Category: Employment

Do Employers Need to Supply Employees With a Handbook?

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Philadelphia Business Lawyers at Sidkoff, Pincus & Green P.C. Can Help Protect Your Business

An employee handbook is often viewed as a quintessential component of any organization. However, is it legally required for employers to provide their employees with a handbook? The short answer: no. There is no explicit legal obligation for businesses to have an employee handbook. However, the value and benefits of having a well-drafted handbook should not be underestimated.

Why Employee Handbooks Are Important?

While not legally mandatory, there are compelling reasons why employers should consider providing their employees with a handbook. An employee handbook is a central repository of an organization’s policies and procedures. It clearly communicates the expectations, rights, and responsibilities of both the employer and the employee.

Without written policies, misunderstandings can arise, leading to conflicts, decreased productivity, and potential legal issues. Employers can ensure that all employees receive consistent information by documenting policies in a handbook. This also helps to foster a sense of fairness and transparency within the organization, thereby boosting morale and engagement.

What Should Be Included in an Employee Handbook?

A practical employee handbook should cover a broad spectrum of topics that pertain to the workplace. Here are some key areas that should be included:

  • Company culture and values: This section allows businesses to introduce their mission, vision, and values, setting the tone for the work environment.
  • Employment policies: This includes details about work schedules, attendance, performance reviews, promotions, and termination procedures.
  • Compensation and benefits: Information about salary structures, bonuses, raises, health benefits, retirement plans, and vacation time should be clearly outlined.
  • Workplace conduct: This encompasses rules regarding dress code, harassment, discrimination, and other related issues.
  • Safety and security: Policies related to workplace safety, emergency procedures, and data security should be explicitly stated.
  • Legal rights and obligations: This includes information about compliance with federal and state employment laws.

When creating an employee handbook, it is crucial to incorporate several legal matters to ensure the company’s operations align with the law and protect the company and its employees. Here are some critical legal topics that should be addressed:

  • Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO): Companies must adhere to EEO laws prohibiting discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, or genetic information. The handbook should clearly state the company’s commitment to EEO principles.
  • Harassment and discrimination policies: A comprehensive policy against harassment and discrimination, including sexual harassment, should be included. The policy should define what constitutes harassment, provide examples of prohibited behaviors, and outline the procedure for reporting and investigating complaints.
  • Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA): If your company is subject to FMLA, policies regarding leave entitlements for eligible employees due to medical and family reasons should be clearly articulated.
  • Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA): The ADA requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to qualified individuals with disabilities. The handbook should outline your company’s commitment to comply with ADA regulations.
  • Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA): This act regulates minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping, and child labor. Your handbook should include policies regarding work hours, breaks, compensation, and overtime to ensure compliance with FLSA.
  • Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations: Employers must provide a safe working environment. Your handbook should include policies on workplace safety, injury reporting, and emergency procedures.
  • At-will employment: If you operate in an at-will employment state, it is crucial to include a statement that employment is at-will, meaning that either the employer or the employee can terminate the employment relationship at any time.
  • Confidentiality and non-disclosure agreements (NDAs): To protect your business’s proprietary information, the handbook should include policies about confidentiality and non-disclosure.
  • Social media and electronic communication policy: In the digital age, it is important to have clear guidelines about the company’s acceptable use of social media and electronic communication.
  • Drug-free workplace policy: If applicable, include a policy that promotes a drug-free workplace.

The Role of a Lawyer in Drafting an Employee Handbook

Given the legal implications associated with various aspects of employment, a lawyer should assist in drafting an employee handbook. A lawyer can help ensure the handbook is comprehensive and compliant with all relevant laws and regulations.

A lawyer can help articulate policies clearly and unambiguously, reducing the risk of misinterpretation. They can also keep the handbook updated to reflect changes in the law, protecting the company from potential legal pitfalls.

Furthermore, a lawyer can help create a handbook customized to the business’s specific needs and circumstances. They can advise on handling sensitive topics, such as harassment and discrimination, in a manner that aligns with best legal practices.

