Monday, April 22, 2019

United States Supreme Court to Decide Whether Discrimination Based Upon Sexual Preference Illegal Under Title VII


Important Case Will be Given Great Consideration
Is Employment Discrimination Based Upon Gender Identity or Sexual Preference Illegal?

The Supreme Court announced today that it would decide whether Title VII (aka The Civil Rights Act of 1964) , America’s foremost anti-discrimination in the workplace statute, makes it illegal for employers to discriminate against gay and transgender workers.

Most federal appeals courts have interpreted the law to exclude sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination. Recently, however, contrasting decisions from two different federal circuit courts have made clear that a split in authority nationwide warrants a potentially defining decision by SCOTUS.


Gay Rights Cases to be Decided by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2019

The Supreme Court agreed to hear the case from New York, Altitude Express Inc. v. Zarda, No. 17-1623, along with one from Georgia that came to the opposite conclusion, Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia, No. 17-1618. 

We Are All the Same - Just Different
In New York, Zarda was a sky-diving instructor who said he was fired because he was gay. The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit concluded that “sexual orientation discrimination is motivated, at least in part, by sex and is thus a subset of sex discrimination.”

In Georgia, Bostock was a child welfare services coordinator who said he was fired for being gay. The 11th Circuit, in Atlanta, ruled against him in a short, unsigned opinion that cited a 1979 decision that had ruled that “discharge for homosexuality is not prohibited by Title VII.”

Although it is universally accepted that the current configuration of SCOTUS is in the majority “conservative,” which in this regard would lead some to conclude that the rights of gay workers will not be protected here, the cases are of such monumental importance that it would in my view be a mistake to anticipate an “automatic win” for the “far right.”


The City of Brotherly Love
Philadelphia’s Anti-Discrimination Law Protects Employees from Discrimination Based Upon Their Gender Identity or Sexual Preference

If you work in Philadelphia, the Supreme Court’s eventual decision may have more limited personal impact, because Philadelphia's Fair Practices Ordinance is one of the strongest anti-discrimination in the workplace laws in the United States, making it illegal for employers within the city limits to discriminate against an employee because of his/her sexual preference, gender identity, marital status or familial status 

Handling Employment-Related Disputes Since 1991
Philadelphia Area Employment Attorney Representing Employees

John A. Gallagher is an employment lawyer who represents employees in Pennsylvania. 

John typically represents workers who need an employment lawyer in Philadelphia County, Chester County, Delaware County, Bucks County, Berks County, Lancaster County and Montgomery County.

Pennsylvania Employment Attorney Provides Free Telephone Consultations (15 Minutes in Duration)

If you are looking for an employment lawyer, and live in Malvern, Paoli, Villanova, Ardmore, Bryn Mawr, West Chester, Media, Doylestown, Donwingtown, Glenside, Lansdale, Wayne, King of Prussia, Radnor, Exton, Newtown Square, Philadelphia, Springfield, Skippack,  Haverford, Nether Providence, Broomall, Drexel Hill, Reading or any of their surrounding towns, feel free to send me an e-mail or give me a call.  I am always glad to spend some time with people via a free telephone consultation.
  
John A. Gallagher 610-647-5027jag@johnagallagher.com
Click Here if you have questions about any aspect of employment law, from wrongful termination, to wage and overtime claims, to discrimination and retaliation laws, to Family and Medical Leave

Click Here if you have questions about any aspect of Pennsylvania Unemployment Law, from willful misconduct, to voluntary quit, to Referee Hearings, to severance issues

Click Here to e-mail John directly.

Thanks for checking in with us.

Monday, April 8, 2019

Are Settlements in Discrimination Cases Subject to Taxes?

If I Settle a Discrimination Claim, Do I Have to Pay Taxes?

The answer to this question is - Yes - and it has been that way for some time.

UGH!
In 1996, Congress reversed nearly seventy-five years of settled law by amending § 104(a)(2) of the Code, making damages recovered for personal non-physical harms (e.g., emotional distress) taxable.
This law is known as the Small Business Job Protection Act of 1996, Pub. L. No. 104-188, § 1605, 110 Stat. 1755, 1838 (codified at I.R.C. § 104).

