "wage theft."