Philadelphia Business Lawyers at Sidkoff, Pincus & Green P.C. Can Help Protect Your Business

There are many employment laws you need to follow. For legal help with getting a compliant handbook and policies, speak with our Philadelphia business lawyers at Sidkoff, Pincus & Green P.C. Call us at 215-574-0600 or contact us online to schedule a consultation. Located in Philadelphia, we serve clients in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

The Top 3 Mistakes Employers Make That Lead to Employment Lawsuits

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Philadelphia Business Lawyers at Sidkoff, Pincus & Green P.C. Can Help You Prevent Employment Lawsuits

As a small business owner, you are likely juggling many responsibilities. One of the most important aspects of running a successful business is managing your employees effectively and within the boundaries of the law. Unfortunately, many small business owners unknowingly make mistakes that can lead to costly employment lawsuits.

Mishandling Employee Classification

One of the most common mistakes employers make is improperly classifying their employees, which can lead to wage and hour laws violations. There are two primary classifications: exempt and non-exempt employees. Exempt employees are not eligible for overtime pay, while non-exempt employees must be paid overtime for any hours worked over 40 in a workweek.

Misclassifying employees can lead to significant financial penalties for employers. If an employee is incorrectly classified as exempt, they may be entitled to overtime pay for all hours worked over 40 in a workweek. This can result in substantial back pay, fines, and penalties for the employer.

To avoid misclassification, it is essential to familiarize yourself with the criteria for exempt and non-exempt employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The FLSA provides specific tests to determine if an employee qualifies as exempt based on salary, job duties, and responsibilities. If you are unsure about an employee’s classification, consult with legal counsel to ensure compliance with the law.

Additionally, regularly review and update your employee classifications as job duties and responsibilities change. Ensuring proper classification from the outset and consistently monitoring it can help prevent costly litigation.

Failing to Comply With Anti-Discrimination Laws

Employment discrimination lawsuits are another common legal issue for small businesses. Employers must comply with various anti-discrimination laws, such as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA).

Failing to comply with these laws can lead to costly and time-consuming litigation. Discrimination claims can result in substantial damages, including back pay, compensatory damages, and punitive damages. Moreover, defending against these claims can severely damage a company’s reputation and employee morale.

It is essential to create and enforce a clear anti-discrimination policy to prevent discrimination claims. This policy should outline the company’s commitment to equal opportunity and prohibit discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, or other protected characteristics.

Additionally, provide regular training on anti-discrimination laws and your company’s policies to all employees, including managers and supervisors. This will help ensure everyone understands their rights and responsibilities under the law.

Finally, promptly investigate and address any complaints of discrimination. Taking appropriate action when a complaint arises can help prevent escalation and potential litigation.

Ignoring Employee Complaints

Employee complaints, whether about harassment, discrimination, or workplace safety, should never be ignored. Failing to address these concerns can lead to legal liability and a hostile work environment.

Ignoring employee complaints can result in a hostile work environment, which may lead to lawsuits alleging harassment or discrimination. Additionally, failing to address workplace safety concerns can result in violations of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations, leading to fines and penalties.

Establish a straightforward process for employees to report complaints and concerns. This process should include multiple avenues for reporting, such as a designated HR representative or an anonymous hotline.

Take all complaints seriously and conduct a thorough investigation. If the investigation reveals any wrongdoing, take appropriate action to remedy the situation, such as disciplining the offending party or implementing new workplace policies.

Philadelphia Business Lawyers at Sidkoff, Pincus & Green P.C. Can Help You Prevent Employment Lawsuits

You cannot stop anyone from suing you, but you can take proactive steps to reduce the likelihood that a lawsuit against your company will be successful. To create a plan for your business, speak with our Philadelphia business lawyers at Sidkoff, Pincus & Green P.C. about your options. Call us at 215-574-0600 or contact us online to schedule an initial consultation. Located in Philadelphia, we proudly serve clients in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

The Top 5 Mistakes Employers Make in Hiring and Firing Procedures

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Philadelphia Business Lawyers at Sidkoff, Pincus & Green P.C. Can Help Keep Your Business Compliant.