The SMJPA makes it clear that taxes must be paid on all recoveries made in a discrimination case, even if some of the settlement is payment for emotional distress. 

Employment Discrimination Settlements Are Taxable

In a discrimination lawsuit, the relief that is granted is what is known as a "make whole remedy," i.e. a payment of money that puts the plaintiff in the same position that he/she would have been absent the discrimination.  For plaintiffs that have lost income as a result of illegal discrimination due to failure to receive a promotion, demotion, constructive discharge or termination, this means a payment of lost wages and benefits subject to taxation just as if the plaintiff had not been fired, etc.

Do I Have to Pay Taxes on an Employment Discrimination Settlement?

Think of it this way.

Jane Doe was employed by Company and paid a salary of $50,000 in 2018.  Her take home pay after taxes and withholdings was $35,000.  On January 1, 2019, she was fired.  She does not find a job until the December 2019. She sues and agrees to settle for $51,0000, which the parties agree is allocated 11 months of lost pay, i.e. $46,0000, plus $4,000 for emotional distress. Pursuant to the SMJPA, all of her recovery is subjected to taxation, i.e. she will ultimately receive the same net of $35,000 just as if she had worked all of 2019 for Company.

THIS IS NOT TAX ADVICE.  I AM NOT A CERTIFIED TAX ATTORNEY. CONSULT A LICENSED PROFESSIONAL TAX ADVISOR FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION.


Representing Pennsylvania's Workforce Since 1991

Philadelphia Area Wage and Hour Attorney Helping Employees Collect Wages, Compensation, Bonuses and Severance on a Contingent Fee Basis Attorney Representing Employees

John A. Gallagher is an employment lawyer who represents claimants in Pennsylvania. 

John typically represents workers who need an employment lawyer throughout Southeastern Pennsylvania, including those working in Philadelphia County, Delaware County, Montgomery County, Bucks County, Chester County, Berks County and Lancaster County.

Pennsylvania Wage and Hour Lawyer Provides Free Telephone Consultations and Contingent Fee Representation

If you are owed money by your employer, are looking for a contingent fee lawyer who is experienced in collecting wages, compensation, bonuses and severance from corporations that withhold payment from their employees and or work in Paoli, East Nottingham, Malvern, Easton, East Whiteland, Edgemont,  Elkins  Park,  Elverson,  Essington, Exton,  Springfield, Feasterville Trevose, Fleetwood, Flourtown,  Folcroft,  Folsom, Fort Washington,  Franconia, Gap, Gilbertsville, Gladwyne,  Glen Mills,   Glenolden,  Glenside, Green Lane, Gwynedd,  Gwynedd Valley, Hanover, Harleysville, Hatboro,  Hatfield, Haverford,  Havertown, Honey Brook,  Horsham, Huntingdon Valley, Newtown Square,  Jenkintown, Kennett Square,  Kimberton,  King Of Prussia, Kutztown, Lafayette Hill,  Lancaster,  Langhorne,  Lansdale,  Lansdowne, Lawrence Park, Levittown, Limekiln, Limerick, Lionville, Lititz, Londonberry, Lower Merion, Bryn Mawr, Wayne, Villanova and Lower Moreland or any surrounding areas, feel free to send me an e-mail or give me a call.  I am always glad to spend some time with people via a free telephone consultation.

Need an Experienced Contingent Fee Lawyer to Collect Money You Are Owed by Your Former Employer?

Click Here if you have questions about any aspect of employment law, from wrongful termination, to wage and overtime claims, to discrimination and retaliation laws, to Family and Medical Leave

Click Here if you have questions about any aspect of Pennsylvania Unemployment Law, from willful misconduct, to voluntary quit, to Referee Hearings, to severance issues

Click Here to e-mail John directly.

Thanks for checking in with us.

