Philadelphia Employment Law News

February 2011 Archives

State Senate Democrats Plan To Create More New Jobs In PA

Philadelphia job seekers might be able to look forward to more potential job opportunities after Pennsylvania State Senate Democrats introduced a plan to create more jobs and boost the state's economy at a Capitol news conference.

Lawmakers said the plan includes proposals to strengthen various job-training programs and raise the job-creation tax credit for employers throughout the state, reported the Philadelphia Inquirer. The plan also seeks to stimulate financing for small businesses and modify Pennsylvania's corporate tax laws.

Jobseekers May Want To Consider Finding Contract Work

Many employers are hiring more temporary or contract employees as the economy gradually starts to gain more momentum. This helps reduce company costs since most businesses do not offer benefits to temporary workers, according to AZ Central.

But what does this mean for jobseekers in Philadelphia who are looking for permanent employment? Are contract jobs the only option?

No, considering only 1.5 percent of those in the workforce are recognized as contingent or temporary employees, says Tim Ozier, the MRINetwork director of contract staffing in Philadelphia. Although he expects the number of contract employees to eventually increase to 5 percent, he does not expect them to dominate the workplace.

What It Means To Be A Female Firefighter In Camden

In 2001, the Camden Fire Department hired Jennifer Barrientos and Renee Muhammad as its first female firefighters after 134 years of strictly having men work in the field. The department later hired two more women, Lydia Chapman and Shondra Harris, in 2004.

But since last month's layoffs, 65 of the department's 150 firefighters have been dismissed because of the county's budget deficit. Barrientos is now the only woman among the four that remains on the job, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Are Employers Rejecting Applicants Who Are Unemployed?

Worker advocates recently told the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) that employers have been screening out jobless applicants during the hiring process, reported Bloomberg. While some companies do not have a specific policy set to single out unemployed individuals, advocates say this kind of hiring practice could potentially lead to discrimination against women and minorities.

Some employers might informally use an applicant’s employment status as a reason to hire or not hire an applicant, but no information currently exists revealing the extent of the practice. Media reports showed that several employers have prevented jobless applicants from being considered for a position, which has led the EEOC to start evaluating this hiring practice.

The Hiring Process: Disclosing Sensitive Information Online

Even though job hunters in Philadelphia are encouraged to hand their resumes to an actual person, a number of corporations will require those seeking employment to complete an online application. CTW Features reported companies might even ask applicants to provide sensitive information, like social security numbers and a driver's license number in an online application.

Some may view the practice as invasive and needless if required at such an early stage of the hiring process. And even if most jobseekers are prepared to show the documentation needed to prove they are qualified to work in the U.S., some of them may not be accustomed to sharing that kind of information if they have not been offered the job.

So then why do companies ask for such sensitive data in an online application?

AMR Settles Dawnmarie Souza's Wrongful Termination Lawsuit

Many Philadelphians may have heard about wrongful termination case involving Dawnmarie Souza, who claimed she was unlawfully fired from her job at an ambulance company in December 2009 and denied union representation. She was terminated after posting negative comments about her supervisor on her Facebook page.

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) filed a complaint against the American Medical Response of Connecticut in October 2010. The board contended that Souza was "engaged in concerted activities with other employees" when she criticized and complained about her supervisor on Facebook.

Now,according to CNET News, AMRdecided to settle the suit this month for an unspecified amount of money.

Same-sex Employment Benefits Proposed For Philadelphia City Workers

City council member Blondell Reynolds Brown recently proposed a measure that seeks to provide same-sex partners of Philadelphia city contractors with the same employment benefits offered to the spouses of married city employees.

According to CBS Philly, an executive order issued by former mayor Ed Rendell allowed same-sex partners of city employees to be eligible for health benefits. But under Brown's measure, the partners of employees who work at companies with city contracts valued at $250,000 or more would be qualified to receive more work benefits in Philadelphia.

EEOC Accuses Amtrak Of Gender Discrimination And Retaliation

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has sued Amtrak for gender bias, claiming the company discriminated against Sheila Davidson, a female employee, when it came to wages and work assignments.

The EEOC also accused Amtrak of retaliating against Davidson, who was the human resources manager in Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station, when she complained about the issue. According to Reuters, the lawsuit was filed in Philadelphia U.S. District Court and accused Amtrak of engaging “in a continuous practice of suppressing” Davidson’s salary since 2001.

How To Rejoin The Workforce After A Serious Illness

Philadelphia workers who suffer chronic illnesses may sometimes find themselves forced to leave a job or use up their savings after having exhausted all their paid sick days and unpaid medical leave. Not only do these workers immediately have to find a new job, but they are also left with the burden of having to explain the likely employment gaps resulting from their illness.

But how can Philadelphia job seekers explain these employment gaps without appearing too sickly or sharing private information?