Employment Agreements

2 11, 2019

What It Means to Be an “At Will” Employee in Pennsylvania

By | 2019-11-02T02:00:54+00:00 November 2nd, 2019|Employment Agreements|0 Comments

Know When You Can and Can’t Be Fired Like many other states, Pennsylvania is an “at will” work state—where employers can terminate your services more or less any time, with or without cause. But does that mean, as an at-will employee, you have no rights or protections if your employer fires you? Not exactly. Here are a few things you should know about being an at-will employee. “At Will” isn’t just about employer rights It’s also about your rights. As an at-will employee, you can also quit your job at any time, for any reason or no reason at all. There’s no legal requirement to stay in a position you don’t want to be in. Your contract may protect you from at-will firing Your work contract may stipulate that your employer can only fire you for just cause, or it may lay out a period of employment with a specific end date. Those conditions take precedence over the at-will doctrine. Union employees and civil servants also frequently have stricter protections around when and how they can be fired.  You can’t be fired for retaliation or discriminatory purposes Legislation including the Civil Rights Act (Title VII), the Americans with Disabilities Act, [...]

19 10, 2019

Six Signs Your Employer May Be Misclassifying You as a Contract Worker

By | 2019-10-19T01:41:50+00:00 October 19th, 2019|Employment Agreements|0 Comments

And What to Do About It Employee, or contract worker? Which label your employer uses for you has big consequences—for them and you. As an independent contractor, you’re not entitled to the same rights and benefits as an employee, and your employer can shift more of their costs onto you. Being an independent contractor comes with benefits of its own, of course—such as having the freedom to set your own hours and terms, and working for several employers as opposed to one. Many people prefer this way of working. But it usually costs less for employers to categorize their workers as independent contractors rather than employees. And sometimes salaried employees get misclassified as contract workers. This deprives you of certain rights and benefits, and it’s also illegal. Here are a few signs your employer is misclassifying you as a contract worker—when you’re actually an employee. 1. Your employer determines your work hours, location, and how you do your job This varies depending on the worker. Some independent contractors—those in construction, for instance—have to show up at an employer’s location to do their jobs. However, most independent contractors have more control over when and how they work than an employee does. [...]

5 03, 2019

How Companies Benefit from Calling You an Independent Contractor

By | 2019-04-02T20:30:02+00:00 March 5th, 2019|Employment Agreements|0 Comments

Should You Have Employee Status? There are upsides to being an independent contractor. You have more freedom than a salaried employee—that is, when it comes to what you’re paid, when you work, and how you do your job, you’re the one who sets the terms.    But you’re also not entitled to certain benefits. Companies get a lot out of misclassifying employees as “independent contractors” while treating them like salaried employees. In some cases, this may be unlawful—and it can rob you of key workplace protections. Here’s an overview of reasons why employers deliberately misclassify their employees—and how to tell if they’re doing it to you. It Costs Them Less to Call You a Contractor Full-time employees don’t just pull in a salary. They may also get overtime and unemployment compensation, employer-sponsored health care, family and medical leave, paid time off, retirement plans, and other benefits. Those benefits are expensive—but if the employer calls you a contractor, they don’t have to pay for any of it. You take on the responsibility, expense, and risk of paying for your own time off, retirement, and healthcare. The company just has to pay your wage. They Don’t Have to Watch out for Your [...]

30 06, 2018

Should You Sign A Non-Disclosure Agreement?

By | 2018-06-30T13:54:49+00:00 June 30th, 2018|Employment Agreements|0 Comments

After an extensive job search, you are offered a position with a large corporation. Before accepting, you are presented with an employment agreement including a non-compete clause, a non-solicitation clause, and a non-disclosure clause. You are required to sign these documents as a condition of employment. Feeling you have no real choice, you sign the documents. Life goes on. You’ve been working for the same company for three years when you are offered a better position with a higher salary in the same field in the same state as your current job. You then remember all those documents you signed. What now? Did you sign away your right to change jobs? Non-compete, non-solicitation, and non-disclosure clauses Non-compete agreements typically offer employment on the condition that the employee, while employed for that employer, and for a specified time following employment, shall not work for or start a business that competes with the employer, in the same geographic area. The geographic area is usually defined in the non-compete clause. Non-solicitation agreements specify that the employee shall not solicit former coworkers to a new place of employment or business. Non-disclosure agreements typically require the employee to agree not to disclose trade secrets or [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

7 07, 2017

Can You Be Fired Over a Personality Conflict? What You Need to Know About At-Will Employment

