Recently in Philadelphia Category

April 10, 2014

What's hot at the EEOC? Plus, a legal roadmap for managing the aging workforce.

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Whatcha doin' two weeks from today?

Want to grab some breakfast with me? Maybe hear about what's hot at the EEOC and get a legal roadmap for managing the aging workforce?

In you're in the Philadelphia area and would like to learn more about these topics, then come on down to our offices on Thursday, April 24 at 8:30 AM for a free presentation with a complimentary continental breakfast. Lawyers can get CLE. HR credits will also be offered.

The only bad news is that you'll have to hear me flap my gums for an hour about best practices to avoid becoming an EEOC target. And since I can't seem to blog my way out of a paper bag, you can imagine how (in)articulate I'll be. Fortunately, my co-presenter from the EEOC, Mary Tiernan, will rock thy world.

Plus, my Dilworth Paxson colleagues will school you on the legal issues of which you should be aware when dealing with your older employees.

If you are interested in attending, click here for more details and to RSVP.

Mention this blog and I'll get you an extra pat of butter to go with your continental breakfast.

After all, I take care of my VIPs.

February 10, 2014

New Philadelphia law requires accommodations for pregnant employees

Thumbnail image for philadelphia.jpgLate last month, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter signed this bill, which requires reasonable workplace accommodations for employees who have needs related to pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition.

As noted in this prior post about Philadelphia's new law, reasonable accommodations would include, but are not limited to, restroom breaks, periodic rest for those who stand for long periods of time, assistance with manual labor, leave for a period of disability arising from childbirth, reassignment to a vacant position, and job restructuring.

An employer can avoid having to provide a workplace accommodation, but will have the burden of proving "undue hardship." The "undue hardship" factors generally mirror those found in the Americans with Disabilities Act and revolve around the cost of the accommodation and the employer's overall financial resources.

Philadelphia's new pregnancy accommodation law went into effect when Mayor Nutter signed the bill. Within 90 days, local employers will have to post notice of the new law in the workplace. The City is in the process of preparing that notice.

October 29, 2013

Philadelphia bill would require companies to accommodate pregnant employees

Thumbnail image for philadelphia.jpgLast week, I brought you this news of a bill pending in New Jersey, requiring employers to make available reasonable accommodation for pregnancy-related needs when requested by the employee with the advice of her physician.

Yesterday, I read this article in The Legal Intelligencer about this potential amendment to Philadelphia's Fair Practices Ordinance, which too would require employers to make reasonable workplace accommodations for employees who have needs related to pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition.

What, you may ask, do the bill's sponsors have in mind for reasonable accommodation?

An accommodation that can be made by an employer in the workplace that will allow the employee to perform the essential functions of the job. Reasonable accommodations include, but are not limited to, restroom breaks, periodic rest for those who stand for long periods of time, assistance with manual labor, leave for a period of disability arising from childbirth, reassignment to a vacant position, and job restructuring.

The law would task employers with providing accommodating pregnant employees, unless doing so would create undue hardship. The Americans with Disabilities Act does not require this -- except for pregnancy-related disabilities. However, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act may require it in certain circumstances. For more on that, check out Robin Shea's post at the Employment and Labor Insider.

And check in here for periodic updates on the pending legislation in Philadelphia.

May 21, 2013

New Philly law rewards employers for health benefits to LGBT employees

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Earlier this month, Philadelphia Mayor Michael A. Nutter signed legislation that provides a credit to employers who offer health benefits to same-sex couples, life partners and transgender employees.

It took less than 50 days from the date that City Council introduced this bill for it to become law. This press release from the City of Philadelphia notes the other highlights of the law:

  • Amends various titles of The Philadelphia Code to provide for equality of treatment of all persons in the City of Philadelphia regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation, including by further providing for the definition of "Life Partnership" and "Life Partner," and for protections, rights, benefits and responsibilities of Life Partners;

  • Provides for gender neutrality in certain City forms and online websites;

  • Provides for access to public accommodations based upon an individual's gender identity;

  • Provides for gender neutral bathrooms in City-controlled buildings;

  • Provides for the right to dress consistently with one's gender identity; and

  • Ensures the right of transgender individuals to request name and gender changes on pertinent records.

