Philadelphia Employment Law News

January 2011 Archives

Temple University Seeks To Hire More Police And Security Officers

A Temple University spokesperson Ray Betzner announced that the school has decided to hire more university police and security officers as concerns about criminal activity occurring off-campus intensify. The Philadelphia Daily News reported Temple seeks to hire 10 to 12 new police officers and 15 to 18 other security officers.

"I think it's a good idea," said Temple University student Alexandra Foster. "I'm glad they're taking steps to protect people who are just trying to get their education and get a good job."

Philadelphia Cop's New Job Threatened by Past Lawsuit

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We all know what you do in one job can carry over to your next and cause you trouble, or even keep you from getting that new position. In Philadelphia, Chief Inspector William Colarulo is getting a hard lesson in the past affecting his employment future. According to the Philadelphia Daily News, Colarulo is a key candidate for a the "coveted" position of Radnor Township's police superintendent, but past issues are coming back to haunt him.

A lawsuit that began in 1998 has been brought to the attention of Radnor's Board of Commissioners, reports the Daily News. The suit was brought by several former Philly cops, who were white, after they claimed they were retaliated against when they complained about the treatment of fellow officers, who were black. At the time of the evemts the suit was based on, Colarulo was captain of the district. A federal jury awarded the three plaintiffs $10 million. A year later, a federal judge reduced the award to $900,000.

Sup. Ct. Rules Eric Thompson Protected From Employer Retaliation

Philadelphia employment lawyers may be talking about the discrimination complaint filed by Eric Thomson against his employer, North American Stainless. Thomson was terminated from the company after his fiancée Miriam Regalado, who also worked at North American, filed a sex discrimination complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

Thomson claimed he should have been protected under retaliation provisions that covered employees who have charged, opposed, or testified about discrimination, according to the ABA Journal. But Cincinnati's U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals initially ruled that Thompson could not be protected by federal discrimination law since he neither made the complaint nor took part in any other protected activity.

Lisa Harrison Claimed She Was Fired Because She Was Obese

Some Philadelphians may have heard about 48-year-old Lisa Harrison, who was fired from a Terrytown drug treatment center for women in Louisiana in 2007 after having been employed for almost nine years. Harrison claimed her termination from the Family House of Louisiana resulted from discrimination because she was overweight, so she filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

The Times-Picayune reported Harrison passed away in 2009 due to medical complications, but the EEOC decided to continue with her federal lawsuit even after her death. The EEOC accused Family House, which is connected to the Philadelphia-based nonprofit group Resources for Human Development (RHD), of violating the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by terminating Harrison for being obese.

Camden Police Department Hit Hard By Recent Layoffs

The $26.5 million budget deficit in Camden has led the city to lay off 163 officers among the 202 in the police department, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. The layoffs affected the youngest officers the most as they left the force first on account of union rules. The remaining law enforcement officials were those hired before 1999.

With fewer resources, Police Chief Scott Thomson said the department has been working on changing “the way we’re doing business” and even modified its business model. There are fewer officers on the streets during the day, but Thomson said his night patrols have stayed strong. Still, the Fraternal Order of Police requested a temporary restraining order to freeze the layoffs.

Whistleblower Lawsuits Against Pharma Co's In Philadelphia

Back in 2004, three Schering-Plough Corp. employees received a settlement of $345 million in a whistleblower lawsuit after claiming that the company had committed fraud. The workers alleged Schering had been charging the government too much for Claritin, the medicine for allergies.

The suit against Schering was the first huge case brought against the pharmaceutical industry under whistleblower laws, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer. A whistleblower is an employee who reports a violation made by an employer, and whistleblower laws protect workers from any retaliation for making a complaint.

Judge Grants Fox29 With A Stay In "N" Word Case

Tom Burlington’s wrongful termination lawsuit against Fox29 has been temporarily put on hold pending a decision on another case. The Fox suit had been expected to go to trial next week. The Philadelphia Inquirer reported the Philadelphia news station filed a motion for a stay, asking to wait for the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on another workplace-related case known as Staub v. Proctor Hospital.

U.S. District Judge R. Barclay Surrick approved Fox29’s motion and said he also wanted to wait on the Supreme Court’s ruling. The case included a legal theory that Surrick referred to at the time he ruled that Burlington’s suit may lead to a trial.

Race Discrimination Suit Against Fox29 May Go To Trial

The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that a discrimination lawsuit against Fox29 may go to trial, and a federal jury will have to decide if it is okay for an African American individual, but not a white person, to use the "n" word in the workplace.

Former Fox29 reporter-anchor Tom Burlington sued the news station after claiming he was a victim of racial discrimination. He was fired from Fox29 after using the "n" word at a staff meeting and alleged that the station held a double standard. He asserted that he was "discriminated against because of his race" when at least two African-American employees were not punished after having also used the "n" word while at work.

Brett Favre Faces Sexual Harassment Suit

Many Philadelphians may be talking about the new sexual harassment lawsuit two former New York Jets massage therapists have filed against Minnesota Vikings quarterback Brett Favre. According to CBS News, Christina Scavo and Shannon O'Toole claimed Favre wanted Scavo and an unnamed third party to have group sex with him.

Christina Scavo alleged that Favre sent her text messages asking if she and another woman "want to get together" since he was "all alone."

"Kinda lonely tonight, I guess I have bad intentions," the next text message read from Favre.

John Tatum Files Whistleblower Lawsuit Against PHA

Former Philadelphia Housing Authority general manager John Tatum said he was unjustly terminated in 2009 after he spoke up about the theft, fraud, and waste at PHA. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, Tatum filed a whistleblower lawsuit against the PHA in federal court. He claimed the agency violated his First Amendment rights and seeks $200,000 in damages.

John Tatum supervised over 400 workers at the agency and was initially charged with maintaining thousands of freestanding PHA homes. He suspected some of the workers were stealing building materials with the use of PHA's Home Depot credit cards, which allegedly began in December 2007. Tatum reported his suspicions to his supervisors and was demoted soon thereafter.