Monday, May 7, 2018

WALMART AND SAM'S CLUB TO LIMIT INITIAL OPIOID PRESCRIPTIONS TO 7-DAYS

Two-Thumbs WAY Up
Seven Day Limit on Opioid Prescriptions Imposed by Walmart and Sam's Club Good for Humanity

Per USA Today on May 7, 2018:

Taking another step to battle the nation's opioid crisis, Walmart and Sam's Club pharmacies will provide no more than a seven day supply of the medications to some customers.
The retailers said Monday that within the next sixty days, they will begin imposing the time limit on initial opioid prescriptions for acute pain, along with a mandate that the medications top out at 50 morphine milligrams per day...
“We are taking action in the fight against the nation’s opioid epidemic,” MarybethHays, executive vice president of Health & Wellness and Consumables for Walmart U.S. said in a statement. “We are proud to implement these policies and initiatives as we work to create solutions that address this critical issue facing the patients and communities we serve.”


Representing Pennsylvania's Workforce 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 Employment Attorney Provides Free Telephone Consultations (15 Minutes in Duration)

If you are looking for an employment lawyer, and live in Malvern, Wayne, King of Prussia, Downingtown, Glenside, Doylestown, Radnor, Newtown Square, Exton, Philadelphia, West Chester, Skippack, Langhorne, 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.

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, 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.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Non-Compete Agreements and Trade Secret Litigation - The Fulcrum is Whether the Legitimate Business Interests of the Former Employer Are Detrimentally Affected by an Employee's Violation

What Are the Legitimate Business Interests of a Company That Seeks to Enforce a Non-Compete Agreement?

I have on numerous occasions blogged about the enforceability of non-compete agreements, noting that the heart and soul of a non-compete dispute is whether the legitimate business interests of the former employer are adversely affected by the former employee's breach of either the confidentiality, non-competition and/or non-solicitation covenants found within the employee's contract.

Protect Legitimate Business Interest Only
What are an employer's "legitimate business interests" in this context?

What Does it Mean to Misappropriate Your Employer's Confidential Information?

1) if you misappropriate your former employer's confidential information and use it in an overt fashion (i.e. copy exact wording from a business form and use it to promote another business) or in an attempt to solicit its customers (take a customer list with contact information and use it), you have adversely affected your former employer's legitimate interests;
Not a Good Look....
What is Inevitable Disclosure in a Trade Secret or Non-Competition Case?

2) if you are (one of the few) people who has knowledge of your former employer's "trade secrets," that is a formula, recipe, patentable invention that is kept under lock and key so that only a few people in the world know of its existence, you will likely be stopped from going to work for your former employer's close rivals.

Those Crinkles ARE a Trade Secrete!
Years ago, a vice-president of Thomas English Muffins , one of only a handful of people who knew the recipe used by Thomas to put the crinkles in its english muffins, departed to take employment with Hostess.  Concluding that it was "inevitable" that the the executive  would eventually disclose the recipe to his new employer, the court issued an injunction prohibiting Thomas' former executive from taking the job.

Solicitation of Former Customers is Always Forbidden if You Have a Non-Solicitation Agreement

Typically, employment agreements contain 3 restrictive covenants: 1) Confidentiality; 2) Non-Competition; and, 3) Non-Solicitation.  In general employees are not sued under the first two in the absence of the hypothetical situations outline above.

It's All About the Benjamins
Not true where non-solicitation covenants are concerned. Such provisions, which most critically prohibit a former employee from soliciting customers whom he/she dealt with while employed, most directly implicate a company's legitimate business interests.  That is so because the potential or actual loss of a customer implicates the potential or actual loss of income - and that implicates a company's legitimate business interest!

2018 New York Court Decision Explains and Protects an Employer's Legitimate Business Interests in Non-Compete Lawsuit

In Hoffman, D.O., P.C. v. Raftpol, a New York Supreme Court (i.e. trial level) judge considered a request for preliminary injunction filed by a physician assistant who, having taken a new job within the 15-mile radius prohibited by the non-compete covenant.was in violation of same.  Insofar as there was no evidence that the breaching former employee had solicited patients from her former employer, the court "blue penciled" the agreement, choosing to limit only the former employee's right to solicit patients of her former employer for the length of the 2-year non-compete.  The court found that such limitation was the only one required to protect the former employer's legitimate business interests.

