Articles Posted in Pennsylvania

And the Czech judge scored my lede a 4.3. Well, the second she starts paying my legal bills, maybe, I’ll give a damn. Until then…

What was I talking about? Oh yes, religious discrimination.

Over the weekend, I read this PA federal court opinion about an atheist who claimed that his boss proselytized to him about religion, even forcing him to wear a badge, which bore the company’s mission statement: “This company is not only a business, it is a ministry. It is set on standards that are higher than man’s own. Our goal is to run this company in a way most pleasing to the lord [sic]….”  The atheist claims that he covered up the mission statement with duct tape and, when he refused to remove the tape, the company fired him.

The Court, which initially put the kibosh on the plaintiff’s religious bias, reconsidered and allowed the plaintiff’s claims to survive a motion to dismiss. Continue reading

Not exactly a happy workplace trinity, but it’s what fuels The Employer Handbook. That and Jolt-Cola Bombs.

The plaintiff  in this case claimed that she was sexually harassed by her male supervisor for over a year. The court’s opinion details alleged comments and groping in vivid detail.  (No recap here. I plan to keep my post PG, damn it! Ok, PG-13. You happy, now?). Whenever the plaintiff supposedly complained, her employer did nothing about the harassment.

So, finally, she decked him one.

That got the employer to take notice. Indeed, it determined that the plaintiff had been sexually harassed and it fired her harasser. Then, the company also fired the plaintiff.
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In a world, where an employee cannot prove age discrimination after getting fired for playing golf during his medical leave, comes the story of a pharmacist *** dramatic pause *** who wouldn’t give flu shots. While we wait for Hollywood to greenlight this movie — I’m thinking Gary Oldman as the pharmacist and Blossom‘s Jenna von Oy as the customer — you’ll just have to settle for a short blog post about the age discrimination lawsuit that ensued after the pharmacist was fired.

As detailed in this recent Pennsylvania federal court opinion, a drug store decided to require that its pharmacists immunize customers upon request. The plaintiff, a pharmacist, was morally opposed to administering the flu vaccine because a close friend of his had contracted Guillain-Barre Syndrome after receiving a flu vaccine. The drug store didn’t doubt the sincerity of the plaintiff’s beliefs. Nonetheless, it fired him because he refused to immunize customers, which was an essential part of his job. Continue reading

What the hell are you talking about, Eric? Why would we make an independent contractor sign a release of employment claims before starting work for our company?

So glad you asked. Although, I’m not sure I like your tone.

*** takes pills ***

Many years ago, Allstate Insurance restructured its business, where it decided to longer have employees; only independent contractors. So, it offered its employees a bunch of options. One option was a severance; another was the ability to convert to independent contractor status. Either way, the individual had to release all past and presented employment-related claims agains the company.

When the EEOC got wind of the conversion option, they cried retaliation.

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I meant to write about this a week or so ago after I saw Dan Packel’s article at Law360. But, then, I got sidetracked with a bunch of NLRB stuff. Until, yesterday, Lizzy McLellan’s article at The Legal Intelligencer brought me back.

So, here’s the deal. The basic rule in PA has always been that, for a non-compete to be enforceable, it needs to be entered into when employment begins (i.e., as consideration for offering employment), or there needs to be some independent consideration to support it (e.g., a raise, bonus, promotion, etc.).

However, some outlier judicial decisions in PA have concluded that PA’s Uniform Written Obligations Act magically adds consideration to any agreement with the words “intending to be legally bound.”

But, back in May, the PA Superior Court disagreed and held that where the employer provided the employee with no benefit or change in job status when the employee signed the non-compete, even if the agreement states that the parties “intend to be legally bound” by its terms, a restrictive covenant is not enforceable.

Now, the Supreme Court will determine whether those five little words are, indeed, magic.

Obviously, if the Supreme Court sides with the company, it will create the proverbial game changer, by allowing companies to require employees to enter into restrictive covenants in exchange for zero consideration.

We’ll see what happens.

If you’re on LinkedIn, consider joining the discussion of news, trends and insights in employment law, HR, and the workplace, by becoming a member of The Employer Handbook LinkedIn Group. Tell ‘em Meyer sent you.

Across the country, many states and localities have enacted ban-the-box legislation. In a nutshell, ban the box means that employers cannot inquire about an applicant’s criminal history until after the first job interview.

For example, Philadelphia has ban the box. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania does not.

Still, Pennsylvania does have the Criminal History Record Information Act. But, indeed, a Pennsylvania federal court ruled on Wednesday that the Act and ban the box are two separate things:

CHRIA does not preclude an employer from revoking a conditional offer of employment based on a good faith belief than an applicant intentionally withheld material information on his employment application in violation of the employer’s policies.

Just be sure that, if you are asking about criminal history on a job application, you don’t operate in a ban-the-box town or city. And, even if you don’t, remember that under the Act precludes employers from basing employment decisions on misdemeanors and summary convictions that do not render an applicant unsuitable for employment. And basing an employment decision on a mere arrest…fuggedaboudit. Like my arrest for male prostitution doesn’t make me unfit to be a lawyer.

(If only my blogging platform had a double strikethrough).

My mind…blown!

Yesterday, the local internet feeds were flooding us with news that Philadelphia Eagles running back LeSean McCoy allegedly left a 20-cent tip at a local restaurant at which he and some friends had lunch on Monday. The “smoking gun” was a copy of what is purported to be McCoy’s lunch receipt from the restaurant.

I read “Eagles Player LeSean McCoy Just Left a 20-Cent Tip at PYT” on PhillyMag.com, and “LeSean McCoy tips 20 cents at PYT. The restaurant, PYT, even posted about it on its own Facebook page, complete with a copy of the supposed McCoy receipt.

I get that internet stories about a low-tipping professional athlete equal reader clicks. But how about a different angle; namely, that the person who posted a customer’s receipt on social media still has his job to return to today. Or that the restaurant itself is glorifying a practice of shaming customers — famous or not. (Remember the story of the employee who posted the Denver QB Peyton Manning’s huge tip on a dinner receipt? He lost his job). Fortunately, many of the Facebook users who commented on the PYT Facebook page get that posting meal receipts, large or small, is hella-stupid…

So, what do you think, folks? Take this poll and this poll and let me know what you think in the comments…

Was PYT right to post the receipt?

Yes

No

 
pollcode.com free polls
What should happen to the PYT employee who posted the receipt?

Praised

Nothing

Disciplined

Fired

 
pollcode.com free polls

UPDATE (9/9/14 4:52 pm): About an hour ago, on PYT’s Facebook page, PYT’s owner addressed the kerfuffle that posting the receipt created.

UPDATE (9/10/14 2:52 PM): This.