Congratulations to the City of Philadelphia on becoming the first city in the nation to offer this tax credit to employers.

(h/t Joe's HR and Benefits Blog)

April 18, 2013

RIP: Philadelphia Paid Sick Leave Bill

** picks up phone dorks out in his bluetooth VOIP-compatible headset **

Thumbnail image for philadelphia.jpgThe Employer Handbook: "Nyello."

Two Weeks Ago: "Hi Handbook. This is "Two Weeks Ago" calling. I wanted to let you know that Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter vetoed the "Promoting Healthy Families and Workplaces" Bill, also known as the paid sick leave legislation. I read about that legislation on your blog back in February, and I was wondering when you were going to get around to updating your readers."

Handbook: "Yeah, I meant to write about ---. Hold please. I have another call coming in. Hello?"

Last Week: "Hi there. It's "Last Week." Is now a good time? I tried to contact you -- well -- last week, to find out why you hadn't told your readers that Councilman Greenlee didn't have the votes to override Mayor Nutter's veto of Philly's paid sick leave bill. You ok? I'm concerned."

Handbook: "I'm fine. Just been busy, I guess."

LW: "Because now paid sick leave is done in Philly. And I know you target local readers. Look, if you need some help over there..."

Handbook: "I'm cool. It's all good."

LW: "You sure? I mean --"

Handbook: "Hey, Last Week. I'm fine. How's your employment-law blog, the one that gets thousands of hits going? Oh wait, you don't have one, do you?"

LW: "Hey, no need to get testy, nerd."

Handbook: "I got your nerd right here. ** grimaces at crappiness of that lame comeback ** And why don't you come say that ish to my face? Oh wait, you can't, can you? Last. Week." ** swish **

LW: "Hey, I'm not one who is going to blog about a made-up conversation with "Two Weeks Ago" and "Last Week." You're going to blog about this, aren't you? You're going to blog about this..."

** sigh **

March 7, 2013

In 77 tweets, what employers can learn about EEOC enforcement #EEOCHR


I had two topics on the brain to blog about:

  1. Whether, under the Americans with Disabilities Act, being on time is an essential function of the job. Fortunately, Daniel Schwartz addressed that yesterday here at the Connecticut Employment Law Blog.

  2. As a follow-up to yesterday's wage-and-hour / Daylight Savings Time post, exploring how DST impacts tracking intermittent leave taken under the Family and Medical Leave Act.

{Go take a bath right now to cleanse yourself of the employment-law dorkness that hit you from reading No. 2}

Instead, after the jump, I have, well, you read the title to this post. These are my tweets (and several retweets) from the "EEOC Overview and HR Mixer" I attended yesterday -- hashtag #ubernerd #EEOCHR

{Better grab the soap and turn on that bath again. You've been warned.}

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Continue reading "In 77 tweets, what employers can learn about EEOC enforcement #EEOCHR" »

February 27, 2013

A new workplace social-networking privacy bill surfaces in Philly

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Philadelphia may be poised now to follow in the footsteps of other states and municipalities that have passed similar laws to regulate what appears to be a non-existent problem.

I'll lay it out for you after the jump...

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Continue reading "A new workplace social-networking privacy bill surfaces in Philly" »

February 7, 2013

Paid Sick Leave In Philadelphia - Round 2

philadelphia.jpg Reporter: Rock, you got anything derogatory to say about the champ? 

Rocky Balboa: Derogatory? Yeah. He's great.

{Just needed to get that out of my system}

Guess what's back in Philadelphia City Council. It's the "Promoting Healthy Families and Workplaces" Bill, otherwise known as paid sick leave.