As a business owner, hiring and firing can be stressful. Unfortunately, many employers make mistakes in hiring and firing. These mistakes can result in costly lawsuits, disciplinary actions, and low employee morale.

Hiring Mistake 1: Not Defining the Job’s Qualifications or Overlooking Them

Without a clear and concise definition of what the job requires, you cannot effectively identify the ideal candidate. Defining the job includes creating a job description, stating employee qualifications, and establishing their duties and responsibilities. Overlooking some qualifications can also lead to disastrous outcomes. For instance, hiring a person with a history of misconduct in finance to handle your business’s finances. This mistake can be avoided by reviewing resumes and applications and conducting background and reference checks.

Hiring Mistake 2: Not Conducting Effective Interviews

Another common mistake that employers make is not asking appropriate job-related questions during interviews. Asking irrelevant questions, not taking notes, and interrupting the candidate are signs of poor interviewing skills. Conducting effective interviews involves asking job-related questions, assessing the candidate’s behavior, experience, and references, and evaluating the candidate’s fit with your company culture.

Hiring Mistake 3: Rushing the Hiring Process

Hiring the first candidate that applies can be the biggest mistake an employer can make. It is crucial to take your time and evaluate all candidates based on job requirements and experience. Rushing the hiring process can lead to poor hiring decisions and high turnover rates. Rushing can also lead to neglecting to check references and conducting background checks. It is essential to have a hiring timeline that incorporates each step of the hiring process.

Hiring Mistake 4: Not Offering Competitive Wages and Benefits

Compensating low wages and minimal benefits often leads to high turnover rates, leaving your business exposed to financial liabilities. Offering competitive wages and benefits packages is critical to keeping your employees and attracting top talent. Employers must determine what they can afford and offer alternative benefits, such as a flexible work schedule, paid time off, and bonuses.

Hiring Mistake 5: Ignoring Discrimination Laws

Ignoring discrimination laws during the hiring process can lead to costly fines and lawsuits. Employers need to develop and maintain fair and nondiscriminatory hiring policies, including EEOC guidelines, state, and federal laws. This involves avoiding discriminatory hiring practices based on age, gender, race, sexual orientation, disability status, and other protected classes.

Firing Mistake 1: Improper Documentation

Not documenting employee actions, problem behavior, and performance can lead to misunderstandings and costly litigation. Documenting employee performance includes dates, times, and incidents. Documentation should address areas of improvement, the steps the employer took to provide feedback, coaching, and support.

Firing Mistake 2: Appearing Biased or Prejudiced

Appearances of bias or prejudice can lead to costly discrimination lawsuits, including wrongful termination. Employers must communicate clearly and genuinely when terminating or disciplining an employee. Avoid making comments that could appear potentially discriminatory.

Firing Mistake 3: Acting Based on Emotions

While employers may have strong feelings about a situation, it is essential to make objective decisions rather than acting on emotions. Employers must remain in control and take the necessary time to analyze situations before taking any disciplinary action or terminating an employee.

Firing Mistake 4: Terminating as Retaliation

Retaliation against employees who complain, challenge, or make a report against an employee or employer violates federal and state employment laws, and it can be incredibly damaging.

Firing Mistake 5: Neglecting Ongoing Performance Feedback

Neglecting ongoing performance feedback leads to high turnover rates and creates an uncomfortable work environment. Employers should routinely provide feedback, both positive and constructive, to their employees. Offering feedback promotes a positive work environment and reinforces that the employer values their employees’ contributions.

Philadelphia Business Lawyers at Sidkoff, Pincus & Green P.C. Can Help Keep Your Business Compliant

It is crucial that your business has clear and structured hiring and firing processes. Protect yourself and your business by speaking with one of our Philadelphia business lawyers at Sidkoff, Pincus & Green P.C. Call us at 215-574-0600 or contact us online to schedule an initial consultation. Located in Philadelphia, we serve clients in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

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.