Friday, April 5, 2019

Hire Vets Medallion Award Program Fact Sheet from U.S. Department of Labor



U.S. Department of Labor Releases Fact Sheet Laying Out Benefits to Employers Who Participate in Veteran Hire Program

Here is the Fact Sheet:
---------------------------------------------------------

HIRE VETS MEDALLION AWARD PROGRAM
FACT SHEET

Introduction

The Honoring Investments in Recruiting and Employing American Military Veterans Act of 2017 (HIRE Vets Act or the Act), signed by President Trump on May 5, 2017, requires the Secretary of Labor to establish a program, by rule, that recognizes employer efforts to recruit, employ, and retain veterans. Employer- applicants meeting criteria established in the rule will receive a “HIRE Vets Medallion Award.” There are two award tiers, Platinum and Gold, for large (500-plus employees), medium (51-499 employees), and small employers (50 or fewer employees). 

Verification of the award criteria includes a self-attestation by the applicant and a check for violations of the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) and the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Act (VEVRAA).

The Secretary announced the Final Rule (20 C.F.R. § 1011) on November 9, 2017 and it became effective in January 2018. Using the criteria established in the Final Rule, the Department of Labor (DOL) conducted a HIRE Vets Medallion Program Demonstration in 2018. The Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (VETS) accepted a limited number of applications and employers who successfully met requirements will receive recognition from the Secretary of Labor.

VETS will begin accepting applications for the full program in January 2019.

HIRE Vets Medallion Award

Successful employers will receive a certificate stating the award year and a digital image of the medallion to use, including as part of an advertisement, solicitation, business activity, or product.

Benefits of the Program

The purpose of the HIRE Vets Medallion Award is to recognize employers who hire and retain veterans, including their efforts to establish employee development programs and veteran specific benefits to improve retention. Award recipients will have the opportunity to utilize the medallion in the marketing of their firm as a veteran friendly business when hiring, and in efforts to attract additional business.

Detailed information about how to gain eligibility can be found at www.hirevets.gov. An overall summary of the
program follows.

Summary of the Program

The HIRE Vets Medallion Program Final Rule codifies the requirements of the Act, lays out the process, timelines, and procedures for employers to apply for the award, and explains how the Department will review applications, verify the information provided and notify award recipients.

    Criteria. The requirements for recognition vary by level (Platinum or Gold) and employer size (Large, Medium, and Small). Please see HIREVets.gov for additional information about which elements apply to each award.

1)  Percentage of new hires during the previous year that are veterans;

2) Percentage of veteran employees retained for a period of at least 12 months;

3) Percentage of employees who are veterans;

4) Provision of an employee veteran organization or resource group to assist new veteran employees with integration, including coaching and mentoring;

5) Provision of programs to enhance the leadership skills of veteran employees during their employment;

6) Employment of a dedicated human resources professional or initiatives to support
hiring, training, and retention of veteran employees;

7) Provision of compensation, to employees serving on active duty in the United States National Guard or Reserve, that is sufficient, in combination with the employee’s active duty pay, to achieve a combined level of income commensurate with the employee’s salary prior to undertaking active duty;

8) Provision of a tuition assistance program to support veteran employees’ attendance in post-secondary education during the term of their employment; and,

9) Employer with an adverse labor law decision, stipulated agreement, contract debarment, or contract termination, as defined in the rule, pursuant to either of the following labor laws will not be eligible to receive
an Award: Uniform Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA); or Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act (VEVRAA).

  Timelines. Each year, the Department will:

1)  Solicit applications no later than January 31;

2) Stop accepting applications on April 30;

3) Finish reviewing applications no later than August 31 and select the employers to receive HIRE Vets Medallion Awards no later than September 30;

4) Notify employers who will receive HIRE Vets Medallion Awards no later than October 11. The Department will also notify applicants who will not be receiving an Award at that time; and,

5) Announce the names of award recipients at a time to coincide with Veterans Day.

  Application Fee. The Act requires the Secretary to establish fees sufficient to cover the costs associated with carrying out the HIRE Vets Medallion Program.

1)  Small Employer (1-50 employees)—$90.00

2)  Medium Employer (51-499)—$190.00

3) Large Employer (over 500)—$495.00.

If a significant fee adjustment is necessary for future years of the Program, for any reason other than inflation, then a proposed rule containing the new fees will be published in the Federal Register for comment.

Additional information about the Final Rule and the HIRE Vets Medallion Program can be found at hirevets.gov or by contacting hirevets@dol.gov.

UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF LABOR
------------------------------------------------------------------------- 
Representing Pennsylvania's Workforce Since 1991
John A. Gallagher is an employment lawyer who represents employees in Pennsylvania. 


John typically represents workers who need an employment lawyer in Philadelphia County, Chester County, Delaware County, Bucks County, Berks County, Lancaster County and Montgomery County.

Pennsylvania Employment Attorney Provides Free Telephone Consultations (15 Minutes in Duration)

Straight Talking, Honest, Experienced
610-647-5027
If you are looking for an employment lawyer, and live in PaoliMalvern, Villanova, Wayne, Devon, Berwyn, King of Prussia, Downingtown, Glenside, Doylestown, Radnor, Newtown Square, Exton, Philadelphia, West Chester, Skippack, Langhorne, Haverford, Ardmore, Havertown, Nether Providence, Morgantown, Springfield, Broomall, Lionville, Bryn Mawr, Bala Cynwyd, Lower Gwynedd, Lansdale, Quakertown, Reading or any of their surrounding towns, feel free to send me an e-mail or give me a call.  I am always glad to spend some time with people via a free telephone consultation.

Click Here if you have questions about any aspect of employment law, from wrongful termination, to wage and overtime claims, to discrimination and retaliation laws, to non-compete agreements, to Family and Medical Leave

Click Here if you have questions about any aspect of Pennsylvania Unemployment Law, from willful misconduct, to voluntary quit, to Referee Hearings, to severance issues

Click Here to e-mail John directly.

Thanks for checking in with us.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

76ers Trade for Jimmy Butler - Philadelphia Seventy-Sixers Acquire All Star Jimmy Butler from Timberwolves for Saric, Covington

The Philadelphia 76ers Trade Robert Covington, Dario Saric to the Minnesota Timberwolves for All Star Jimmy Butler


Welcome to Philly, Jimmy Butler
The Sixers' odds of winning the Eastern Conference jumped from 7-1 to 3-1.  Yeah, Jimmy Butler is a great player.

Per ESPN:

The Sixers are trading forwards Robert Covington and Dario Saric, guard Jerryd Bayless, and a 2020 second-round pick for Butler and forward Justin Patton, sources said.


So Long, Homie


Thanks, RoCo

Friday, November 9, 2018

Philadelphia Area Non-Compete Attorney in Chester County, Pennsylvania



My Non-Compete Enforceable in Pennsylvania?

That question likely misses the mark.  The major problem with non-compete covenants is not their enforecability in a court of law - it is their mere existence.  The simple truth is, many companies (I dare say a large majority of them) will not hire someone who has previously signed a non-compete agreement. They just do not want the hassle.

You need to find a way to negotiate your way out of a non-compete. Merely asking your employer once you have resigned or quit is often ineffective. You need to have some leverage. Lawyers know how to find leverage, and know how to create pressure.  Most departing employee are less skilled at this type endeavor.

If it Exists, it may well be a Problem
Whether Actually Enforceable or Not
That said, if your agreement contains a choice of law clause designating Pennsylvania as the state law under which the contract will be construed, it is good to know that, in Pennsylvania, employees who have been terminated due to layoff, reduction in force or alleged poor performance are deemed "worthless employees," so that the non-compete covenant becomes unenforceable. While that legal principle can create usable leverage, it will not in and of itself eliminate the problems described above where former or potential new employers are concerned.

How Can I Get out of My Non-Compete Contract?

Only the art of negotiation can achieve such an outcome.



Is My Non-Solicitation Employment Contract Binding or Overbroad?

Non-solicitation covenants, often found in employment contracts that contain non-compete clauses, are an entirely different animal.  Click Here for more on that.

Negotiation is an Art Form

If you are hanging some drywall, installing an outlet or planting a garden, by all means DIY.  That's why Home Depot exists!  But there is no "DIY" for practicing law.  It takes 3 straight years of intense instruction post-grad, followed by the bar exam.  Then, it takes years and years to figure out how it all works.

Saving money when changing your oil or painting your living room makes good sense.  Saving money where your employment or future employment is concerned does not.  Consider consulting counsel today for whatever your legal issue.

"He who represents himself has a fool for a client." Abraham Lincoln