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Am I Entitled to Unemployment in Pennsylvania if I Accept a Voluntary Lay-Off?

My Employer Said it Would Not Contest My Pennsylvania Unemployment Claim; What Does That Mean? I receive many phone calls from employees who accepted a voluntary lay-off ("reduction in force" or "RIF") with a promise from their employer that it "would not contest unemployment...

Good Luck Overcoming the At-Will Employment Presumption in PA

In Pennsylvania, as in most states, an employee without a contract for a specific term of employment is deemed an at-will employee. Subject to certain exceptions ( e.g. , discrimination, violations of public policy), an at-will employee can be terminated for any reason or no reason at all. How...

What is a Necessitous and Compelling Reason for Quitting my Job Under Pennsylvania Unemployment Law?

You May Be Eligible For Unemployment In PA If You Quit Your Job If you quit your job, you may be eligible for PA unemployment benefits if you had a necessitous and compelling reason to quit . Here are some of the most common examples of a necessitous and compelling reason to quit your job: ...

Fire for What!? - 6/5/2012

Welcome to a very special (and creepy) edition of Fired for What!? Ordinarily, I feature three great termination stories from around the web . . . but I'm willing to make an exception for this case. A Pennsylvania man has been arrested for using a hidden camera to spy on a co-worker . But wait, it...

Follow-the-Spouse to Unemployment Compensation

A recent Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania case, Pa. Gaming Control Bd. v. UCBR , 927 C.D. 2011, 2012 WL 1860807 (Pa. Commw. Ct. May 23, 2012), provided a nice overview of the "follow-the-spouse" doctrine in Pennsylvania unemployment compensation law. It also included a little bit of a twist...

Pennsylvania Adopts E-Discovery Rules

On June 6, 2012, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court issued an Order amending the Pennsylvania Rules of Civil Procedure to include e-discovery provisions . They also announced the changes via Twitter . Yup, they have their own Twitter account - one of the reasons my state's high court is cooler than yours...

PA bill will protect privacy of employee social media passwords

On June 18, 2012, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives introduced the Social Media Privacy Protection Act , which would protect the privacy of employee online user names and passwords. Which PA employers does this bill cover? All of them. More specifically, "a person engaged in a business...

Social Media Privacy Protection Act Pending in Pennsylvania

The Social Media Privacy Protection Act (available here) is new legislation pending in the Pennsylvania General Assembly. The proposed legislation is a response to the near-universal outrage over employers requesting Facebook and other social media passwords from job applicants . The Act is short and...

PA Judge Provides Social Media Discovery Rundown

In Trail v. Lesko (opinion here) , Allegheny County Judge Wettick provided a great resource for anyone researching social media discovery issues. Judge Wettick authored a 20-page opinion, running through nine Pennsylvania state court decisions addressing discovery of social media in litigation: [The...

Scranton, PA Becomes Employment Law Ground Zero

Scranton, PA is perhaps best known as the hometown of the fictional company Dunder Mifflin from The Office . It's actually a real town, and I have found that it has a certain charm. Recently, Scranton has drawn enormous media attention because its mayor cut all city employees' pay to minimum...

Top Ten Wage and Hour Developments in 2012 for Pennsylvania Employers

By Adam R. Long, Esq. For employers in Pennsylvania, 2012 was another eventful year in the world of wage and hour law. Even in the absence of new federal legislation, a number of noteworthy developments occurred at both the federal and state levels. These developments confirm that wage and hour...

Pennsylvania Unemployment Law: Taking Part-Time Work as an Independent Contractor

You are receiving $500 per week in Pennsylvania Unemployment Benefits and have been offered part-time work as an independent contractor, paying you $200 per week. You understand that if you earn 40% or less of your weekly Unemployment Benefit rate doing part-time work, your Unemployment Benefits...

Good News/Bad News for Wrongful Termination - COTW # 135

Another day, another court decision striking down an employee's attempt to bring a "wrongful termination" claim. The Pennsylvania Superior Court case is Mikhail v. Penn. Org. for Women in Early Recovery , 2013 Pa. Super. LEXIS 82 (slated for publication in A.3d) [ an enhanced version...

Overly Broad Non-Compete Agreement in Pennsylvania?

Pennsylvania Courts Almost Never Throw Out Non-Compete Agreements Because They Are Overbroad Many clients have come to me convinced that their non-compete agreement is unenforceable because it is for too many years, or to too broad a geographic area. Usually, they got that notion from someone...

Are Payroll Cards Illegal in Pennsylvania?

Are payroll cards illegal in Pennsylvania? Beats me. But we might find out soon. A former McDonald's employee is suing the franchisee for paying her through a debit card. Natalie Gunshannon, a single mother, 27, said she and other workers were paid through a JPMorgan Chase Payroll Card...

New PA Bill Would Ban Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity Discrimination

Twenty-one states and the District of Columbia have laws banning workplace discrimination in the private sector on the basis of sexual orientation. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, which currently bans discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity or expression in public employment...

It’s Time to End Sexual Orientation & Gender Identity Discrimination

There is currently legislation pending in both the Ohio House [ H.B. 163 ] and Ohio Senate [ S.B. 125 ] that would include “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” to the list of classes from which employees are protected from discrimination by their employers. Notably, the...

New Jersey Recognizes Same Sex Marriages - Why it Matters for Pennsylvania Employers

On Monday, New Jersey became the fourteenth state to allow same sex marriages .A trial court ordered that such marriages would begin on Monday. Governor Christie appealed to the state Supreme Court, but after a an adverse preliminary ruling he saw the writing on the wall. He withdrew his appeal. Why...

An Enforceable PA Noncompete Without Consideration? Not on the Superior Court's Watch!

A couple of years ago, I blogged about a legal theory in a Legal Intelligencer article that would create enforceable noncompetes without any consideration. The premise was pretty simple, Pennsylvania has a law called the Uniform Written Obligations Act (UWOA) that generally provides that a written contract...

PA Federal Courts Analyze PHRA Disability Claims Under Pre-ADAAA Standards

by Julie Arbore The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania ruled in Riley v. St. Mary’s Medical Center that, while the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 (“ADAAA”) altered the federal standard for proving a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act...

Do I Need a Lawyer to Help Appeal if My Pennsylvania Unemployment Claim Has Been Denied?

If You Receive a Notice of Determination Saying You Are Ineligible for Unemployment Benefits in Pennsylvania, You Must Appeal it Within 15 Days As I discuss in my Answers to FAQs re: Unemployment in Pennsylvania , if the Service Center sends you a Notice of Determination ("NoD") denying...

Collateral Estoppel and Unemployment Compensation Hearings

In the law, we have this concept called "collateral estoppel." The gist of it is that after a party litigates and loses on an issue once, the party may not litigate that issue again (sometimes called "issue preclusion"). It sounds simple, but it can get surprisingly complicated. ...