The decision in Hoffman is a perfect example of how prudent court will protect the legitimate business interests of the former employer in the absence of any nefarious conduct on the part of a former employee.

Handling Non-Compete Disputes Since 1991
Philadelphia-Area Non-Compete Attorney

Questions?  John will spend 5-10 minutes with you discussing your current work situation, a U5 claim, your disability/FMLA leave, your employment/non-compete contract, a separation agreement, your wage or overtime claim, your unemployment appeal or your potential lawsuit at no charge to you.  Call 610-647-5027.  John is usually available 24/7.

You may also Click Here to e-mail John directly.




Monday, April 9, 2018

THE ESSENTIAL’S OF AN EMPLOYMENT AGREEMENT CONTAINING VALID, ENFORCEABLE CONFIDENTIALITY, NON-COMPETITION AND NON-SOLICITATION CLAUSES IN PENNSYLVANIA


Experienced Pennsylvania Employment Law Attorney Who Provides Enforceable Non-Compete Agreements for a Reasonable Flat Fee

John A. Gallagher, Esquire
Creating, Negotiating and Litigating Restrictive Covenants in Pennsylvania Since 1991

When I started practicing law in 1991, employment agreements that contain what are known as restrictive covenants, that is confidentiality, non-solicitation and non-competition clauses, were somewhat rare. Now, they are everywhere.

Over the years, the courts have made some basic and essential rulings that govern construction of restrictive covenants, and it is fairly easy to determine the circumstances under which such clauses will be enforceable.


Is the Goal to Attract and Retain High Quality Individuals?
Currently, it remains relatively easy to attract qualified candidates for employment even where requiring the candidate to sign an employment agreement containing restrictive covenants is the rule. However, I have noticed a trend over recent years where highly-qualified candidates are pushing back and refusing to accept a job if they are required to sign contracts that greatly limit their future vocational mobility. In many cases, a reciprocal severance package will be required (i.e. “I will agree not to compete for 6-months if you agree to pay me 6-months severance if you fire me without cause”).

What is the Best Method to Make Sure New Employees Agree to Non-Compete Agreements

One way that employers attempt to get around this is by not informing the employee of the existence of the requirement that they execute an employment agreement containing restrictive covenants until after they are very been onboarded. Another approach is to include restrictive covenants within an employee handbook, and to have the employee sign off on the handbook during orientation.


How Do You Want to Start New Relationship?
While these methods may enable an employer to successfully bind a new employee to the said restrictive covenants, is that really the way you want to start off your employment relationship?

There is a better way, and it will improve your candidate pool, and your workforce.

Are Confidentiality, Non-Compete and Non-Solicitation Clauses Valid and Enforceable in Pennsylvania?

I drafted restrictive covenants to be placed within employment agreements on behalf of employers for 15 years. When doing so, I always took into account the following rules that generally exists in Pennsylvania (and throughout much of the United States):


TRUE Trade Secrets Are Rare Under Pennsylvania Law
1) courts will always enforce confidentiality agreements if they find that the employee has taken the former employer’s documents and information with them upon departure from employment, and has used that confidential information in an overt fashion in their new endeavor.


Courts Will Not Tolerate Workers Who Misappropriate Their Former Employer's
Materials and Information in a New Business Endeavor, Whether a Trade Secret or Not
2) unless the employee has engaged in such nefarious conduct where confidential information is concerned, the courts consider very little employer information to be actually confidential. For example, and generally speaking, customer names, addresses, employer pricing, etc. are not deemed confidential under Pennsylvania law because they are generally available to the public at large upon research via the phone book, Google etc.


