Category: Employment Law


How to Fight a Racist Work Environment?

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Philadelphia Employment Lawyers at Sidkoff, Pincus & Green P.C. Represent Clients Experiencing Racial Discrimination and Equality at Work.

Racial discrimination is an ongoing global issue affecting every area of life, including the workplace. The problem of workplace racism can be addressed if corporate leaders commit to identifying and correcting racial discrimination within the policies, processes, leadership, and staff, among other avenues. As organizations are making conscious efforts to improve diversity, equality, and inclusion, eliminating racism is a crucial starting point.

What Does Racism Look Like in the Workplace?

Racism in any environment can take many forms, including in the workplace, but some overall examples of workplace racism include:

  • Direct: Racial discrimination directly at one individual specifically due to their race, resulting in unfair treatment, demoted or denied promotions, not being allowed to interface directly with clients, and more.
  • Indirect: Racial discrimination through the employer’s policies or decisions that put individuals of a particular race at a disadvantage, specifically due to their race. Discrimination in those form could be policies such as a ban on certain types of headwear or hairstyles that directly affect employees of certain races.
  • Harassment: Derogatory comments, insults, threats of physical harm or employment consequences, and any other comments and behavior directed at a worker due to their race, creating a hostile work environment. This can be on behalf of the employer, supervisors, managers, coworkers or clients and frequently disrupts the targeted employee’s ability to successfully complete their work tasks.
  • Retaliation: Unfair or hostile treatment, demotion or denial of promotion, or unlawful termination in retaliation for submitting a race-related complaint or violation against an employer, coworkers, supervisors, or others.
  • Discipline: Non-white races of workers receiving more rules or more frequent or increased disciplinary actions, and scrutiny or criticism than their white counterparts.

What Are Some Ways to Combat Racism in the Workplace?

Excellence in leadership cannot be accomplished without proactively addressing racism in the workplace. Addressing diversity, equality, and inclusion can be complex and challenging, but must be handled properly and swiftly.

Tackling racism in the workplace benefits not only workers of any race, but business owners and businesses in general. Institutionalized racism is intertwined into organizations, processes, and systems that today that require ethical businesses to scrutinize and ultimately make true and positive changes. Actions toward eliminating racism in the workplace include:

  • Analyze and gather data: To begin making changes, businesses first need to investigate, analyze, and understand the forms of racism prevalent in the workplace and to the ethnicities disproportionally affected. Such diversity data should include the ethnicity of disciplined workers, ethnic make-up of teams at every level of seniority, and the pay gaps of different ethnicities and genders.
  • Be accountable: Approach racism with a commitment toward making positive change, which includes business owners and leaders holding themselves accountable and transparent, and conveying that to staff.
  • Examine processes: Revisit policies and processes regularly, and especially following a racist incident and what aspects of the culture permitted the incident. For many businesses, recruitment and line management tend to have discrimination and bias aspects, conscious or unconscious, that can be corrected, along with management education on unconscious bias.
  • Educate and train: Educating and training all staff members to understand and recognize racism is crucial to the success of removing it from the workplace and processes. Management teams must understand and apply equality, diversity, and inclusion in their everyday experiences and be able to educate and tackle racism within their teams.
  • Study systemic racism: Racist incidents at work often fall on the shoulders of the employee blamed. However, culpability typically falls on others within the business or the business itself, such as what policies or processes allowed the incident to happen in the first place. Racism in the workplace should be viewed as a symptom of the systems in place, and therefore change the systems.
  • Query the staff: One of the best methods of understanding what forms of racism exist in the workplace is to listen to the groups who are experiencing discrimination, do not disregard complaints, and ask employees how they can be better supported.

Philadelphia Employment Lawyers at Sidkoff, Pincus & Green P.C. Represent Clients Experiencing Racial Discrimination and Equality at Work

If you are experiencing racial discrimination in your place of employment, our knowledgeable and experienced Philadelphia employment lawyers at Sidkoff, Pincus & Green P.C. will help you fight for the equality you deserve and hold your employer accountable for the incidents of racism. Call us at 215-574-0600 or contact us online to schedule an initial consultation. We are located in Philadelphia and serve clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

Can An Employer Force Me To Take A Drug Test To Apply for A Job?