By | 2017-07-07T17:20:49+00:00 July 7th, 2017|Employment Agreements|0 Comments

How at-will employment can be used to disguise discrimination Can you be fired simply because your boss doesn’t like you? While the concept may seem unfair, it’s not necessarily unlawful. Many states, including Pennsylvania and New Jersey, are at-will employment states. That means that unless a narrow category of exceptions applies, employers generally have the right to terminate employees at any time, for any reason – or even for no reason at all. Similarly, that also means that employees generally have the right to resign at any time, for any reason, or for no reason at all, with or without notice. However, it’s important to know that some employers may use the at-will doctrine to terminate employees for discriminatory reasons. Let’s take a look at who is and isn’t an at-will employee, and how some unscrupulous employers may attempt to misconstrue the concept to get away with unlawful behavior. At-Will Doesn’t Apply to Everyone There are some important exceptions to the at-will employment doctrine, including: Employees who are covered by a collective bargaining agreement. These workers are usually protected by special clauses that spell out permissible reasons and procedures for termination. Civil service workers. They may be covered by provisions [...]

28 10, 2016

What Exotic Dancers Can Teach You About Independent Contractors

By | 2017-07-29T08:41:59+00:00 October 28th, 2016|Employment Agreements|0 Comments

What the law says about employment status A group of exotic dancers may have some important lessons for anyone employed as an independent contractor. Six former dancers for a club chain in Maryland sued the club owners, claiming that they were misclassified as independent contractors when they should have been employees. The women prevailed in court and were awarded damages and back pay. Let’s take a look at how this case played out and then talk about what it means to other self-employed individuals. Who Was in Control? Dancers at the Fuego Exotic Dance Club and the Extasy Exotic Dance Club, both owned by Jackson Street Entertainment, say they had to pay to work. The women were required to submit an entrance fee in order to dance at the clubs. Then, because they were considered independent contractors, they did not receive an hourly wage. Rather, their entire compensation depended on tips. The club owners also had all the dancers sign a contract titled “Space/Lease Rental Agreement of Business Space,” which stated that the women were effectively leasing club space in order to provide entertainment. The women who worked at Fuego and Extasy felt the arrangement was unfair, so they sued [...]

7 09, 2016

Yes, You Can You be Fired for Your Political Social Media Posts (Sometimes)

By | 2017-07-29T08:41:59+00:00 September 7th, 2016|Employment Agreements, Hostile Work Environment, Workplace Discrimination, Wrongful Termination & Retaliation|0 Comments

What workers need to know about their rights to free speech online You can’t get on most forms of social media these days without seeing something about the upcoming election. But with so many discussions around hot-button issues such as race, religion, and equality, you may wonder if airing your opinions on social media could get you into trouble at work. Let’s take a look at some things you should know about how your online activities could impact your job. Freedom of Speech Many people have the mistaken belief that the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution affords a right to free speech that allows citizens to say whatever they like without fear of repercussions. That’s only partially true. While the First Amendment does contain some language protecting freedom of speech, the amendment stops short of protecting all language. For example, speech that incites lawless action is generally not protected. It’s also important to note that the First Amendment mainly pertains to the government’s role in free speech. Generally, the amendment is intended to protect people from being silenced, jailed, or otherwise punished for putting forth certain ideas. However, the right to free speech generally does not bar companies from [...]

19 07, 2016

Are You Entitled to Commission After Quitting or Getting Fired?

By | 2017-07-29T08:41:59+00:00 July 19th, 2016|Employment Agreements|0 Comments

What employees need to know about the Pennsylvania Wage Payment and Collection Law Leaving a job while waiting for a commission or bonus check can be an uncertain prospect. Although you believe you fairly earned the compensation, you probably suspect that it will be harder to collect that money once you’re out the door. And if you were fired, the prospect of getting your due compensation may seem even less likely. The question is, how are these situations handled under the law? Like most legal issues, the particular circumstances of the situation can have a big impact on the outcome. However, it’s important to be aware that you may not need to forfeit earned commissions, bonuses, or other types of wages just because you’re no longer with a company. Let’s take a look at what Pennsylvania workers should know about their rights under the Pennsylvania Wage Payment and Collection Law (WPCL). Not Just Money The WPCL offers protection to employees who are owed wages by their employers and former employers. Under the law, wages may include: Regular pay Commissions Bonuses Fringe benefits, such as earned vacation time or paid time off that has not been used Expense reimbursement In order [...]