Employment law attorneys in Philadelphia help employees who have been treated unfairly or wronged in the workplace. Whether the employee experiences discrimination, wage and hour violations, family leave violations, is a whistleblower or signs an unenforceable contract or non-compete agreement, he or she is entitled to justice. For the past 25 years, the Derek Smith Law Group has helped employees receive justice for these violations.
What Are Employment Law Issues in Philadelphia?
Employment law encompasses many areas of the workplace. In most incidences, the employee is unfairly treated or experiences some type of harassment for a reason that is illegal and immoral. Whether the employer is discriminating against an employee, attempting to save some money through the employee’s paycheck, or denying employee rights the law sets forth, employment law attorneys can work with the employee to get the compensation he or she deserves. Issues that related to employment law in Philadelphia include:
Employment discrimination is when an employer/CEO, supervisor/manager, fellow-employee or non-employee unfairly treats or harasses an employee or job applicant because he or she is over 40, pregnant, of a certain race, of a certain national origin, of a certain religion, maintains a certain military status, maintains a certain citizenship status, of a certain gender, of a certain sexual orientation, has a disability, has certain known genetic information, or of a certain gender identity. This is known as a protected class under the law and this type of behavior is illegal.
2. Sexual Harassment.
Sexual harassment is unwanted physical contact, sexual advances, or sexual comments that come from an employer/CEO, supervisor/manager, fellow employee, or non-employee and affect the work environment of an employee or job applicant. This can include sexism in the workplace, quid pro quo (this for that) propositions, sexual jokes, sexual comments and advances, and retaliation for refusing sexual advances.
Retaliation is when an employee is fired, demoted, experiences a reduction in pay, reported to ICE, or experiences any other adverse action in the workplace because he or she reported wrongdoing in the workplace or denied sexual advances. When an employer retaliates against an employee, he or she is looking to get back at the employee for what the employer considered misbehavior.
4. Wage and Hour.
Wage and hour issues relate to employee pay and classification. An employee who makes under $23,650 per year and/or is not in a management position must be a non-exempt employee. That means the employee must get paid 1.5x his or her hourly salary after reaching 40 hours in one workweek. In addition, wage and hour issues relate to how an independent contractor is classified and whether the employer can report an individual as an independent contractor, which would make it legal for the employer to not pay benefits to the contractor. Finally, wage and hour applies to employees that are paid “under the table” which not only negates the need for the employee to make overtime pay or receive benefits, but allows the employer to avoid paying government-mandated payroll taxes relating to the employee.
5. Wrongful Termination.
Wrongful termination applies to an employee is terminated or fired from a job because he or she is a member of a protected class, is being retaliated against for reporting an issue, refusing sexual advances, or while away from the office on approved family leave.
6. Family Leave Act.
The Federal government enacted the Family Leave Act to allow employees to take unpaid time away from their job to care for a close family member or bond with a newborn or adopted child without the fear of losing his or her job. The City of Philadelphia enacted the Promoting Health Families and Workplaces Ordinance to allow employees in the City of Philadelphia to take either paid or unpaid leave to care for an ill family member or bond with a newborn or adopted child. During this approved time off, an employer cannot fire the employee. In addition, the employer cannot deny the use of this time to an employee unless the employee has used the allotted time available already or it causes an extreme hardship on the employer.
7. Whistleblower Claims.
An employee of a government entity or a company that receives any amount of government funding has the right to report wrongdoing on behalf of the company and its supervisors/managers to a person who can act on the information. This person becomes a whistleblower. Whistleblowers are the backbone to the system of checks and balances needed to oversee government employers and government funding. The whistleblower can file a qui tam action in which he or she sues the company without the support of the city Solicitor and will receive 15% to 25% of the recovered monies from the claim. Employers are not permitted to take any retaliatory action against a whistleblower. They are also prohibited from insisting the whistleblower’s identity be revealed.
8. Employment Contract and Non-compete issues.
Employment contract and non-compete issues encompass a wide array of issues. Although an employment contract or non-compete clause is signed, it may not be enforceable. At the very least, portions may be unenforceable. It is essential to sort of the clauses that may be unenforceable to make sure you are properly compensated and receiving all of the rights and benefits the law provides for employees in Philadelphia.
Employment law in Philadelphia includes many issues that occur in the workplace or with individuals at or away from work. Some examples of employment law issues in Philadelphia may include:
• Refusing to hire a job applicant because he or she is over 40
• Making fun or Gay or Lesbian people in the workplace
• Refusing to give a pregnant woman enough hours to qualify for benefits
• Making sexual advances towards a co-worker even after he or she has refused the advances
• Refusing to make proper accommodations for an employee with disabilities
• Denying an employee the right to work on a project because he or she has a thick foreign accent
• Sexism in the workplace
• Telling a job applicant, the public accommodations cannot be used because he or she is African American
• Calling ICE on an employee as a form of retaliation
• Insisting the whistleblower’s identity be revealed
• Making an employee sign a non-compete clause that prohibits him or her from obtaining any gainful employment upon leaving the company
• Firing a person who is out of work under the Family Leave Act
• Firing an employee that is an active reservist in the military because he had to take a few days to attend drills
• Sending emails and comics around the office that make fun of women
• Classifying an employee as exempt when he or she makes under $23,000 a year
• Refusing to provide prayer time for Muslim employees
• Refusing to allow Jewish employees to wear yarmulkes in the workplace
• Demoting an employee who refused sexual advances
• Paying an employee who is Asian less than an employee who is Caucasian when they are both doing the same job and have the same title within the company and have been working for approximately the same amount of time with the company
These are just a few of the many examples of employment law issues that can lead to litigation in Philadelphia.
When an employee experiences any issues in the workplace, he or she may be entitled to compensation. While each employment law concern and case is different many remedies would be available to anyone dealing with any employment law issues in Philadelphia. Some of the standard remedies include:
• Reinstatement of employment and benefits
• Reimbursement of benefit premiums
• Reimbursement of medical expenses and other related expenses
• Reviewing and revamping of policies and procedures
• Terminating or reassigning supervisors, management, or fellow employees who violate employment laws
• Back pay
• Future pay
• Attorney’s fees
• Pain and suffering
• Emotional Distress
• Punitive Damages
As mentioned above, the Pennsylvania Whistleblower laws also allow whistleblowers 15% to 25% of the monies recovered from an employer when he or she moves forward with filing the claim on because of the City Solicitor.
Employees should be able to work in an environment in which the laws and protections provided employees are followed. They should be able to work in an environment free from discrimination, sexual harassment, wrongful termination, retaliation, and any other employment law violations. If you have been the victim of an employment law violation, the experienced attorneys at Derek Smith Law Group can help. Contact us today at (215) 391-4790 for a free consultation. We do not collect any money until you win your case.