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Philadelphia Employment Lawyers at Sidkoff, Pincus & Green P.C. Help Applicants and Employees Who are Treated Unjustly.

Applying and interviewing for a job can be a harrowing process, but before you are hired you may be asked to complete another task: taking a drug test. While an applicant may accept the possibility that employers may choose to do this, but is the process actually legal?

Are There Federal and State Drug Testing Laws?

When it comes to federal laws, there are few limits for employer drug testing. Unless the company works in a safety-centric industry like commercial truck and transport drivers, the Department of Defense, aviation, NASA contractors or transportation, federal laws do not require or prohibit drug tests. This is the province of state and local laws, and many do have ones that regulate or restrict employers’ rights to require the testing.

Pennsylvania does not have any laws that apply to drug testing for private employers unless it violates other laws. Drug testing is not usually illegal, whether it is done pre-employment, if there is reasonable suspicion that an employee is under the influence, for other mitigating circumstances, or when it is done at random. The testing may be done through blood, hair, or urine samples, and there are no regulations as to the kinds of substances that can be tested for.

In Philadelphia, a new city ordinance prohibiting pre-employment marijuana drug testing took effect earlier this year. Under the ordinance, employers, labor organizations, employment agencies, or related agents can no longer legally require prospective employees to submit to pre-employment marijuana-screening as a condition of employment. The same does not apply to current employees, however, nor prohibits the employer from disciplinary actions for employees in the possession, or under the influence, of marijuana during work hours.

Employment positions that have a direct impact on the health and safety of others are exempt from Philadelphia’s ban on pre-employment marijuana screening, including:

  • Law enforcement officers and positions
  • Employment positions requiring commercial driver’s licenses
  • Job positions requiring supervision of medical patients, disabled, children, or other vulnerable individuals

The city ordinance further states that employers must continue pre-employment marijuana screening if required by a federal or state regulation, statute, or order, a federal contract requirement, or if specified as part of a valid collective bargaining agreement.

What if My Drug Test Was Illegal?

Even though the state does not limit workplace drug testing, employees may still have recourse if they feel that a test was illegal. One reason to support this theory could be disability discrimination. According to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ACA), applicants and employees who are taking medications for disabilities may be exempt from positive results: some drugs that are illegal when not legitimately prescribed by a physician may be necessary for disabled individuals. If an applicant’s medication was legally prescribed for their disability and the employer turned them down for a positive drug test, that company might be held liable. This does not apply if the drug in question is marijuana.

Another reason to claim that an employer carried out illegal drug testing is defamation. This could occur if the result was a false positive and the employer acted in bad faith, and was aware/should have been aware that the test results were wrong. Invasion of privacy another possible claim; this can happen when employers violate an applicant’s or employee’s privacy by conducting the test in inappropriate or embarrassing circumstances, like having to provide a sample in front of other workers.

Applicants and employees who believe they were singled out for drug testing can also challenge potential and current employers for discrimination. Companies cannot single out specific groups of employees (by gender, race, religion, age, and other protected categories) for drug testing, and doing so could lead to a discrimination claim.

Philadelphia Employment Lawyers at Sidkoff, Pincus & Green P.C. Help Applicants and Employees Who are Treated Unjustly

If you think that an employer has treated you unfairly with a drug test, our experienced Philadelphia employment lawyers at Sidkoff, Pincus & Green P.C. may be able to help. For a confidential consultation, complete our online form or call us at 215-574-0600. We are located in Philadelphia and serve clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

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How To Recognize Same-Sex Sexual Harassment?

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Philadelphia Employment Lawyers at Sidkoff, Pincus & Green P.C. Uphold Worker Rights.

Many people think of sexual harassment as occurring between a man and a woman. HR departments most frequently hear reports of sexual harassment caused by males.

Many instances of same-sex sexual harassment also occur. The instances generally are less frequent, but are just as harmful as opposite-sex sexual harassment. Job providers also are just as liable when it occurs.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) enforces federal laws against workplace sexual harassment. Victims of workplace sexual harassment could file complaints that the EEOC will review. When harassment is confirmed, the victim can file a federal lawsuit against the employer and anyone involved in the harassment.