Former Employee Sues Behavioral Health Company

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Philadelphia Employment Lawyers at Sidkoff, Pincus & Green P.C. Protect Employees Who Have Been Wrongfully Terminated.

Allegations of Wrongful Termination Based on Her Age and Requests for Reasonable Accommodations

A Pennsylvania woman filed a lawsuit in the Western District of Pennsylvania against a behavioral health company alleging discrimination and unlawful termination. According to the complaint, the plaintiff, 61, worked as an outpatient treatment reporting screener for 21 years. She was diagnosed with anxiety and depression after her mother’s death, and requested reasonable medical accommodations at that time, including a two to three month medical leave. Upon her return on a part-time basis, she claims she became the target of harassment, receiving criticism for the quality and speed of her work and an increased workload.

The plaintiff submitted reasonable accommodation paperwork from her doctor requesting a lesser workload. Her request was denied without her employer providing any legitimate reason why. Shortly thereafter, she was given a written warning requiring her to perform an “unreasonable” amount of job duties for a part-time position, including a quota of 20 to 25 inquiries per day, returning all phone calls and covering for absent co-workers. She met with her supervisor and HR about the situation, and again requested accommodation to temporarily decrease her workload, but her request was again denied.

After the meeting with her supervisor and HR, the plaintiff received a follow-up email, stating she was now required to complete 20 to 25 complex inquiries or up to 60 less complex inquiries per day. She emailed both parties about the higher quota, but received no response, court documents state. The plaintiff informed her employer that her doctor had approved her to return to work full-time. However, before she was allowed to return to work full-time, she was terminated for allegedly failing to meet performance expectations. In addition to disability discrimination and retaliation, the plaintiff claims she was terminated because of her advanced age.

The lawsuit claims her employer violated the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act. The plaintiff is seeking the defendant to promulgate and adhere to a policy prohibiting discrimination and retaliation against employees; provide back pay, reinstatement and benefits; punitive and/or liquidated damages; other equitable and legal relief as the Court deems appropriate; and attorney’s fees.

Philadelphia Employment Lawyers at Sidkoff, Pincus & Green P.C. Protect Employees Who Have Been Wrongfully Terminated

If you believe that you were wrongfully terminated from your job, the Philadelphia employment lawyers at Sidkoff, Pincus & Green P.C. can assist you with these matters. To schedule an initial consultation, call us at 215-574-0600 or contact us online. Located in Philadelphia, we serve clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey.


What Are Reasonable Accommodations for Disabled Employees?

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Philadelphia Employment Lawyers at Sidkoff, Pincus & Green P.C. Assist Clients Entitled to Reasonable Accommodations in the Workplace.

Employers are required to make reasonable accommodations to allow employees with disabilities the ability to perform their job duties successfully. A disability is legally defined as having a physical or mental impairment, a record of a physical or mental impairment, or regarded as having a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more bodily functions or major life activities.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) provides disabled persons federal civil rights protection from discrimination, and it provides equal opportunity for employment and requires employers to make reasonable accommodations for employees with disabilities in businesses with 15 or more employees.

Reasonable accommodations are changes to the job description, application process, or workplace for disabled individuals to apply for a position and the ability to perform essential job duties. Some examples of reasonable accommodations include:

  • Changes to the make the workplace more accessible, such as installing ramps and elevators and providing accessible bathroom facilities for employees who use a wheelchair or walker.
  • Altering or adding necessary equipment to allow a disabled employee to successfully perform their job duties, such as computer programs that convert text to speech for the blind and videophone communication for the deaf.
  • Modifications to the work schedule for the disabled and employees with chronic medical conditions to accommodate for medical appointments and the flexibility to complete work at alternate times or locations.
  • Reassigning a disabled employee to a more suitable open position, if qualified, should the employee’s disability prevent them from performing the duties in their current job.
  • Adjusting policies to allow service animals in the workplace.
  • Providing handicapped parking or providing a reserved parking space closer to the building for an employee unable to walk long distances.

