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Hey all! As I promised last night on Twitter, I’ve got nothing left in the tank for this blog post after watching my beloved Bruins defeat the hated Habs in overtime of Game 7 last night.

So, I’ll keep this short and sweet.

After the jump, I answer a question that many HR folks in Pennsylvania have asked me? Do we have to give employees access to their personnel files upon request?

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Consider this scenario:

Employee believes he is being discriminated against. Employee complains to Human Resources. HR investigates, but is unable to substantiate the employee’s claims. Employee nonetheless sues his employer, alleging discrimination. While the lawsuit is pending, the employer fires the employee for reasons it claims are unrelated to the pending action.

According to a recent unpublished NJ decision, the employee could have both a discrimination claim and a whistleblower claim under New Jersey’s Conscientious Employee Protection Act (CEPA).

Ain’t that some sh!t!

More on this important decision and the impact it may have on employers, after the jump…

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I can’t make this stuff up if I tried.

The Associated Press reports that the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commissions has ordered a local employer to pay $38,700 in back pay and interest to a female employee it fired for fighting at a cheese-making plant. According to the report, Rosalind Brown prevailed on her gender discrimination claim because she apparently received harsher discipline than male employees who had engaged in more egregious behavior:

The commission agreed with Rosalind Brown who claims it was unfair for her to be fired when two men who fought at the Dairy Farmers of America Inc. plant in West Middlesex received only 3-day suspensions. 1 of the men was injured when the other threw a 20-pound block of cheese.

The Employer Handbook is looking for a few quaaludes guest bloggers.

If you think you have the chops to write a few hundred words on an employment-related topic of interest for businesses — especially those in PA, NJ, or DE — then

Rep. Carolyn Maloney [D-NY14] recently introduced H.R. 1440: Family and Medical Leave Enhancement Act of 2011 (FMLEA) in the House of Representatives.

What is this new bill? And what will it mean for new employers if it passes? (Hint: It may have something to do with the picture on the left)

All the details, after the jump.

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Back on March 22, I reported that City Council would vote on the “Fair Criminal Screening Standards” bill, a measure that would forbid city employers from discriminating or retaliating against job candidates with criminal convictions. City Council has since approved the bill and Mayor Nutter has signed it.

For more details about this bill and the effect it will have on employers, check out my March 22 post and this e-Alert from Marjorie Obod and Katharine Hartman of Dilworth Paxson LLP.

One thing is clear, Philadelphia employers better act hella-fast to update their employment applications, as this new law will take effect 90 days from when Mayor Nutter signed the bill. So what are you waiting for? (Yes, you have time to watch both the CGI and Alient Ant Farm cover of “Smooth Criminal”)

In an unpublished opinion, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals denied a Pennsylvania company’s attempt to enjoin a former employee, who had entered into several restrictive covenants with the company, to compete directly against the company and solicit its customers.

What did this employer do wrong and how can you learn from its mistakes?

After the jump…

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In New Jersey, a private employer may not fire an employee who objects to or refuses to participate in any activity that the employee reasonably believes is illegal or would endanger public health, safety, or welfare. This is codified in New Jersey’s Conscientious Employee Protection Act (CEPA).

The typical CEPA claim involves an employee who alleges that he/she was fired after complaining directly to management about some business-related conduct that the employee thought was legally or morally wrong. But what about when an employee confronts a customer, on the employer’s premises, about something the employee reasonably believes that the customer has done wrong? If the employee is later fired, does the employee have a viable CEPA claim?

Find out, after the jump…

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“Doing What’s Right – Not Just What’s Legal”
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