Articles Posted in Pennsylvania

3D Judges Gavel

By Chris Potter (Flickr: 3D Judges Gavel) [CC BY 2.0 ], via Wikimedia Commons

Yesterday, I blogged here about the most important employment law decision of 2018. It’s a case called Minarsky v. Susquehanna County (opinion here).

If you missed my post, well, it was long. 1,888 words long. So, here’s the super-condensed version: The Third Circuit Court of Appeals concluded that a plaintiff might not complain about sexual harassment at work for several years but still have a viable hostile work environment claim if she genuinely believed — and the record supported — that it would be pointless to do so. Continue reading

Minarsky v. Susquehanna County (opinion here) is a sexual harassment case. And there’s a lot to discuss. But the biggest takeaway is that any subsequent employer-defendant asserting a Faragher/Ellerth defense in the Third Circuit will find it very difficult to obtain summary judgment on any hostile work environment claim. Continue reading

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Image Credit: Pixabay.com (https://pixabay.com/en/stamp-characters-label-informant-143799/)

Until a few years ago, if an employer wanted to pursue a claim for misappropriation of trade secrets, it probably had to do so in state court under state law. The Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016 changed all that. The DTSA is a federal law that created a private federal civil cause of action for trade secret misappropriation. So, now, if an employee takes your precious trade secrets, you can sue under federal law in federal court. And, in certain circumstances, you can collect your attorney’s fees if you prevail. The DTSA has real teeth!

But, what if you learn that an employee misappropriated your trade secrets before the DTSA took effect on May 11, 2016. Are you stuck in state court? Continue reading

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Image Credit: Pixabay.com (https://pixabay.com/en/eyes-surprise-wow-expression-open-312093/)

Yesterday morning, I read my friend Jon Hyman’s post on LinkedIn about a lawsuit in which a person of color alleged that various supervisors and managers:

  • Frequently called him the “n-word”;
  • Told him to “reach his black hands out” while handing him a box; and
  • Offered him a banana while saying, “Monkeys like bananas.”

Allegedly, a group of white employees also hung a sign in the workplace that said, “WHITE ONLY.” Continue reading

Governor Wolf Attends Philadelphia Eagles Super Bowl LII Victory Parade (39462266524)

By Governor Tom Wolf from Harrisburg, PA [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

On February 5, 2018, the Detroit Lions named former New England Patriots Defensive Coordinator Matt Patricia as the team’s new Head Coach.

Maybe, Lions ownership missed Super Bowl LII and the 41 points that the Philadelphia Eagles dropped on Mr. Patricia’s garbage Patriots defense.

Oh, sorry.

The Philadelphia Eagles Super Bowl LII victory over the New England Patriots, which gave the Eagles one more Super Bowl win (1) than the Dallas Cowboys have total playoff wins in the last 20 years (0), is not the point of this post.

The point is that, on Wednesday, Robert Snell of the Detroit News reported (here) that Mr. Patricia was indicted for aggravated sexual assault in 1996, something missed in the Lions background check.

And the real question is… Continue reading

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Screenshot taken from https://news.starbucks.com/views/a-follow-up-message-from-starbucks-ceo-in-philadelphia

Starbucks was riding a pretty good HR streak in 2018. Among other things, the coffee giant had attained 100% gender and racial equality and announced investments in paid leave. Yep, things were lookin’ really good for Starbucks.

Then, last week, things got really bad. Continue reading

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Facebook Mobile Texting Smartphone Facebook Lite (Image Credit: http://maxpixel.freegreatpicture.com/Facebook-Mobile-Texting-Smartphone-Facebook-Lite-3021068)

During a week-long vacation from work, a Pennsylvania woman claims that some colleagues logged into her Facebook account from work and reviewed her Facebook Messenger messages, among other things. The woman further claims that when she returned to work from vacation, her employer fired her because “things had come to light.”

And now she’s suing in federal court.

Continue reading

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Image Credit: Pixabay.com

It’s been a while since we addressed the legalization of medical marijuana in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and what that means for employers. It was about two years ago to be precise.

Last October, I presented on this topic at the SHRM Lehigh Valley “annual” October Conference.  But, many of you weren’t there. And, with the first medical marijuana dispensaries opening for business this weekend, this seems like as good a time as any to update my Pennsylvania peeps on what that means for your workplace.

(The rest of you can connect with me on LinkedIn.) Continue reading

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Image Credit: Pexels.com

You know what? Strike that. Milk was a bad choice.

When a car dealership allegedly rehired the guy who supposedly drugged and assaulted a female co-worker — now the plaintiff in this action — it bought itself a viable hostile work environment claim. Continue reading

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