3) the only exception to the above confidentiality rule is where the departing employee truly possesses trade secretes. Think the Coca-Cola formula, or how Thomas puts those crinkles in their English muffins (indeed, one former Thomas's executive was enjoined from taking a job with Hostess because he knew the recipe and the court figured that he would inevitably disclose it to his new employer!). Courts will generally prohibit an employee who had signed a noncompete agreement and possesses such sensitive information from going to work for a close competitor of his/her former employer – even if there is no evidence that the employee has disclosed such trade secrets to the new employer. The theory behind the court’s thinking is that there will be “inevitable disclosure” of the trade secrets. After all, why would a close competitor seek to hire such a (presumably highly compensated) employee if not to take advantage of the knowledge that the employee has?
Now THAT'S a Trade Secret!!!
4) where non-competition clauses are concerned, the court similarly will not enforce them unless there is some evidence that the employee has engaged in nefarious conduct. For example, if an employee solicits former customers of his or her former employer while working for the new employer, the non-compete will almost certainly be enforced. Or, if the employee should use confidential information overtly while working for the new employer, there is a good chance the non-compete will be enforced as well. Where, however, there is no evidence that the employee has special knowledge, or is done anything wrong, courts will not generally require (i.e. order) an employee to quit a new job working for a competitor merely because they executed a non-competition agreement.


You Were Paid to Get to Know Your Former Employer's Clients and Customer Base -
Soliciting Them After You Leave is a BAD Idea and Courts Will Not Allow That
5) non-solicitation clauses are at the heart and soul of what is enforceable in Pennsylvania and elsewhere where restricting employee’s rights to future employment are concerned. An employee bound by a non-solicit who departs one employer, whether via termination or resignation, and then goes to work for a new company, or even start a new company, and thereafter solicits clients/customers the employee serviced while employed with the former employer, will be enjoined from continuing such conduct by most Pennsylvania courts.

Cost-Effective Employment Agreements Containing Confidentiality, Non-Competition and Non-Solicitation Provisions Prepared by a Qualified Pennsylvania Employment Lawyer

Based upon the above principles, I sometimes would not even include non-compete provisions within employment agreements. Why limit the potential pool of candidates by requiring the execution of a non-compete agreement when the employer’s true, legitimate business interests can be preserved by will appropriate confidentiality and non-solicitation clauses?

Preparing an employment agreement that at once protects the interest of the employer but at the same time does not seem overbearing and overly restrictive from the employee’s perspective is key to attracting qualified employment candidates. The preparation of such agreements can be done in a cost-effective, low cost fashion by a qualified employment lawyer who has prepared, negotiated and/or litigated hundreds of such agreements in the past.

Cost-Effective - Experienced -
Sensible
Philadelphia Area Non-Compete Employment Attorney Who Prepares and Negotiates Employment Contracts



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

John handles employment-related matters of all kinds originating 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, Wayne, King of Prussia, Downingtown, Glenside, Doylestown, Radnor, Newtown Square, Exton, Philadelphia, West Chester, Skippack, Langhorne, 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.

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; Mr. Gallagher has handled hundreds of Referee Hearings throughout Pennsylvania.

Thanks for checking in with us.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

WHAT IS A JOINT VENTURE and WHAT SHOULD BE THE TERMS IN A JOINT VENTURE AGREEMENT?


Joint Venture Agreements Require
Astute Foresight and Plain language
Legal Definition of a Joint Venture

The American Bar Association’s “Model Checklist for Joint Ventures” describes a joint venture as “a commercial collaboration in which two or more unrelated parties pool, exchange, or integrate some of their resources with a view to mutual gain, while at the same time remaining independent.”

What Are the Different Kinds of Joint Ventures?



This Post concerns joint ventures between two smaller business enterprises, often closely held corporations, unincorporated sole proprietors and/or independent contractors (incorporated or unincorporated).  The three most common scenarios for such joint ventures are as follows:

1)  Both of the participants are created for the sole purpose of participating in the joint venture, and do not conduct operations independent of the joint venture.