Requesting Reasonable Accommodations

If you require an accommodation that is not already provided for your job, you must request one and you will need to disclose the nature of your disability. Making an ADA request for accommodation does not have to be in writing unless you prefer to do so, but you must inform your employer that you require an accommodation due to the medical condition.

Written requests are typically submitted to both your supervisor and the company’s Human Resources (HR) department and should include that you are requesting a reasonable accommodation under the ADA.

Following your request, your employer may choose to grant it or work together with you to find a suitable alternative. While employers are required to meet the needs of their employees, however, they may not be required to provide an employee’s first choice of accommodation. Keep in mind that employers may request medical documentation from your provider in cases of disabilities with no physical presentation.

Employers are not required to make reasonable accommodations if doing so would impose an undue hardship to the business’s operation and is determined on a case-by-case basis. Undue hardship may be applicable if the accommodation would require significant difficulty or expense in relation to the business size, available resources, and the type of business operation.

Unfair Accommodations

There are also certain items that are not considered reasonable accommodations that employers are not required to implement, such as:

  • Eliminate a primary responsibility of the job.
  • Lower standards of production that apply to all employees.
  • Provide personal items, such as hearing aids, eyeglasses, and the like.
  • Excuse violations of conduct rules that apply to all employees, such as violence or threats of violence, theft, or destruction of property, and is permitted to discipline a disabled employee the same as any other employee.

Philadelphia Employment Lawyers at Sidkoff, Pincus & Green P.C. Assist Clients Entitled to Reasonable Accommodations in the Workplace

If you believe your employer has wrongfully denied your requests for a reasonable accommodation to allow you to successfully complete your job responsibilities, our Philadelphia employment lawyers at Sidkoff, Pincus & Green P.C. can help. Call us today at 215-574-0600 or contact us online for an initial consultation. Located in Philadelphia, we proudly serve clients throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

What Tips Should Business Owners Know for the Holidays?

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The holidays are here, and this time of year is busy for everyone. If you own a business, you should be aware of potential holiday-related legal issues. The holiday season is a great time to make profits, but you may see possible legal problems arise as well. The following tips will help your business stay profitable and in legal compliance during the holidays.

Track Inventory

Track inventory, as last year’s sales could provide an outline on what will sell during the holidays. Know your customers, and make sure that your shelves are stocked with products.

Make Necessary Updates

Businesses should utilize an array of current and advanced platforms that will help with handling tasks, like accounting, billing, collecting customer data, and presenting and automating business transactions. There are several apps on the market to keep track of sales, purchases, and receipts.

Formulate a Holiday Strategy

Utilize emails and social media to discuss holiday sales. Consider employing an ad campaign to promote your businesses products and services. Ad campaigns and promotions should also be utilized on major search engines.

Record customer data to make them aware of future sales and promotions. Employ a campaign that offers a discount in exchange for an email address to develop an email list.

Maintain Your Momentum

A successful holiday season can help impact your sales all year. Being organized and recording analytics relating to your customers can help you retarget them in future ad campaigns. Being organized will also help you avoid business litigation and other issues.

What Are Potential Holiday Legal Issues?

Important legal issues that business owners should be aware of during the holiday season include:

  • Fraud: You can employ several strategies to mitigate return fraud by not offering cash refunds for purchases, not accepting returns of online purchases in-store, and restricting your return period to avert items being returned weeks or months after purchase.
  • Discrimination: Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 requires employers to reasonably accommodate an employee’s religious practices. To avoid potential discrimination, employers who give workers time off for one religious holiday should allow other employees who practice a different faith time off for their religious holidays as well.
  • Unpaid wages: The holiday season is a busy time, and some employers may not pay their workers for overtime. Make sure you are keeping track of everything and complying with overtime laws.

Philadelphia Business Lawyers at Sidkoff, Pincus & Green P.C. Can Help You Make Sure That You Are in Legal Compliance This Holiday Season

If you have any holiday-related legal concerns at your business that you wish to address, our Philadelphia business lawyers at Sidkoff, Pincus & Green P.C. can help. Call us at 215-574-0600 or contact us online to schedule an initial consultation. Located in Philadelphia, we serve clients throughout Pennsylvania and Pennsylvania.