Here is a breakdown of the bill:

  • Who is covered? Philadelphia businesses employing six or more people.
  • How does sick time accrue? Employees would accrue a minimum of one hour of paid sick time for every 40 hours worked in Philadelphia, up to a maximum of 56 hours of paid sick time in a calendar year. (Employees in business of 6-10 employees accrue a maximum of 32 hours of paid sick time in a calendar year).
  • When does sick time begin to accrue? When employment begins. However, employees would not be able to use any paid sick time under 90 days later, at the earliest.
  • What can employees use sick time for? Themselves, sick family members, and absences due to domestic abuse, sexual assault or stalking.
  • Does sick time carry-over from year to year? Yes, but it can't exceed 56 hours (32 hours) in any one year.
  • Can an employment implement more generous paid sick leave policies? As far as the City is concerned, please do.
  • What's the penalty for violating the law?  An employee may file interference or retaliation claims in court. A prevailing plaintiff gets actual damages, an equal amount in liquidated damages, and reasonable attorney's fees.

Now some of you may be thinking, "Eric doesn't Philadelphia already have paid sick leave?" Yes, but only for City employees and certain employers who do business with the City. More on that here.

Others of you may be thinking, "Eric, this Promoting Healthy Families and Workplaces bill sounds awfully familiar. Where have I seen it before?" You saw it here, silly, back in 2011. City Council proposed a very similar version of the bill and Mayor Nutter vetoed it. Since that time, however, Seattle, Washington and the State of Connecticut have mandated paid sick leave. 

Will Philadelphia join the ranks?

You'll just have to click here everyday -- EVERY day -- to find out.

October 30, 2012

Salty about Sandy: 20 Hurricane tweets from your employees

Hurricane Sandy: Day 2

To my east-coasters, I hope this post finds you safe and dry. 


Me? Hey, thanks for asking. Our Philly home kept power throughout and we otherwise made it through unscathed. Still, Philadelphia remains in a state of emergency. The City is essentially shut down. Most of the major surrounding highways have been off-limits. And, for a second day in a row, for the safety of the drivers and the riders, there is no public transportation in the City.

That means that local businesses too opted to close on Monday, and remain closed on Tuesday. Well, most of them. 

To the chagrin of some employees affected by the Hurricane, they had to work. And they have vented on Twitter.

After the jump, what your employees tweeted about working (or, maybe, not so much) during Hurricane Sandy...

[Don't shoot the messenger]

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Continue reading "Salty about Sandy: 20 Hurricane tweets from your employees" »

July 2, 2012

Paid sick leave now in effect in Philadelphia

As of yesterday, July 1, 2012, covered employers in Philadelphia are now required to afford sick leave to certain employees. Here is a copy of the new law. You'll also need to read this bill to have any chance at making heads or tails of the new sick-leave requirements. 

But, I'll give you a brief summary of the new law after the jump...

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Continue reading "Paid sick leave now in effect in Philadelphia" »

January 18, 2012

Crime & Punishment: Beware what you ask Philly job applicants

Thumbnail image for phillyskyline.JPGLast year, here and here, I discussed legislation that would prohibit Philadelphia employers from asking job applicants about certain arrests and making any personnel decisions based on records of an arrest that does not result in a conviction. That legislation is now the law. That law is the Philadelphia Fair Criminal Record Screening Standards Act.

Let's practice...

"So, do you have any old arrests for streaking across the field at Citizens Bank Park?" -- Illegal.

"How much would I have to pay you to skate across the ice at the Wells Fargo Center in a nude bodysuit?" -- Stupid. Inviting a sexual-harassment claim. But, technically, legal under the new Act.

For more specifics of the Act, check out this e-Alert from my Dilworth Paxson colleagues, Marjorie Obod and Katharine Hartman.

h/t Janette Levey Frisch

October 18, 2011

Paid-sick leave may become a requirement in Philly after all

phillyskyline.JPGOn June 29, The Employer Handbook reported here that Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter vetoed the "Promoting Healthy Families and Workplaces" bill. This bill would have required businesses to provide paid sick leave to employees who work a minimum number of hours in Philadelphia County.

Ah, but the times, they are a-becoming quite different. Right Connecticut and Seattle?

BNA reports here (subscription required) that Mayor Nutter is expected to sign this narrower paid-sick-leave legislation into law. If passed, it would require certain city contractors to provide workers with one hour of paid sick leave for every 40 hours worked, up to to certain maximums based on number of employees. The new law, if passed, will take effect on July 1, 2012.

For more information about whether your business may qualify, subject to the standard disclaimer, drop me a line.

