Employment Lawyer Serving Philadelphia and Surrounding AreasServing Clients Throughout Philadelphia, Its Surrounding Counties and Beyond
What is employment law? Many terms describe what we do in our employment law practice, including Philadelphia employment discrimination lawyer, as well as employment law attorney, unpaid overtime lawyer, an attorney who can negotiate a severance agreement, or a lawyer who can represent a client who may be subject to a non-compete agreement or a restrictive covenant. The bottom line is that if you are looking for an experienced, practical attorney who can help an employee, Abramson Employment Law is for you. Our law firm’s leader, Andrew Abramson, is an experienced employment attorney who represents clients in matters in Philadelphia, its surrounding Counties, and beyond.Employment Law
Employment law is a broad field of law that includes federal, state, and local laws that govern how employers must behave toward employees. It includes employment discrimination, sexual harassment, employment contracts, wage and hour laws, whistleblower protection, and other issues. Employers have numerous legal obligations to their workers, including obligations not to discriminate, not to pay them below minimum wage, and not to retaliate against them if they report misconduct to a government agency. Employers that violate their obligations may be held accountable through lawsuits brought under these various laws.
Federal and state laws prohibit employment discrimination in Pennsylvania. Federal anti-discrimination laws apply to Pennsylvania employers with at least 15 employees in most cases. The Pennsylvania Human Relations Act prohibits discrimination based on color, race, religion, creed, ancestry, age of at least 40, national origin, sex, and disability or association with a disabled person. It covers workplaces with at least four employees. Employment discrimination occurs when an employer takes an adverse step against a job applicant or employee due to his or her membership in a protected class. It could involve firing, failure to hire or promote, harassment, failure to give a reasonable accommodation to a disabled worker, or retaliation. You should contact a Philadelphia employment discrimination attorney promptly if you believe that your employer violated the law.Sexual Harassment
Federal and Pennsylvania laws prohibit workplace sexual harassment. There are two types of sexual harassment: hostile work environment and quid pro quo. In the context of workplace harassment, quid pro quo harassment occurs when a job benefit is linked to an employee submitting to unwelcome sexual advances. A hostile work environment generally occurs when harassment is pervasive or severe. In this type of claim, an employee would need to show that the harassment adversely affected them, it would adversely affect a reasonable person of the same sex in that job, and there is a basis for the employer to be liable for the sexual harassment.Wrongful Termination
Under the doctrine of at-will employment, a Pennsylvania employer generally can terminate an employee with or without cause. However, this right to terminate an employee with or without cause is not absolute. There are exceptions when an employer and an employee have an employment contract that specifies the reasons why an employee may be terminated, or when there is a law that protects an employee from discriminatory termination. Additionally, there may be a wrongful termination claim when an employer retaliates against an employee for exercising a protected right. An employment discrimination attorney in the Philadelphia area can help you bring a wrongful termination claim.
Employment discrimination laws also guard against employer retaliation against an employee who engages in protected activities. Protected activities can include complaining to management about discrimination or harassment, protesting discrimination that happens to someone else, supporting coworkers who have filed formal charges, opposing discriminatory employment practices, and participating in certain anti-discrimination proceedings. An employer might also retaliate against an employee for asking for a reasonable accommodation because of a disability. To prove retaliation, a plaintiff needs to show that they engaged in a protected activity, they received a materially adverse employment action, and a causal link connected the protected activity to the adverse action.Wage and Hour
Federal and Pennsylvania laws provide minimum wage requirements. There are also overtime requirements. Under Pennsylvania law, non-exempt employees must be paid 1½ times their regular rate of pay for hours worked beyond 40 in a seven-day work week. Wage and hour claims are often brought as class actions because an employer may have violated the rights of many employees in the same way. This can be a cost-effective and efficient way to obtain remedies for employees whose individual claims would not have substantial value.Family and Medical Leave
The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a complicated law that provides for unpaid leave for certain reasons specified by statute when an eligible employee works for a covered company. A covered company needs to have at least 50 employees within 75 miles of one another. Employees are eligible if they worked for the company for at least 12 months and for 1,250 hours within the 12 months before taking FMLA leave. The leave consists of a job-protected 12 weeks off from work during a 12-month period. A Philadelphia employment discrimination lawyer can help you protect your rights if your employer mistreated you because you requested or took FMLA leave.Employment Contracts
Employment contracts are often signed at the start or end of an employment relationship. They may include a non-compete agreement, a term of employment, a severance agreement, and other promises. It is important to be aware that when you execute an employment agreement, you may be limiting your rights in various ways. You should have a seasoned employment attorney review your situation and the contract.Severance Agreements
Sometimes an employee is presented with a severance agreement upon termination. There is no requirement that you be paid severance, unless this was built into your employment contract. Usually, a severance agreement specifies that you will be paid an amount of money as consideration for agreeing to release the claims that you might have against your employer. It is important to consult an attorney before releasing your claims. For example, if you are laid off due to your age, this could constitute age discrimination under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). You have certain protections regarding severance agreements under the Older Workers Benefit Protection Act (OWBPA).Whistleblower Representation
There are many federal laws that protect whistleblowers. Generally, they protect employees who have a reasonable belief that a federal law or regulation was violated and then report it in good faith, only to face an employer’s retaliatory action. Broad whistleblower protection is also provided under the Pennsylvania Whistleblowers Act. No employer can terminate, threaten, or discriminate against an employee related to his or her compensation, conditions, terms, locations, or privileges of employment if the employee made a good-faith report or was about to report an instance of wrongdoing.Retain a Knowledgeable Philadelphia Attorney
If you need an employment discrimination lawyer in Philadelphia or assistance with another matter involving your workplace rights, we invite you to discuss your situation with us. Abramson Employment Law represents people in the Philadelphia area and throughout Montgomery, Delaware, Bucks, and Chester Counties. Call us at 267-470-4742 or contact us via our online form.