Common Reasons for Same-Sex Harassment

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 defines sexual harassment as unwelcome behaviors or actions that are sexual in nature and create a hostile work environment. It also is illegal to demand sexual favors in exchange for employment or job assignments.

Sexual harassment is not necessarily done to obtain sexual favors. Harassers often do it to intimidate the target and cause that person to be distressed. Same-sex harassment is no different.

Many times, the harassment is done to:

  • Coerce and threaten an individual
  • Degrade and demean someone
  • Make the target quit a job

A single incident does not automatically qualify as sexual harassment. An offensive comment or general teasing does not amount to sexual harassment, but it likely would violate workplace rules.

The activity rises to the level of sexual harassment when it is done to obtain sexual favors or creates a hostile work environment. Seeking sexual favors is a fairly simple concept, but a hostile work environment is more complicated.

A harasser could create a hostile work environment in many ways.

The individual might tell offensive jokes of a sexual nature or make generally offensive comments about your appearance. The harasser might circulate pornographic content or partially or fully nude photos.

Even ridiculing a person for not conforming to an expected standard of behavior could qualify as sexual harassment. For example, a male coworker might continually refer to another male as a “girl” or use degrading terms based on that person’s perceived sexual preferences.

No matter the reason, when sexual harassment occurs, your employer is responsible for putting an end to it.

Reporting Same-Sex Sexual Harassment and Other Offenses

If you are subject to sexual harassment from the same sex or anyone else, your employer is responsible for correcting the matter. You should be able to report the problem to your supervisor and investigate the matter.

If your supervisor is the cause of the harassment, someone with authority over that individual should correct the problem. That person might be the owner or another highly placed individual.

At all times, your employer is responsible for maintaining a safe work environment. When sexual harassment of any sort creates a hostile work environment, ignoring it or retaliating against a worker for reporting the problem is against the law.

Philadelphia Employment Lawyers at Sidkoff, Pincus & Green P.C. Uphold Worker Rights

Victims of sexual harassment from the same sex or anyone else can get help from our experienced Philadelphia employment lawyers at Sidkoff, Pincus & Green P.C. Call us at 215-574-0600 or contact us online to schedule a consultation at our Philadelphia law office. We represent clients in South Jersey and throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

Do I Need to Provide a Doctor’s Note to an Employer?

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Philadelphia employment lawyers at Sidkoff, Pincus & Green.

Calling in sick is a common occurrence, and employers often have requirements for doing so. Workers might get sick and suffer injuries while away from work that are unpredictable, but your employer may still have requirements for you to fulfill after your sick leave.

Your employer might require you to call in at least an hour prior to your shift to notify your supervisor. That gives your employer the opportunity to call in another worker to cover your shift. Exceptions to call-in procedures often include a car accident or similar emergency that makes it impossible to work or even provide notice right away.

Whenever possible, it is a good idea to support your sick call or emergency with a doctor’s note. Your employer should not require one or even ask for one due to one or even two consecutive shifts missed due to illness or injury.

When you miss three or more days, your employer usually has the right to require a doctor’s note, though this may vary based on location and sector of work. The doctor’s note should briefly describe your illness or injury.

Importance of a Doctor’s Note

A doctor’s note does more than confirm that you suffered from a medical condition that required you to miss one or more days of work: it also helps to protect your coworkers, managers, and visitors at your place of work.

If you were sick with a potentially dangerous and highly contagious illness, like COVID-19 and were to return to work while still sick, that could spread the illness. Likewise, returning too soon from an injury that reduces your ability to perform your work could be dangerous to yourself or others. A doctor’s note that says you are fully recovered and capable of working safely could protect the general workplace.

Your Work Contract Might Detail Requirements for a Doctor’s Note

Your employment contract may detail the exact process for calling in sick and providing a doctor’s note. If you have union membership, collective bargaining likely details procedures for calling in sick. Those procedures should say when a doctor’s note would be required.

You also might have an individual work contract that details how to call in sick and when a doctor’s note is needed. Whenever a work contract says how to call in sick and when a doctor’s note is needed, you must abide by the contract.

Philadelphia’s Sick Time Law and Doctor’s Note Requirements

If you work in Philadelphia, the city’s paid sick time law provides you with up to 40 hours of sick leave. The law covers full-time and part-time workers who do not already have up to 40 hours of paid sick leave available.