Photo Credit:

September 12, 2011

By The Numbers: Employment laws by total employees


With so many employment laws out there, it's not easy to keep track of what those laws say -- let alone under which of them your business may be covered. 

Well, who loves ya! After the jump, it's employment laws by the numbers -- number of employees that is -- that your business must employ to be covered under certain specific federal employment laws. (I'll even throw in a few extra state statutes for my PA/NJ/DE readers).

GREAT BIG DISCLAIMER: What you'll find after the jump are the numerosity requirements for various federal laws. There are a slew of other legal hoops through which your business may need to jump. Be smart. Discuss them with an attorney. 

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Continue reading "By The Numbers: Employment laws by total employees" »

August 3, 2011

Like? Philly courts to use social media to communicate with parties

'Philadelphia City Hall' photo (c) 2008, Kent Wang - license: I was getting my shoes shined yesterday, something caught my eye. 

According to this article in the Metro Newspaper from Alexandra Wigglesworth, Philadelphia's First Judicial District plans to use Facebook, Twitter, and text messaging to send out reminders about court dates.

The court's shift towards embracing social media is consistent with a recent survey which shows that over half of employers believe that using social media for business purposes is a good thing. 

So, is your business communicating with employees via social media? Does your business use social media in the workplace? (Most do). Do you have a social media policy? (Nearly half of all businesses do not).

Whether you are ahead of the curve, wrestling with social media in the workplace, or are just starting to give it some thought, I have something that will help. A new book to which I contributed, "Think Before You Click: Strategies for Managing Social Media in the Workplace", provides a comprehensive examination of the opportunities and risks of social media, with particular focus on seven areas:

  • What Is Social Media?: An examination of the "Big Four" in social media (blogs, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn): how they are used today, and what's on the horizon for tomorrow.
  • Drafting the Workplace Social Media Policy: 10 considerations every employer needs to think through before drafting and implementing a workplace social media policy.
  • Hiring and Recruiting: How employers are using social media to locate, vet, and screen potential employees and new hires.
  • Privacy Protections: How privacy and social media interact in the workplace, and the various constitutional, statutory and common law privacy rights implicated by social media.
  • Post-Employment Covenants and Trade Secret Claims: How best to protect confidential information and trade secrets from disclosure via social networks by current and former employees.
  • Litigation: How lawyers are using social media as evidence in litigation against employers.
  • Labor Law: The meaning of protected, concerted activity, anti-solicitation policies, and how the National Labor Relations Board is applying these long-standing principles in an attempt to gut employers' attempts to regulate what employees about saying about them online.

The book is available in electronic form (naturally) and a hardback is in the works. It's the next best thing to calling me for social-media advice. (And it won't cost you nearly as much).

July 18, 2011

Badge, gun, social media policy: Philly cops now have all three

Thumbnail image for police.jpgPhiladelphia Police Department has enacted a social media policy. You can view it here.

A couple of noteworthy points about this policy:

  • It recognizes that social media plays an important "business" role within the Department. The Department gets it by endorsing the "secure use of social media to enhance communication, collaboration, and information exchange; streamline processes; and foster productivity."
  • Employees may not use City property to engage in personal social networking activities. That includes cellphones, laptops and other portable devices that may be used outside of the office. In fact, employees may not even use social media on their own electronic devices while on duty.
  • The policy underscores that there is no reasonable expectation of privacy when engaging in social networking online. As such, the content of social networking websites may be obtained for use in criminal trials, civil proceedings, and departmental investigations.
  • Employees must get prior consent before engaging in Department-authorized use of social media. This is defined as the employment of such instruments for the specific purpose of assisting the department and its personnel in community outreach, problem-solving, investigation, crime prevention, and other department-related objectives. The PPD is unionized and, as you know from reading this blog, the National Labor Relations Board has taken an aggressive approach against employers who enact policies that may chill union-related speech. On its face, this rule appears to be designed as a safety measure, rather than a means to quell discussion about terms and conditions of employment. Plus, the Fraternal Order of Police, as public sector employees, would not be covered under the NLRA. Still, the policy lacks any explicit mention of the right to engage in protected-speech.