Pennsylvania News & Analysis

  • 3rd Circuit upholds termination for instruction on Holocaust denial theories

    On February 22, the 3rd Circuit (whose rulings apply to all Delaware, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania employers) affirmed the dismissal of discrimination, hostile work environment, and wrongful termination claims filed by a former nontenured high-school history teacher and self-proclaimed nonpracticing Muslim of Egyptian descent. The appeals court upheld the district court's dismissal of the former employee's claims under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD) and § 1981 of the Civil Rights Act of 1866, finding he failed to allege sufficient facts. The court further dismissed his claims for First Amendment violations and defamation.

  • Employees' COVID-19-related complaints in New Jersey: What we are seeing

    The pandemic brought pandemonium to many New Jersey workplaces. With the second largest outbreak in the country (behind only New York) and being the most densely populated state, New Jersey was hit particularly hard by the pandemic, giving rise to a number of employee lawsuits.

  • When employee refuses to 'play ball': NJ court clarifies retaliation claim hurdles

    An emergency medical technician (EMT) claims his employer retaliated against him in connection with the defense of a coworkers' sexual harassment lawsuit. Significantly, as a prerequisite to bringing his own retaliation case, he doesn't have to show the coworker had a good-faith basis for filing her suit, the New Jersey Appellate Division recently ruled.

  • Sleepless nights ahead for Walmart's overnight assistant store managers

    The U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey recently considered a request for class certification from a group of employees who were allegedly misclassified as exempt executive and administrative employees. The court denied the request, holding that significant differences in their actual duties prevented their exemption status from being determined on a classwide basis.

  • Disabled employees not immune to effects of negative job performance

    A terminated employee recently failed to establish a prima facie (or minimally sufficient) case for disability discrimination under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD), according to the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey. The court granted the employer's request for summary judgment (dismissal without a trial) because it said the employee had been unable to show a genuine factual dispute existed to suggest he had been fired because of his disability.

  • Looking ahead after pandemic: Employers likely to see enduring change

    What's the world of work going to look like in the weeks and months ahead? Some workplaces in some parts of the country will be farther along the road to recovery than others, but few will go back to being just like they were before words like coronavirus, pandemic, and COVID-19 became all-consuming thoughts. The months of business shutdowns, remote work, and uncertainty have changed employee attitudes and employer practices—changes that are important for management to understand as employers move forward.

  • Racial tension coupled with COVID anxiety challenging workplaces in new ways

    It has been a long and tragic spring and summer for employers as well as society at large. The coronavirus pandemic sent legions of workers to the unemployment rolls, and others had to learn how to do their jobs remotely—all while dealing with the threat of an all-too-often deadly disease. Then, on May 25, came news of another black person dying in police custody, the latest in a string of such deaths. The viral video of George Floyd handcuffed on the ground with a white officer's knee on his neck for nearly nine minutes sparked outrage that erupted in massive protests across the country and abroad. Inequality and prejudice—not new issues in the workplace—came to the forefront, leaving many employers wondering what actions they should take.

  • Q - A: Taking FMLA leave after the birth of a child

    Q Does a new father have to start Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave the day his child is born, or can he wait three months until after the mother returns to work and then take his leave?

  • Title VII bars LGBTQ bias, Supreme Court finds

    The ban on sex discrimination in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 covers employment discrimination based on sexual orientation or transgender identity, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in an unexpected 6-3 decision on June 15, 2020.

  • 'Similarly situated' employees can collectively sue for unpaid wages

    The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires employers to pay minimum wage as well as overtime to eligible employees who work in excess of 40 hours per week. Employees who are denied those rights can sue their employers for unpaid wages, not only on behalf of themselves but also on behalf of other "similarly situated" employees. This is called a collective action.