Pennsylvania News & Analysis

  • Supreme Court ruling favors employees, limits scope of cybersecurity law

    Employers can no longer rely on their contracts, policies, or industry standards as grounds for pursuing a private lawsuit against employees under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1986 (CFAA). The U.S. Supreme Court recently decided the CFAA doesn't regulate a person's authorized access to a computer for an improper purpose. The Court limited claims under the Act to persons who exceed their authorized access.

  • Lack of documentation hinders NJ employer's ability to deal with suspected FMLA abuse

    On August 6, 2021, the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey denied requests by both an employer and an employee to resolve a dispute over abuse of leave under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the New Jersey Family Leave Act (NJFLA), which both give eligible employees job-protected time off to care for family members with serious health conditions. The employee claimed the employer interfered with his right to take intermittent leave by converting his absences to sick days and asking him to seek recertification of the FMLA leave. The court ruled it couldn't dispose of the case in its early stages or find the employer properly disciplined him for excessive absences, in part because the proper documentation was lacking.

  • New NLRB General Counsel identifies possible changes

    Those of you who have watched the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB)—the nation's primary enforcer of labor law—over the years no doubt expect it to reshuffle its priorities when the White House changes parties. The Board swore in Jennifer Abruzzo as its new general counsel (GC) on July 22, 2021, and three weeks later, she released an internal memorandum blueprint for changes to the law she would like to see the agency implement.

  • Workplace primer on attracting, retaining neurodiverse talent

    Neurodiversity represents the inherent differences in neurological structure and function. The term encompasses neurocognitive differences such as autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), dyslexia, Tourette's syndrome, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, depression, intellectual disability, and schizophrenia. Most governments don't provide neurodiverse individuals with the support necessary to enter and remain in the workforce, but many multinational employers are becoming aware of the benefits of having a neurodiverse workplace.

  • Four-day workweek may not be pipe dream after all

    My law firm colleagues and I were recently discussing our workplace predictions for the future, and one of the trends we considered was the potential shift to more flexible schedules, including a four-day workweek. Turns out, we aren't the only ones thinking about it. The topic is being discussed around the world!

  • Both friends and foes of unions stepping up their efforts

    The union movement has seen declining numbers for decades, but with a staunchly prounion advocate in the White House, union supporters are hoping to soon see progress for their cause. But union foes are hoping to thwart efforts aimed at easing the way for unionization.

  • It's time to think about the holidays: To party or not to party?

    As fall settles in, it's time to think about the upcoming holiday season. But the continuing pandemic makes it hard to plan. Will it be safe to party in person this year? Is it OK for vaccinated coworkers to gather for food, drink, and other merriment? Perhaps an alternative activity such as the Zoom parties some organizations threw last year are more appropriate. Or maybe a nice gift basket delivered to employees' homes would be a better option.

  • Cutting-Edge HR

    Survey finds enhancing employee experience a priority. More than nine in 10 employers (94%) say enhancing the employee experience will be an important priority at their organization over the next three years. That compares with just 54% that indicated it was important to their organization before the pandemic, according to a survey from advisory firm Willis Towers Watson. The 2021 Employee Experience Survey also shows that adapting to the new reality of work will take time and require a hybrid work model, and many employers are not ready to meet that challenge. The survey also shows most respondents believe a positive employee experience is a key driver of engagement, employee well-being, productivity, and ability to attract and retain talent. The survey also shows that while employers expect the proportion of their employees working primarily remotely will drop in three years, they expect one in four will be working a mix of on-site and remotely in three years, triple the current number.

  • HR Technology

    Research finds racial disparities in pay widening. Wage gaps between the races have widened in the last 10 years, according to a report from The Conference Board. The disparity shows up even when examining workers of otherwise comparable backgrounds and qualifications. In 2010, researchers found black men with a bachelor's degree or higher earned 18% less than white men. By 2019, the gap had grown to 24%, driven by underrepresentation of black workers in high-paying industries and occupations. The report, "Mind the Gap: Factors Driving Racial Wage Gaps and the Solutions to Close Them," identifies several factors that are leading to growing racial wage gaps. The report says that if trends of the last decade continue, wage gaps will grow as black workers are severely underrepresented in fields and job markets likely to see the fastest growth in high-paying jobs.

  • After stressful pandemic, don't be surprised if employees are reluctant to return

    As employees return to in-person work, you must be ready for the many emotional and psychological hurdles they will face. There has been ample news coverage about the invisible toll the COVID-19 pandemic has taken on our personal lives, but we're just beginning to grapple with the damage done to our workplaces.