Anyone who has worked at least 40 hours with an employer in Philadelphia qualifies for sick leave. The law will not add more hours to already existing paid sick leave that you might have accrued.

If a job provider has 10 or more employees, the sick worker gets paid for up to 40 hours of leave time per year. If the employer has less than 10 workers, there is no pay for the time off, but the worker has the right to return to work.

Philadelphia’s sick leave law says that you do not have to provide a doctor’s note for missing work for up to two consecutive days. It does require one when you miss three or more days, though.

Philadelphia employment lawyers at Sidkoff, Pincus & Green

You can obtain legal help to uphold your workplace rights from our experienced Philadelphia employment lawyers at Sidkoff, Pincus & Green. You can call us at 215-574-0600 or contact us online to schedule an initial consultation at our Philadelphia law office. We represent clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

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Can An Employer Ask for My Date of Birth on a Job Application?

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Philadelphia Employment Lawyers at Sidkoff, Pincus & Green Help to Enforce Your Rights.

Age discrimination is a real issue with many workers. You might be young and just starting out on the career path, or nearing retirement age when searching for a job. Unfortunately, age sometimes is the primary reason a qualified job candidate does not get hired.

Federal and (virtually all) state laws prohibit age discrimination, which raises the question regarding the lawfulness of asking for dates of birth on employment applications. The potential for age discrimination makes it important to know your rights when asked for your date of birth by a prospective employer.

Pennsylvania Law Bans Asking for Dates of Birth

If your prospective employer is based in Pennsylvania, state law prohibits asking for an applicant’s date of birth. The Pennsylvania Human Resources Commission (PHRC) clearly says: “Inquiries regarding the applicant’s date of birth or age are unlawful.”

The PHRC says that it is reasonable to assume that any answers given on a pre-employment application or pre-screening form are used to make a hiring decision. So it would be reasonable to assume that asking for your date of birth on a job application is to obtain information that would be used in the hiring decision.

Since it is unlawful to discriminate based on age, the state does not allow employers to ask for birthdates on employment applications. The job provider’s human resources department might ask for other reasons on a separate form, though.

Employment Background Checks Often Require Birthdates

Many employers conduct background checks that do more than look at your work and education history. The background checks often include criminal records and credit reports.

The background checks typically require your date of birth and a social security number. That helps to ensure your records are the correct ones and not those of another person who happens to have the same name.

A human resources department can obtain the necessary information with your permission and after explaining why the information is needed. The process is separate from the job application and subsequent interviews that might occur.

The human resources department does not share your date of birth with those making the hiring decisions and obtained your permission to conduct background checks. That makes it legal at the state and federal levels.

How to Report Employer Violations?

The federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) enforces federal employment laws. Pennsylvania’s PHRC likewise enforces state employment laws.

If you think you were discriminated against based on age or for any other reason, you can file a complaint with the EEOC and the PHRC. The EEOC complaint would have to be for violations of federal employment laws, which would not include asking for your date of birth on a job application.

The PHRC complaint would have to be for violations of Pennsylvania employment laws, which could include asking for your date of birth on a job application.

When you complain to the EEOC, it will investigate and determine whether or not your complaint has merit. If the EEOC says it does, you could proceed with a federal lawsuit for age discrimination and other causes of action.

The PHRC also might determine that your rights were violated. If so, you could proceed with a state-level lawsuit against the offending employer.

You would have to show that you were qualified for the position. You also would have to show that the position went to someone much less qualified and who is much younger than you.

An experienced employment attorney can help you to gather the evidence needed to file a successful complaint for violations of state or federal employment laws.

Philadelphia Employment Lawyers at Sidkoff, Pincus & Green Help to Enforce Your Rights

Our experienced Philadelphia employment lawyers at Sidkoff, Pincus & Green can help you to uphold your rights. You can call 215-574-0600 or contact us online to schedule an initial consultation at our Philadelphia law office. We represent clients in South Jersey and throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

Does Age Discrimination Affect Who is Hired?

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The Philadelphia Employment Lawyers at Sidkoff, Pincus & Green P.C. Help Workers Facing Age Discrimination.

