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So far Murphy Law has created 189 blog entries.
15 06, 2018

Gig Workers Have Rights Too

By | 2018-06-15T14:16:12+00:00 June 15th, 2018|Employment Agreements, Overtime Class Actions, Wage Theft & Unpaid Wages|0 Comments

Gig workers and independent contractor status Many workers in the gig economy sign an acknowledgement that the worker is an independent contractor and not an employee. However, sometimes that is not the end of the story. For one thing, courts are increasingly evaluating whether the company exercises sufficient control over the worker’s everyday tasks that he or she should in fact be classified as an employee. This classification is crucial as workers who are classified as independent contractors are not entitled to the guarantees and protections of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) or other employment statutes. This affects the worker’s entitlement to minimum wage and overtime compensation, unemployment and disability insurance, family leave, workers’ compensation, and sick leave. These statutes only apply to workers who are classified as employees. Further, independent contractors are generally not entitled to employer-sponsored benefits, including health insurance, retirement plans, and paid time off. As the gig economy evolves, so does the law On June 7, 2018, the U.S. Department of Labor issued a news release reporting that 3.8 percent of U.S. workers, that is 5.9 million individuals, held contingent jobs as of May 2017. With gig workers numbering in the millions, the classification of [...]

7 06, 2018

Should Job Applicants And Employees Answer Employers’ Disability-Related Questions?

By | 2018-06-07T20:57:46+00:00 June 7th, 2018|Americans with Disabilities Act Claims|0 Comments

You arrive at a job interview and when greeting your potential employer, he notices your tinted glasses and asks, “Do you have a problem with your vision?” You hesitate to answer but he persists, asking if you would need any accommodations to continue the interview or perform the job. You tell him that your tinted glasses are not for a vision problem but rather due to light sensitivity. He begins to ask more questions about whether this would affect your ability to work, how much work time you lost at your last job, and whether you take any prescription medications. You hesitate to answer but feel intimidated and believe you won’t be offered the job if you don’t respond. After leaving the interview, you wonder if the employer was entitled to ask you such questions. One way that the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) protects the rights of job applicants and employees is by limiting disability-related questions during the job application process and employment. This is to prevent employers from discriminating against qualified applicants and employees who have a disability. Disability-related inquiries include direct or indirect questions relating to an applicant’s or employee’s actual or perceived disability as well as [...]

1 06, 2018

Be Careful What You Wish For – How Collective Action Waivers May Hurt Employers

By | 2018-06-01T14:50:10+00:00 June 1st, 2018|Employment Agreements, Overtime Class Actions, Wage Theft & Unpaid Wages|0 Comments

What is a collective action? A collective action is a type of class action that is brought by employees to assert their rights under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), most commonly actions alleging wage and hour claims. By utilizing the collective action process, employees can join together to assert individual claims in one action, saving time and money. These types of claims often assert that employees are misclassified and therefore entitled to overtime, or have not been paid for all the time worked, travel time, or meal breaks. Supreme Court upholds collective action waivers in arbitration agreements The Supreme Court of the United States recently held that collective action waivers in employee/employer arbitration agreements are enforceable. These types of waivers are often signed by employees as a condition of accepting a job. In a 5/4 decision, the Supreme Court found that class action waivers do not violate employees’ right to “protected concerted activity” under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). The NLRA protects employees’ right to communicate with each other and join together to take concerted action to improve working conditions and participate in union-related activities. The Court held that class actions do not constitute concerted activity under the [...]

24 05, 2018

Are You Entitled To a Reasonable Accommodation?

By | 2018-05-24T14:18:19+00:00 May 24th, 2018|Americans with Disabilities Act Claims|0 Comments

What is a reasonable accommodation? A reasonable accommodation means a change to the job or working environment that enables an employee with a disability to perform the essential functions of the job, or that enables an applicant with a disability to apply for a job. To be eligible for a reasonable accommodation under the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), an employee must be qualified for the job and have a disability caused by a medical condition that is covered by the statute. The ADA does not specify the medical conditions that qualify as disabilities under the statute. Instead, the statute requires that an employee must have a physical or mental condition that substantially limits a major life activity, a history of disability, or be regarded by the employer as having a disability. What types of medical conditions qualify for a reasonable accommodation? Some employees have medical conditions that require an employer to provide well-established reasonable accommodations such as making the workplace accessible or providing alternate communication methods or devices for visually-impaired or hearing-impaired applicants and employees. However, there are many other medical conditions that may be the basis for a reasonable accommodation. It is important to note that some people [...]

18 05, 2018

Are You Entitled To Take Family Leave?

By | 2018-05-18T01:18:59+00:00 May 18th, 2018|Family and Medical Leave Act Claims|0 Comments

Under What Circumstances Can You Apply For Family Leave? Pursuant to the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), an eligible employee working for a covered employer is entitled to unpaid leave in specified situations, including the birth of a child and to care for the newborn and following placement of a child for adoption or foster care. An employee can also request family leave if the employee has a serious health condition or is needed to care for a child, spouse, parent, or other qualifying family member who has a serious health condition, rendering the employee or family unable to care for his or her own basic needs. For example, an employee may request leave: • to provide care for a qualifying family member who is undergoing treatment for a serious health condition such as cancer or heart attack, or who requires care following surgery; • to provide transportation to and from medical appointments for a qualifying family member; • to provide psychological comfort and reassurance to a qualifying family member who has a serious health condition; • to provide respite or substitute care for others who are caring for the employee’s parent, spouse, or child who has a serious [...]

10 05, 2018

Can You Be Fired “At-Will” in Pennsylvania?