Example:    Joe is employed as painter/carpenter and Sally is employed as an interior designer. They decide to start a home remodeling business, “Home Designs, Inc.” They then quit their jobs, act as joint incorporators and officers of Home Design Inc., create a website and enter into a lease for office space.  They then dedicate all of their time and resources to making HDI a success.

     2)  One of the participants is created solely to participate in the joint venture and has no operations independent thereof while the other is an existing business with operations independent of the joint venture.

Example:    Joe is employed as chef and Sally operates a restaurant, Sally’s Place. Joe wants to “be his own man” but lacks knowledge as to how to operate a restaurant, and Sally wants to start a new restaurant but lacks sufficient funds.  Joe quits his job and creates a corporation, “Joe’s Eats Company.” They then pool their resources and start “New Bistro Americano.”  They act as joint incorporators and officers of “SallyJoe, Inc.,” create a website, enter into a lease, create a bank account with point of sale technology and open up NBA.  Although Joe dedicates all of his time to NBA, Sally continues to operate Sally’s Place, and spends about 20 hours a week at NBA.       

     3)  Both participants have been in existence for some time prior to the creation of the joint venture and may or may not maintain separate operations subsequent to its creation.

Joe operates a small company with a few employees known as “Joe’s Painting,” which provides painting/carpentry services. Sally operates an unincorporated sole proprietorship, “Sally’s Designs,” which provides interior designing services. They decide to start a home remodeling business, “Home Designs, Inc.” They act as joint incorporators and officers of Home Design Inc., create a website and enter into a lease for office space.  Although they then dedicate a lot of their time and resources to making HDI a success, they both continue to operate their primary, preexisting businesses.


Here are some of the issues that must be addressed in such an agreement:

      What is the scope and purpose of the joint venture?

     *  What corporate form (i.e. LLC, PC, etc.) will the venture establish?

     *  How much in the way of capital contributions, that is cash, equipment and/or     inventory, will each respective party be contributing to the joint venture at its outset?

     *  To the extent that purchasing additional operating capital, equipment and/or inventory are required, who will be responsible for paying what proportionate share of same?


Gotta Figure Out Capital Investments
 - and Capital Interests!
 *  Who will be responsible for managing and overseeing the day-to-day operations of the enterprise?

 *  Who if will be responsible for managing the sales and marketing aspect of the enterprise

     *   Who will be responsible for staffing the joint venture if necessary?

 *  Who will be responsible for maintaining the joint venture’s books and records?

     *  Who will be responsible for creating and maintaining the bank accounts of the joint venture?

*  How will the party that is not in control of managing the financial records and accounts of the venture be provided full access to such information upon request?

     *  Does either party have the right to buy the other party’s interest out of the joint venture?

     *  How will profits be allocated between the members of the joint venture?

     *  What will happen to the interest of a member who becomes disabled or dies?

     *  What will happen if one of the members was to give up their interest in the joint venture?
Failing to Contemplate Potential Divorce Unwise
  *  What will happen if one of the members wants to force the other member to give up their interest in the venture?

 *  What will happen if one member feels of the other one is breaching its obligations under the joint venture agreement and/or engaging in malfeasance?

     *  If the joint venture has an expected termination date, how will the assets of the venture be allocated upon liquidation?


Helping Pennsylvania Businesses Since 1991
Pennsylvania Joint Venture Contract Lawyer

The above list, which is in no particular order, was prepared off of the top of my head. If an attorney you are considering to represent you to prepare such an agreement cannot recite at least the above list of the top of his/her head, you may not have the right attorney.

Though the parties to any joint venture certainly want to enter into the relationship with a high degree of trust in one another, is foolhardy to not prepare the possibility of conflict, including a possible business divorce.


Partners....for Life?
When selecting counsel to prepare a joint venture agreement, there are always two good options: 1) each party secures its own counsel; or 2) the parties together secure one independent and wholly neutral counsel to author the joint venture agreement. That lawyer should be able to represent both sides without conflict of interest. This is often possible, but not always.