Can Employees Express Political Views at Work?

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Perhaps nothing can divide the office faster than bringing up political views. Political discussion can affect productivity, and it can also create a hostile work environment. Employees should be aware of common misconceptions regarding political views in the workplace.

A lot of employees may believe that the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees freedom of speech at work. The First Amendment applies to government action, it does not limit the ability of private employers to regulate freedom of speech at work. It does not provide any constitutional right for workers to express political views at work. Therefore, there is no constitutionally protected right of free speech at work. Federal law does not protect workers from political discrimination. However, some states do protect employees from different types of political discrimination.

Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, employers cannot discriminate against employees because of their race, color, national origin, religion, and sex. A political discussion could be tied into one of these protected classes. For example, if a female employee participated in a women’s rights movement and is fired, but other employees can participate in movements, rallies, and protests, she may be able to prove she is being discriminated against because of her sex.

Many employers will create policies limiting the discussion of political views due to issues that could arise. Politics can involve discussions on race, sexual orientation, religion, and a litany of other issues that can polarize the workplace. Heated political discussions could result in discrimination claims, wrongful termination, or even retaliation.

Are Employees Allowed to Campaign in the Workplace?

An employer must maintain a workspace that is free of discrimination and harassment, and they can ban activities unrelated to work. An employer can prohibit employees from promoting political campaigns. This includes:

  • Soliciting coworkers or customers to support political causes.
  • Using the employer’s computer to email and engage in political discussions.
  • Wearing buttons, shirts, or other items of clothing with political messages.

It is important to know that employees who violate an employer’s policy may be lawfully disciplined or discharged.

Philadelphia Employment Lawyers at Sidkoff, Pincus & Green P.C. Advocate for Employees Subjected to Discrimination

As an employee, you should know your rights in the workplace. There are common misconceptions about expressing political views at work, however, political discrimination can link to a protected class. If you believe you were discriminated against at work, speak to our Philadelphia employment lawyers at Sidkoff, Pincus & Green P.C. today. Call us at 215-574-0600 or contact us online for an initial consultation. Located in Philadelphia, we serve clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

New OSHA Emergency Temporary Standard Requiring All Employers with Over 100 Employees to Ensure All Workers are Vaccinated or Tested Weekly

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OSHA emegency standard

Fifth Circuit Issues Stay on New OSHA Emergency Temporary Standard Requiring All Employers with Over 100 Employees to Ensure All Workers are Vaccinated or Tested Weekly

On Saturday November 6, 2021, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit issued a stay freezing the November 4, 2021 Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) Emergency Temporary Standard (“ETS”), which requires all private employers  with over 100 employees to ensure, by January 4, 2022, that their employees are 1) either fully vaccinated, unless the employee qualifies for a religious or medical exemption, or 2) wear a mask and participate in at least once-weekly testing. While employers are not required to pay for testing under the ETS, they would be required to provide up to four hours of paid time to receive each primary dose (two doses for Pfizer and Moderna, one dose for Johnson & Johnson), as well as provide reasonable paid time for sick leave for side effects.

The ETS is currently being challenged in courts around the country. However, should the Biden Administration prevail and the stay is lifted, private companies with 100+ employees will be required to comply with the ETS, as described below, or risk financial repercussions.

Covered Employers

The ETS applies to single corporate entities with multiple locations, adding all employees at those locations together to determine if an employer meets the 100-employee threshold. Employers must count both full-time and part-time employees in its calculation, regardless if they work remotely or in the office. While remote workers are counted for purposes of determining the employee threshold, remote workers will not be subject to vaccination and testing requirements. While the ETS is in effect, covered employers that drop below the 100-employee threshold will remain covered, and be required to comply with the ETS.

The ETS does not apply to traditional franchisor-franchisee relationships, as each franchise is considered a separate entity and only that franchise’s employees are counted. Further, the ETS does not apply to staffing agencies or work sites with multiple employers.