By | 2018-05-10T18:21:49+00:00 May 10th, 2018|Americans with Disabilities Act Claims, Wrongful Termination & Retaliation|0 Comments

In most states, including Pennsylvania, employment is “at-will.” In general, an employer can fire an employee from his or her job at any time and for any reason without recourse by the employee. On the other end of the relationship, an employee can also quit his or her job at any time for any reason without recourse by the employer. There are a few important exceptions to the at-will doctrine. An employer cannot fire an employee for discriminatory or retaliatory reasons. Employees are protected from such actions by employment discrimination statutes and other laws. Also, an employer cannot fire an employee if doing so violates the terms of an employment contract or other contract that sets the terms of the employment relationship. An employment contract can alter the at-will doctrine An employer and employee may enter into a contract that provides conditions of employment that supersede the at-will doctrine. For example, an employment contract can provide that the employee may only be fired for cause or specify the duration of employment. Another example of a contract that alters the at-will doctrine is a collective bargaining agreement that covers union employees and spells out the specific circumstances under which an employee [...]

4 05, 2018

Interference With Disability Rights Under The ADA

By | 2018-05-04T13:31:04+00:00 May 4th, 2018|Americans with Disabilities Act Claims|0 Comments

What is the difference between retaliation and interference with disability rights? In addition to prohibiting employers from “retaliating” against an employee for asserting his or her disability rights, the Americans With Disability Act (ADA) includes a provision prohibiting employers from “interfering” with an employee’s disability rights. Retaliation occurs when an employer takes “adverse action” against an employee with a disability for exercising rights that are protected under the ADA. Retaliation includes actions such as firing, demoting, providing a negative performance review, transferring the employee or cutting the employees’ hours. The interference provision prohibits conduct that is reasonably likely to interfere with statutorily protected or granted ADA rights. Interference includes coercion, threats, or intimidation by an employer against an employee who expresses an intent or attempts to assert his or her rights under the ADA. The interference provision protects employees from being deterred from asserting their disability rights. While similar to retaliation, the interference provision is broader, encompassing activity that may not rise to the level of the adverse action required to establish retaliation. An employer’s threats or coercion do not need to be carried out in order to violate the ADA’s interference provision. Nor do the threats need to actually [...]

27 04, 2018

Can You Be Fired For Filing A Workers’ Compensation Claim?

By | 2018-04-27T14:03:05+00:00 April 27th, 2018|Workers Compensation Retaliation|0 Comments

What is workers’ compensation? Workers' compensation provides no-fault insurance benefits to employees who suffer injuries or illnesses as a result of job-related incidents. Under the workers’ compensation system, employees or their dependents are entitled to medical treatment as well as compensation for lost wages arising from a work-related injury, illness, or death. Workers are covered for injuries or diseases that are caused or aggravated by job-related tasks, regardless of any pre-existing physical condition - or fault. Lost wages are paid to an injured worker during any period of rehabilitation and if permanent disability results from a work-related injury. Most employers in New Jersey and Pennsylvania are mandated by law to provide workers' compensation coverage to employees. Under workers’ compensation systems, when a worker is injured on the job and files for workers’ compensation benefits, the worker is precluded from bringing a lawsuit against his or her employer for those injuries. That balance was created by law for the benefit of both employer and employee -- employees should not hesitate to assert their workers’ compensation rights. If a worker is discouraged from filing a claim or otherwise declines to do so, the employer receives all the benefit of the statutory protections [...]

19 04, 2018

Can You Be Fired For Talking About Your Job On Social Media?

By | 2018-04-24T16:35:39+00:00 April 19th, 2018|National Labor Relations Act Claims, Wrongful Termination & Retaliation|0 Comments

Federal Law Protects Employees’ Right to Communicate The right of employees to communicate with other employees is protected by the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). The NLRA protects an employee’s right to engage in union activity or to join with one or more co-workers to attempt to improve working conditions. The law provides the right to discuss work issues and share information about pay, benefits, and working conditions with co-workers or with a union. The NLRA governs relationships between labor unions and employers and prohibits employers from interfering with labor organization rights. The NLRA also protects individual employees, whether or not those employees belong to a union. For example, if you believe that you aren’t being paid the same as other employees who are performing similar work, the NLRA provides the right to speak to your coworkers to determine if you have a valid complaint. The right of an employee to communicate with other employees to improve the terms and conditions of their employment is known as “protected concerted activity.” In general, protected concerted activity requires two or more employees working together to improve working conditions, pay, benefits, or other work-related issues. A single employee may engage in protected concerted [...]

12 04, 2018

Sexual Harassment In The Workplace

By | 2018-04-12T14:04:56+00:00 April 12th, 2018|Hostile Work Environment, Sexual Harassment, Uncategorized|0 Comments

What is Sexual Harassment? Sexual harassment involves unwelcome offensive sexual advances, communication, or conduct in the workplace. Sexual harassment violates the law. According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination that violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. There are two types of situations where sexual harassment in the workplace becomes actionable – when it creates a hostile work environment and when a “quid pro quo” arrangement arises due to the sexual advances of a supervisor or other person in a position of power over the employee. What is hostile work environment sexual harassment? Hostile work environment sexual harassment involves speech or conduct that is severe enough to result in an intimidating or demeaning workplace, in turn affecting an employee’s job in a negative way. Hostile work environment sexual harassment can result from communication or conduct on the part of a supervisor, co-worker, subordinate, or non-employee (such as a customer or client). A victim of sexual harassment can be the employee to whom the conduct or communication is directed or another person who is impacted by the offensive communication or conduct. For example, inappropriate and unwelcome touching, as well [...]