Philadelphia Employment Law News

March 2011 Archives

Criminal Records May Prevent Jobseekers From Finding A Job

Yahoo! News reported that about one in four adults, or 65 million people across the country, has a criminal record, which can often make it difficult for those who are also unemployed to find a job, as many Philadelphia residents can imagine.

A recent report from the National Employment Law Center showed that many employers, including large companies such as Domino's Pizza or Bank of America, will announce job openings that often exclude applicants with a criminal record. One employment ad from Bank of America, for instance, states "candidates must be able to pass: background check (no felonies or misdemeanors)."

Will Mark Holt Get His Job Back At the Philadelphia Revenue Dept.?

It would make sense that the Philadelphia Revenue Department return Mark Holt’s former job given that he was not found guilty for having committed any criminal offense in a recent bribe case. However, if he was still denied from returning to work, could Holt have a potential case for wrongful termination?

Holt, who had been a Revenue Department supervisor for almost 20 years, was fired from his job last year after he was charged with allegedly accepting nearly $5,000 in bribes. He was accused of receiving stolen property, theft by deception-false impression, and obstructing administration of law or other governmental function, according to the Philadelphia Daily News.

Will Wal-Mart Sex Discrimination Suit Maintain Class Action Status?

Many Philadelphia locals may have been following the lawsuit against Wal-Mart Stores Inc., which a number of employment attorneys have considered as one of the largest sex discrimination and class action suits to have graced the courts system. According to Reuters, the lawsuit has gone on for almost 10 years as female Wal-Mart employees seek billions of dollars in damages from the retailer.

The lawsuit alleges that Wal-Mart has discriminated against its female workers by providing them with fewer opportunities for promotions and paying them less than their male coworkers. The issue first surfaced after Betty Dukes, an employee from a store in Pittsburg, California, and five other women filed a suit in San Francisco's federal court in June 2001.

Could Teacher Robert Schanne Have A Case For Wrongful Termination?

Robert Schanne, a former physics teacher in Lower Merion, was fired this past January after being accused of having an inappropriate relationship with a former student, Jenna Addis. According to the Philadelphia Daily News, Addis alleged last December that she began "dating" Schanne when she was 18-years-old and a senior at Lower Merion.

Schanne did not deny that he had an "occasional intimate relationship" with Addis, who is now 26, but he contended that it had occurred "well after" she was a student. He said their relationship actually started in 2004, the year after she graduated high school, and ended last year.

Laura Leibert's Sexual Harassment Complaint Gets Dismissed

U.S. District Court Judge Berle M. Schiller has recently thrown out the complaint of Laura Hesson Leibert, one of the women who accused former Philadelphia Housing Authority executive director Carl R. Greene of sexual harassment. Leibert had also claimed that Greene, 53, retaliated against her after she reported the issue.

Clifford Haines, Greene’s lawyer, said he had anticipated the dismissal of the complaint. “We are not surprised by the result given the paucity of legal or factual support for the claims,” said Haines. But the Philadelphia Inquirer reported that Leibert’s attorney, Michael Pileggi, said it remained unclear whether his client would appeal the judge’s decision.

Police Officers Fired For Allegedly Cheating On Certification Tests

Fifteen law enforcement officers from Delaware and Chester counties were removed from service after a two-year investigation was conducted to determine whether allegations that municipal police officers were cheating on routine recertification exams were true.

The issue arose after officers from one police department in Chester County said answers were distributed through email prior to a multiple choice, 10-question recertification exam taken in February 2009. But according to the Philadelphia Inquirer, some police chiefs stood by their officers and argued that the state police investigation actually lacked enough evidence.

Philadelphia Businesses Fined For Hiring Illegal Immigrant Workers

United States Attorney Zane David Memeger said several companies in the Philadelphia-area were caught employing illegal immigrant workers. The Daily Local News reported Westtown local Michael T. Glah, the owner of International Personnel Resources Inc. (IPR) in West Chester, was charged with transporting over 433 illegal aliens into the city from January 2003, until December 2008.

Glah, who was discovered dead at home last August, also allegedly applied for more temporary work visas than his clients needed and keep all the documents that were approved. Meanwhile, IPR would charter buses that traveled to and from Mexico and West Chester so that the company could offer some business to illegal workers.

What Legal Risks Do Employers Face Looking Up Applicants Online?

While some Philadelphians may be accustomed to using social media to look or apply for jobs online, many jobseekers may be less familiar with how an employer may utilize the same platforms to evaluate an applicant before they come in for an interview.

According to Fortune Magazine, many employers may use social networking websites, such as Facebook and LinkedIn, to get a clearer sense of what a prospective employee might be like. A recent poll by ExecuNet, an executive career site, revealed that almost 77 percent of hiring managers use social media to take a closer look at job candidates.

So although the hiring practice is becoming more common, it also raises the following question: what legal risks do employers face when searching for additional information about an applicant online?

The Philadelphia City Council committee has approved a bill that would require employers to provide paid sick leave to their employees, reported the Philadelphia Inquirer. However, the Nutter administration opposed the legislation and argued that it would only add more costs for businesses and potentially increase unemployment in the city, which is almost 11 percent.

Under the paid sick leave bill, workers at businesses that have 11 or more employees could earn up to 9 pay sick days each year that they could use to take care of their family or their own personal business. Those that work at businesses with 10 or fewer employees would earn only 5 days of sick leave a year.

Age Discrimination: Tips For Older Jobseekers in Philadelphia

Many older jobseekers may have a harder time locking down a job because some employers will prefer a younger applicant instead of them, reports Forbes. Even though federal age discrimination laws are designed to protect older workers, attempting to prove that you were discriminated against because of your age is still a difficult task.

In most discrimination lawsuits, the burden of proof is placed on the employer once an employee has proved that there was reason to believe an employment decision was made for unjust reasons. But for age discrimination cases, a 2009 Supreme Court decision ruled that a worker has to prove that age was a key factor even if there is evidence that supports the claim.