Compliance Requirements

Covered employers must obtain proof of their employees’ vaccinations via healthcare provider or pharmacy records, Covid-19 Vaccination Record Cards; medical records, immunization records, or any other official documentation verifying the employee’s vaccination information. Employers must keep their employees’ vaccination status records available within four hours of a request from OSHA.

By December 5, 2021, covered employers must: 1) provide a written vaccination policy to its employees, which may be communicated through team meetings, email, written flyers, or other forms of communication, 2) determine the vaccination status of each employee, provide paid time off for vaccination and recovery, 3) ensure employees with positive tests are removed from the workforce and follow CDC quarantine requirements before they are allowed back at the worksite, 4) ensure that unvaccinated employees are masked when indoors, 5) report work-related COVID-19 fatalities and in-patient hospitalizations as required by the ETS, and prepare a roster of their employees’ vaccination status if requested by OSHA.

If an employer does not comply with the ETS, it can face up to $14,000 per violation.

If you are a large business, and you have questions regarding the new Emergency Temporary Standard, our skilled Philadelphia employment lawyers at Sidkoff, Pincus & Green P.C. can help. For more information and to schedule an initial consultation, contact us online or call us at 215-574-0600. Located in Philadelphia, we serve clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

  Category: Employment, Employment Law
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How Are Deaf Applicants Discriminated Against by Employers?

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When a person who is deaf looks for a job, they may encounter employment discrimination. Discrimination may be done overtly or subtly by prospective employers. Often, discrimination occurs due to prejudices or because the employer does not fully understand deafness and hearing loss. For example, an employer may mistakenly think that a deaf employee will need an interpreter all the time.

Some deaf applicants will omit their disability on their resume. People who are deaf or have hearing loss often utilize a personal relay phone number on their resume. Employers would not know that the applicant is deaf or hard of hearing until they call the phone number.

If you feel that you have been discriminated against because you are deaf or have hearing loss, then the best course of action is to document everything. Proper documentation is paramount to winning a potential legal battle. For example, if you utilize a relay phone call to your potential employer and they state that they do not hire people who are disabled, document the incident.

What Should I Do if I Experienced Discrimination Due to My Disability?

If you have experienced discrimination while applying for a job, it could be a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The ADA states that a job applicant is considered qualified if the person can do the necessary functions of the job with or without reasonable accommodations. One reasonable accommodation may include an interpreter for important staff meetings.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is responsible for protecting your rights in the job search, along with your rights while you are employed. While you may want to file a discrimination lawsuit immediately, the EEOC mandates that you have to file a complaint before you can file a lawsuit. You have 180 days to file from the day the discrimination happened, including holidays and weekends.

Filing With the EEOC

There are three different methods that you can file an employment discrimination complaint with the EEOC. You can do so in person, by phone, or through the mail. If you choose to do so in person, then go to an EEOC field office. Since each office has its own procedures, the EEOC states that you should contact the field office in advance. To start a charge of discrimination by phone, you can call the EEOC and provide them your information, but you still must file the charge.

To file by mail, you can mail the EEOC a signed letter that has all the details. The EEOC may contact you for more information, or the EEOC may put all the information you sent on an official charge form and ask for your signature. You may consult and hire a lawyer to represent you through the EEOC process, which can be very helpful.

Mediation and Investigation

The EEOC could ask you to go through mediation. If that fails, a charge of discrimination will go to an investigator. When the EEOC investigator decides that there are grounds for a discrimination case, they will try to settle with the employer. If a settlement is not achieved, the EEOC will decide whether to file a lawsuit against the employer.

Philadelphia Employment Lawyers at Sidkoff, Pincus & Green P.C. Help Workers Who Have Experienced Deaf Discrimination

Being deaf should not put you in a position where you are not qualified for employment. Our Philadelphia employment lawyers at Sidkoff, Pincus & Green P.C. can listen to your discrimination case and advise you on how to proceed. Call us at 215-574-0600 or complete our online form for an initial consultation. We are located in Philadelphia, and we serve clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

  Category: Discrimination, Employment
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