Age discrimination, also known as ageism, is discrimination against a person or a group of people based solely on their age. Ageism can happen to anyone, as aging is one thing that we call cannot control. Unfortunately, it happens quite frequently in the workplace, whether it is towards a long-time veteran at a job or someone fresh out of college trying to get into a particular field. People are subjected to age discrimination every day, even though it has been outlawed in the country for decades.

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act was passed in 1967, which protected applicants over 40 years old from ageism. Additionally, the Age Discrimination Act of 1975 protected those of all ages from discrimination. Despite this, age discrimination has been so prominent in the workplace that most people do not even know that it is illegal.

Recent studies by the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) found discriminatory practices in the workplace for older workers during:

  • Hiring process: Ageism happens when an older applicant is overlooked for someone younger based solely on age.
  • At the workplace: Age discrimination happens when an older worker does not receive promotions or rewards or is harassed because of their age.
  • Termination: Forcing an older worker out because of their age or letting go a worker to make space for a younger worker.

Age discrimination has such a negative impact on all businesses that it is puzzling that there are so many cases of it. Many cases of age discrimination go unreported. Older workers face many stereotypes even to this day, despite their experience and productivity. Here are some myths that the older generation of workers face:

  • Employers who do not hire older workers lose out on the experience and intellectual property they have earned over the years.
  • Older workers are more confident and knowledgeable than younger workers but are thought of as over-the-hill or unable to keep up.
  • Older workers can help their younger counterparts learn the job instead of supervisors or bosses having to micromanage and waste productivity.
  • Age discrimination causes disloyalty and lowers employee morale. Many people like to work for companies that welcome all employees of all ages, not companies that push older workers out to bring in cheaper and younger workers.
  • Age discrimination causes an increase in employee turnover, which decreases any hope for success.
  • There is a myth that older workers are unable to learn newer technologies, and this affects online job searches. They may be disqualified from job applications as algorithms filter out applicants based on their age.

Recent research has shown that age discrimination also causes a decline in mental health, particularly amongst women. When an older worker cannot get hired or is overlooked for a promotion, or is let go because of their age, then that has an adverse effect on the individual’s finances. Financial trouble leads to depression and similar mental health issues.

Age discrimination does not just affect older workers, as younger workers face prejudices as well. Younger workers are not hired because of the stereotypes of not having enough experience or are too immature for the job. However, many studies have shown that older workers are hired far less than their younger counterparts.

The Philadelphia Employment Lawyers at Sidkoff, Pincus & Green P.C. Help Workers Facing Age Discrimination

Age discrimination is illegal. If you are facing age discrimination in the workplace, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact the Philadelphia employment lawyers at Sidkoff, Pincus & Green P.C. immediately. Our knowledgeable team has years of experience and can help you with your case right away. Call us at 215-574-0600 or fill out our online form for an initial consultation. With offices located in Philadelphia, we proudly serve all communities of South Jersey, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey.

Are LGBTQ+ Workers’ Rights Protected?

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The Philadelphia Employment Lawyers at Sidkoff, Pincus & Green P.C. Advocate for Workers Facing Discrimination.

Thanks to a 2020 U.S. Supreme Court ruling, it is illegal for a Pennsylvania employer to fire someone for being gay or transgender. The Supreme Court ruled that civil rights laws governing employment discrimination include protections for workers in the LGBTQ+ community. This ruling had a significant impact in Pennsylvania, where workers previously did not have such protection.

The Supreme Court interpreted Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act to extend employment protections to LGBTQ+ people. This law has always prohibited discrimination based on race, religion, national origin, and sex. The court then determined that the definition of “sex” includes gender identity and sexual orientation.

LGBTQ+ Pennsylvanians have been trying for decades to be protected against employment discrimination. More than 50 municipalities, including Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, have had ordinances that protect LGBTQ+ people, but the result was a mishmash of laws, where a gay or transgender person could be fired in one city but not in another.

In addition, state employees are protected from discrimination based on sexual orientation because of an executive order by Gov. Milton J. Shapp in 1975. Another executive order in 2003 by Gov. Ed Rendell included protections for transgender state employees as well.

Pennsylvania’s nondiscrimination law, the Human Relations Act, does not specifically protect employees based on gender identity or sexual orientation. Like the federal law, it simply says that a person cannot be discriminated against based on sex.

