Parking lot attendants are generally low-paid positions, with little to no healthcare benefits. In Philadelphia, employers operating parking lots or garages could discharge an employee without demonstrating just cause. Therefore, attendants had no legal recourse if they were fired from their job. However, on June 5, 2019, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney signed a bill that would prohibit parking lot or garage employers from discharging an employee unless he or she is able to demonstrate just cause or a “bona fide economic reason.” This new ordinance—which will impact approximately 1,000 employees—provides low-wage workers with union-like protections.
The “Wrongful Discharge from Parking Employment” ordinance will be included in the Philadelphia Code. Effective September 3, 2019, employers will need to demonstrate just cause to terminate an employee. According to the law, the employer will be required to implement progressive discipline before discharge and may not refer to disciplinary action from more than one year ago. However, the ordinance does allow employers to terminate workers in reverse order of seniority for financial reasons, but employers must provide business records that provide proof of a reduction of revenue or profit. In addition, if a worker is discharged, the employer must provide a written explanation as to the reason for the termination. The ordinance also states that employers may not retaliate against an employee who is simply exercising his or her new legal rights.
Enforcement of the New Law
The Mayor’s Office of Labor will be responsible for enforcing the ordinance and investigating specific cases. In addition to the new protections the ordinance offers parking attendants, it also allows discharged workers and the Philadelphia City Solicitor to file a civil lawsuit against an employer if he or she violated the law in any way. If a terminated employee files a discharge claim, and the case is successful, the employee will be eligible for attorneys’ fees, liquidated damages up to $2,000, and reinstatement, as well as the usual damages associated with a discharge claim. All employers who operate a parking lot, parking garage, or valet service in the city of Philadelphia are strongly urged to thoroughly review their policies and ensure that they are in compliance with the new ordinance.
Philadelphia Employment Lawyers at Sidkoff, Pincus & Green, P.C. Represent Employees Who Have Been Wrongfully Discharged
If you were terminated from your job without just cause, it is in your best interest to contact the Philadelphia employment lawyers at Sidkoff, Pincus & Green, P.C. as soon as possible. We will conduct a thorough investigation of your case, including the events leading up to your termination, and determine whether your employer violated employment laws. To schedule a confidential consultation, call us today at 215-574-0600 or contact us online. Our office is conveniently located in Philadelphia, where we represent clients from South Jersey, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey.