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March 2013 Archives

Supreme Court to hear overtime cheating case

Workers at one of the nation's largest steel companies say that their employer is cheating them out of up to five hours of overtime each week. The workers say that the time it takes to put on the appropriate safety gear and travel from the locker rooms to the worksite on the company's broad campus should be considered work and should be paid. The steel company has heard complaints like this before and settled a similar case with workers from another location, but says in this situation that the workers are not entitled to be paid for putting on their gear.

Pittsburgh public school employee files discrimination suit

The former safety chief for the Pittsburgh public schools has filed an employment discrimination lawsuit against the district. He says that he was fired under the false pretense of an improper traffic stop, but that in fact the motivation behind his termination was his age and health.

NFL questioned on sexual orientation discrimination

A state attorney general sent a strongly worded letter to the Commissioner of the National Football League, asking for answers and reassurance after allegations surfaced that the league's recruiters were discrimination against players who may be gay.

Can smokers be denied jobs in Pennsylvania?

Many people are aware of the health risks associating with smoking and using other type of tobacco products. In recent years, facing rising health insurance costs and a need to maintain a productive and healthy workforce, employers have been looking at policies that they can implement to help keep costs down and keep workers healthy. Some employers offer discounted gym memberships, others promote healthy options in the cafeteria or vending machines, while others have taken the arguably more extreme step of banning smoking.

Is your work email private?

A lot of Pennsylvania readers are unclear about the rules that apply to their work computers or work issued cellphones. Many people use their work computers for personal purposes as well, and those with employer-issued smartphones often comingle information about work with their personal correspondence, but few are aware of the legal status of that data, which could end up making a big difference in the event of a conflict with an employer.

Pittsburgh restaurant ordered to pay back tips to servers

A Pittsburgh restaurant was ordered by the U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division to repay servers more than $37,000 to compensate them for tips that had been diverted and paid to dishwashers. The restaurant owner had been requiring servers to contribute a small portion of their tips to additional pay for the dishwashers who do not receive their own gratuities.

Pennsylvania court reviews judge's age discrimination case

Two age discrimination lawsuits are pending in Pennsylvania regarding the mandatory retirement age of 70 years old for judges who serve in the state. One of the suits has been filed in federal court in Pittsburgh and the other is pending in the state commonwealth court.

Trucker misclassification suit continues in Allegheny County

Two truck drivers are able to continue to pursue their class action lawsuit in Allegheny County Court against their former employer. The lawsuit was brought by two drivers who say that they are a part of a larger group of drivers who were wrongfully misclassified as independent contractors by their employer so that they employer could take illegal deductions from their paychecks. A recent hearing has allowed the case to continue after the defendant filed several different motions to attempt to have the case dismissed.

One third of U.S. employees report bullying on the job

Many Pittsburg readers may be surprised to hear that over one-third of workers in the United States have reported that they have experienced bullying on the job. Bullying at work can include social exclusion, verbal abuse, threats, intimidation, or other similar behavior.