Pennsylvania’s hodgepodge of LGBTQ protection laws no longer exists. With the Supreme Court’s most recent ruling, firing someone based on gender identity or sexual orientation violates civil rights law anywhere in Pennsylvania and across the nation.

With the Supreme Court’s ruling, companies, especially those who operate in multiple states such as Pennsylvania and New Jersey, must amend their policies to uniformly include protections for gender identity and sexual orientation. New Jersey’s nondiscrimination laws have included sexual orientation as a protected class since 1991, and gender identity since 2006.

What Should I Do if I Am Discriminated Against in Pennsylvania?

Employment discrimination occurs when a current or former employer takes an adverse action against you based on race, color, national origin, gender, religion, age (if over 40), disability, sexual orientation, or gender identity.

An adverse employment action could be:

  • Termination.
  • Demotion.
  • Not getting promoted.
  • Pay or benefit reduction.
  • Transfer to a new department or region.
  • Decrease in responsibilities.
  • Adverse performance reviews.

A Pennsylvania employee who believes their gender identity or sexual orientation is the reason for an adverse employment action must follow these steps to file a complaint:

Step One

You must first file a complaint of discrimination with either the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission (PHRC) within 180 days of the adverse employment action. If the agency you file with believes the other agency would better handle your complaint, it will cross-file your complaint with the other agency.

Step Two

The agency that receives your complaint will assign an investigator to the claim. You and the employer will complete questionnaires. The investigator may follow up with phone calls or meetings for more information. The agency can mediate between you and your employer. If it cannot facilitate an agreement, it will decide whether to file a lawsuit in court against the employer on your behalf.

Step Three

If the agency decides to file a legal claim on your behalf, it will file the lawsuit and work with you throughout the legal proceedings.

If the agency decides not to file a lawsuit against the employer on your behalf, the agency will send you a “right-to-sue” letter. This letter gives you the authority to file a federal or state court claim. If this letter is from the PHRC, you must file a claim in court within two years. If it is from the EEOC, you have 90 days from the date of the letter to file a claim in Court.

The Philadelphia Employment Lawyers at Sidkoff, Pincus & Green P.C. Advocate for Workers Facing Discrimination

Any employee who feels they may have been discriminated against should contact the Philadelphia employment lawyers at Sidkoff, Pincus & Green P.C. We can review the facts of your case and counsel you on the best next steps. For an initial consultation about your case, contact us online or call us at 215-574-0600. Located in Philadelphia, we serve clients throughout Pennsylvania, South Jersey, and New Jersey.

Am I Protected From Retaliation by My Employer?

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Philadelphia Employment Lawyers at Sidkoff, Pincus & Green P.C. Advocate for Employees Who Have Experienced Workplace Retaliation.

Every employee has the right to a workplace that is free from retaliation. Retaliation occurs when an employer acts negatively against an employee who has engaged in a legally-protected activity, including the following (not an exhaustive list):

  • Filing a discrimination claim, whether related to sexual, racial, religious or other discrimination.
  • Submitting an internal complaint of discrimination, including an informal and/or verbal complaint.
  • Questioning whether certain decisions or conduct of the employer are unlawful.
  • Discussing the employer’s practices with other employees.
  • Supporting a colleague’s discrimination or retaliation claim or internal complaint.
  • Requesting medical or maternity leave or a disability accommodation
  • Acting as a whistleblower.

What Is Employer Retaliation?

An employer actions can be considered retaliatory if they are motivated by the employee’s legally-protected actions. Examples of unlawful employer retaliation include:

  • Suspending, terminating, or demoting the employee.
  • Reducing an employee’s salary or benefits/eliminating benefits.
  • Refusing to promote the employee.
  • Issuing a negative performance review that is not accurate.
  • Disciplinary actions, such as probation or warnings.
  • Transferring the employee to a different department or area.
  • Harassing the employee.
  • Creating an uncomfortable work environment.
  • Starting rumors or gossip about the employee.
  • Writing up the employee for insubordination or other claims.

Protection Against Workplace Retaliation

Many different laws, federal and state, protect employees against retaliation. Workers who experience retaliation will go through their state’s Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) for claims pursuant to the following.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964

Protects employees from discrimination based on race, color, national origin, sex, and religion.

Fair Labor Standards Act

Makes it unlawful to discharge or discriminate against any employee because of filing a complaint or being willing to testify on a complaint.

Occupational Safety and Health Act

Protects employees who make workplace safety and health complaints.

Americans with Disabilities Act

Protects workers with disabilities in the workplace against discrimination or retaliation.

National Labor Relations Act (NLRA)

Gives rights to workers organizing, trying to form, join, or assist labor organizations to bargain as a group, and to engage in activities together with other workers. The anti-retaliation protection of the NLRA gives employees broad protection regardless of whether there is a union in the workplace.

Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA)

Protects workers against age discrimination in the workplace.

On a state level, the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission (PHRC) handles retaliation claims pursuant to:

  • Pennsylvania Human Relations Act (PHRA): The PHRA is a law that covers employment discrimination against workers by their employers for certain illegal reasons. The state enacted the law because workers who are not given equal employment opportunities may not reach their fullest potentials or enjoy the standards of living that they should. When people who have protected statuses suffer employment discrimination and are not given equal opportunities, they may then be forced to access public welfare.

Local laws can even protect workers. For example, Philadelphia’s Fair Practices Ordinance (PFPO) protects employees from discrimination and harassment based on their sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity.

What Can I Gain From a Retaliation Legal Claim?

An employee who has experienced employer retaliation should contact an employment lawyer. They may be entitled to recover compensation for their losses, including:

  • Lost wages and benefits due to being out of work (both past and future).
  • Curtailed career advancement opportunities.
  • Emotional trauma, humiliation, embarrassment, pain and suffering.
  • Reinstatement of lost position or benefits.
  • Attorneys’ fees and costs.

Philadelphia Employment Lawyers at Sidkoff, Pincus & Green P.C. Advocate for Employees Who Have Experienced Workplace Retaliation

Retaliation against employees for whistleblowing or other reasons is illegal. If you feel your rights have been violated, contact our Philadelphia employment lawyers at Sidkoff, Pincus & Green P.C. We help employees get fair and just compensation under the law. For an initial consultation, contact us online or call us at 215-574-0600. Located in Philadelphia, we serve clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

 

 

 

Can Doctors Negotiate Their Contracts?

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Philadelphia Employment Lawyers at Sidkoff, Pincus & Green P.C. Help Doctors Negotiate Their Contracts.

Until you sign a contract, anything is negotiable. It takes a lot of hard work and education to become a doctor, and it is very important that a contract reflects that hard work and advanced education that was needed to become a licensed medical professional.

Verbal agreements can help prevent some conflicts, but they have almost no legal weight. However, a written contract clearly outlines what is expected of both parties. If you are weighing the merits of a contract, the following tips could help you to decide how to proceed.

Commonly Negotiated Conditions in Contracts

Pay, work hours, and benefits are common elements of any work-related contract. However, a doctor could have many more considerations placed in a contract. If you recently completed medical school and have a significant amount of student loan debt, you might negotiate a partial payment from your employer.

Many doctors need to do more than see patients and consult with staff. Some doctors have administrative duties as well. A contract might determine the type of administrative services and the amount that you are expected to do while on the clock.

Many doctors also might be required to remain on call on particular days and at particular times, such as overnight. The contract clearly should outline the times and how frequently you might have to be on call to handle emergencies and demands of hospital staff.

Virtually every aspect of your contract to perform duties is negotiable. It helps greatly to understand exactly what the contract says and what it requires of you and your employer.

How Can a Lawyer Help With My Contract if I am a Doctor?

The majority of doctors are highly skilled at providing medical services but are not well-versed in contracts. An experienced lawyer can help review a pending contract. Your lawyer can clearly explain what the legal terms mean. Your lawyer can also explain how the proposed terms might affect your work, pay, or benefits. A lawyer can help you understand the proposals in the contract and how to make counteroffers as well.

Making mistakes and signing a substandard contract might lock you into a bad deal for years. A lawyer can help prevent that and will negotiate the best possible terms of the contract.

Philadelphia Employment Lawyers at Sidkoff, Pincus & Green P.C. Help Doctors Negotiate Their Contracts

If you are a medical professional and need help with a contract, our experienced Philadelphia employment lawyers at Sidkoff, Pincus & Green P.C. can help. Call us at 215-574-0600 or contact us online to schedule an initial consultation. We are located in Philadelphia, and we serve clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

Should I Have a Lawyer Review My Executive Employment Contract?

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Philadelphia Employment Lawyers at Sidkoff, Pincus & Green P.C. Help Executives Negotiate Favorable Employment Contracts.

Executive-level employees are often offered executive contracts or employment agreements. For employers, a contract can ensure that the executive will work for them for a predetermined amount of time, among other commitments. For the executive, a contract allows them to negotiate their compensation, criteria for raises, bonus structure, and severance payments.

It can be beneficial for anyone offered an employment contract to have a lawyer review the paperwork. An experienced employment lawyer can:

  • Demonstrate to the employer that you are serious about negotiating the best package possible.
  • Ensure that a proposed severance package will be adequate should you be let go.
  • Translate the legal jargon into understandable terms, so everything is clear.
  • Negotiate for a salary commensurate with the market.
  • Review noncompete and other clauses to ensure they will not compromise future employment.

In short, your lawyer will craft a complete negotiation strategy to make sure you are favorably covered in all aspects of employment: salary, vacation, bonuses, raises, termination, and postemployment provisions.

A terminated employee, executive or not, who is offered a severance package can also benefit from having a lawyer review the termination or severance agreement. This can help the employee understand all terms and expectations.

Most employers have deadlines for an employee to accept or reject an employment contract. That is why you should speak with a lawyer as soon as you receive the contract. Your lawyer will appreciate the extra time to craft a solid strategy that will include some or all of the following:

  • Compensation: Amount of compensation and timeframes for delivering payment.
  • Bonuses: Bonus criteria, amounts, and timing for payment.
  • Raises: Eligibility for raises, timing, and amounts.
  • Liability protection: A lawyer will review the contract to ensure appropriate insurance protections and agreements are in place to shield the executive from personal liability and indemnification.
  • Responsibilities: Full job description, title, duties, reporting structures.
  • Benefits and perks: Insurance coverages, such as disability and life insurance, medical plan/medical check-ups, 401k, pension, or other retirement plans, meal and entertainment reimbursement, company car, cellphone, housing assistance.
  • Stock rights: Stock amounts, vesting, exercising stock options, dilution of stock value; how stock options and vesting will be managed postemployment.
  • Timeframes: Length of contract and criteria for a contract extension.
  • Performance evaluations: Criteria and timing, benchmarks, and ratings to be used.
  • Post-employment provisions: Noncompete clauses, trade secrets, and intellectual property considerations. A lawyer will review these restrictive covenants to ensure the executive’s future employment is not jeopardized.
  • References: Agreement on what employer may disclose about the employee should they be terminated; how references will be handled.
  • Severance: Items the severance package will include compensation, timing and length of salary payments, benefits, such as insurance coverage and other considerations.
  • Confidentiality requirements: Most employment agreements require that an executive employee agree not to divulge confidential information acquired during employment. A lawyer will ensure that the employer provides for certain limitations, such as information that is publicly known or is already lawfully in an executive’s possession.
  • Continued employment: A contract should include salary, benefits, and perks should the executive remain with the company but in a different capacity. There should also be language that spells out what will happen to the executive and the position should the company be sold, taken over, or if there is a material change in job duties or reporting relationship.

An employment contract will also typically include the grounds for which an employer may terminate the executive’s employment and not pay severance benefits. This is called a “for cause” provision and will include reasons such as:

  • Employee’s felony conviction.
  • Employee has substantially failed to perform job functions.
  • Employee fraud or willful and material misconduct concerning the employer.
  • A willful and material breach of the employment contract.

In summary, an employment lawyer can help ensure that the high-ranking employee is protected both during and after employment.

Philadelphia Employment Lawyers at Sidkoff, Pincus & Green P.C. Help Executives Negotiate Favorable Employment Contracts

Any employee offered an employment contract should reach out to one of our Philadelphia employment lawyers at Sidkoff, Pincus & Green P.C. We have helped many executives get substantial compensation and benefits packages. For an initial consultation, contact us online or call us at 215-574-0600. Located in Philadelphia, we serve clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey.