Philadelphia Employment Law News

May 2011 Archives

City Council May Save DROP for Philadelphia City Employees

The Philadelphia City Council has decided to move toward retaining the city's Deferred Retirement Option Plan (DROP), to the benefit of city employees, and to themselves. According to, there was a great deal of pressure to eliminate the DROP benefit as a retirement perk for Philadelphia city employees, but the Council felt that a new bill making adjustments to the program would save more money than dealing with litigation by workers it said was sure to follow if the plan was dropped.

But what kind of employment benefit is DROP? According to a 2010 report by The Philadelphia Inquirer, DROP is a controversial program that Mayor Nutter called for the removal of back in August of last year. DROP allows a city employee enrolled in the program to pick a retirement date as far ahead of time as four years. Once the date is set, the employee's pension benefits are frozen and the city must start placing the employee's pension payments into an interest-bearing account. On retirement, the employee receives the money in the account and begins collecting his or her pension as well.

Union Workers Strike Against Red Cross Over Safety, Other Issues

There is a little bloodletting going on at Philadelphia Red Cross centers, but it is not the normal kind involving donations from Good Samaritans. Union workers from Local 5103 of the Health Professionals and Allied Employees began a strike against the Red Cross this week over disagreements to contract changes regarding on the job safety, pay, scheduling and staffing. According to The Philadelphia Inquirer, the union is holding strikes at locations across Philadelphia, in Willow Grove and in New Jersey.

Union reps insist that a strike on the Red Cross was not what they wanted, just a fair contact. The Inquirer reports that negotiations between the union and the Red Cross concluded on Monday, May 23, without any agreement as to contract terms. The strike began the next morning.

Four Mifflin Teachers File Lawsuit Alleging Racial Discrimination

According to the Philadelphia Daily News, racial tension has plagued Mifflin Elementary School in East Falls for several years. Now, four white teachers have filed a federal racial discrimination lawsuit that alleges former principal Charles Ray III, who is black, implied that they were not fit to teach black students and created a hostile work environment between 2008 and 2009.

The suit claims Ray had forced white staff members to read an article stating "white teachers do not have the ability to teach African-American students."

The teachers - Colleen Yarnell, Nicole Boyd, Marta Ciccimaro, and Debra McKibben Marenbach - also contended that Ray "repeatedly sabotaged" their relationships with colleagues and students while creating "an atmosphere of distrust and favoritism."

Internships Can Help Philadelphia College Grads Find A Job

Industry experts, employment data, and even college students themselves believe that this year's graduating class may be in a better position to find a job compared to those who have graduated before them, which may surprise many Philadelphia locals.

In February 2011, the Department of Labor reported the number of job openings was at its highest point since September 2008, according to The Times Leader.

Meanwhile, about 1.7 million college seniors are expected to enter the job market this spring, while a survey by National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), a Pennsylvania-based organization, revealed that employers plan on hiring almost 20 percent more college grads this year than in 2010.

Hiring Employees: Where To Look For The Best Job Candidate

Hiring employees for the first time may initially appear like a complicated task for a growing small business or company in Philadelphia. Looking for an exceptional worker who has the skill set you seek and a personality that fits your working environment typically takes some time and money during the hiring process, but where can an employer even go just to find a potential job candidate?

According to the Associated Press, Philadelphia employers who want to hire their first employee actually have several resources they can use to find a job applicant, such as:

Nicollette Sheridan's Wrongful Termination Case Goes To Trial

Some Philadelphia locals may have heard that "Desperate Housewives" star Nicollette Sheridan filed a lawsuit against ABC and the television show's executive producer and creator Marc Cherry last April, alleging that she was unfairly written out of the show.

According to The Seattle Times, Sheridan also claimed Cherry had started a fight with her in September 2008 and put her through sexual and other kinds of harassment. Although Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Elizabeth Allen White threw out those claims, she confirmed Sheridan had enough to continue her case for wrongful termination against the network and show.

McDonald's Hires 62,000 People After National Hiring Day

McDonald’s Corporation and its franchisees hired 62,000 individuals across the United States after its first national hiring day on April 19, 2011, said Illinois-based company Oak Brook. As some Philadelphia residents may have heard, the popular fast-food chain initially planned to hire only 50,000 new employees but ended up signing on 24 percent more people than anticipated.

Bloomberg reported McDonald’s received over one million applications during its employment event last month, although Danya Proud, the company’s spokesperson, did not reveal how many of the positions taken were part- or full-time.

Judge Puts Vincent Morris' Whistleblower Case On Hold

U.S. District Judge Michael M. Baylson gave a mixed ruling in a motion to dismiss Vincent Morris’ whistleblower case against Carl R. Greene, the former executive director of the Philadelphia Housing Authority. Morris, Greene’s former executive assistant, had asserted in his complaint that he was terminated from PHA for speaking out about the agency’s supposed illegalities.

But the Philadelphia Inquirer reported Judge Baylson pointed out some insufficiencies in the factual information presented in Morris’ complaint and suggested that his attorney Michael Pileggi revise it. Baylson then allowed Pileggo 21 days to file an amended complaint for his client.