Common sense and foresight are the key characteristics of any attorney you would want to retain to prepare a joint venture agreement. Cost effective representation is important as well. Your attorney should not need to conduct a vast amount of research to prepare such an agreement and, in fact, ordinarily should not charge you for more than several hours or so of time at a maximum to complete a solid draft of same.


Experienced Philadelphia-Area Joint Venture Agreement Attorney Providing Flat Fee Business Contracts at Reasonable Cost


Why Pay More? Reasonable Flat Fees
for all Pennsylvania Business Contracts
John A. Gallagher has been practicing business and employment law in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania since 1991. He has prepared, reviewed, and negotiated hundreds of contracts – and has litigated hundreds of contractual breaches.

Mr. Gallagher applies a flat fee billing approach to all matters involving business contracts, believing that providing cost certainty is essential.

Further, Mr. Gallagher as a believer in developing business relationships, versus securing extraordinary fees – hence in establishing his billing rates his eye is on developing a long-term relationship rather than a one-night stand!

If you have a question about a business contract, call John today and he will spend 15 minutes of time discussing things with you at no charge.  From there, we can establish our own contractual relationship if appropriate.

You may also Click Here to e-mail John directly.


Philadelphia-Area Contingent Fee Attorney

Questions?  If you are in PhiladelphiaChester County, Montgomery County, Delaware County or Bucks County and need assistance with the preparation of a business contract, call 610-647-5027 for a FREE consultation.  John is usually available 24/7.

Saturday, March 31, 2018

EXPERIENCED PENNSYLVANIA LAWYER PROVIDING COST-EFFECTIVE BUSINESS CONTRACTS


Economical Pennsylvania Employment Agreements, Partnership Agreements, Independent Contractor Agreements, Sales Contracts, Joint Venture Agreements, Service Agreements, Non-Competition Contracts and Severance Agreements Prepared by a Pennsylvania Business Attorney

Handling All Aspects of
Pennsylvania Business Contracts Since 1991

The purpose of any business contract is to establish a defined, concrete relationship between two parties. However, this is easier said than done. An effective business contract must be prepared with a great deal of foresight, thereby removing any doubt where all likely permutations concerning the relationship at issue are concerned.  An attorney that has litigated hundreds of contracts possesses such foresight!



In reality, it is probably easiest to think of a business contract as being analogous to a prenuptial agreement. While it is true that the two parties intend to enter into a harmonious, fruitful business relationship, it is also true that all things must pass, and this often includes business relationships. While many business relationships die a natural death, a great deal many more do not.


A Sound Business Contract Contains Not Only Clear Terms, But Also A Clear Statement as to the Parties’ Rights in the Event of a Business Divorce

The problem that many encounter when preparing a business contract is the desire to avoid affirmative, overt exigencies in the event of a potentially negative turn of business events. However, the failure to prepare for a bitter end is the most common reason that parties end up in bitter, prolonged and expensive litigation.

John on Employment Contracts

All Business Contracts Follow the Same Format Identity of Parties, Terms of Arrangement and Remedy in Case of Material Breach

The three-act structure is a model used in narrative fiction such as short stories, screenplays and novels.  This structure divides the story into three parts (acts), often referred to as the Setup, the Confrontation and the Resolution.

Business contracts follow the same format.

John on Joint Venture Agreements

Act One: Identifying the Parties to a Business Contract

The first thing one must do when creating a business contract is determine who are the parties to be involved. While this might seem like a simple task in the abstract, it can be difficult when the parties have corporate identities, and seek to protect not only themselves, but their predecessors, successors and assigns.



The smartest thing to do is to take care identifying each party and, once the parties been identified, use a “term of art” to refer to the parties thereafter. So, for example:

The Jones company, its successors, assigns, subsidiaries, affiliates and agents and employee (hereinafter referred to as [“Jones”] [“Employer”] [“Seller”], [etc.]).

Doing this will eliminate any confusion about who is who throughout the contract, while at the same time saving trees be shortening the number of words in the contract!

A solid introduction will also lay out the general purpose behind the contract. This can take some time, and should be succinct, but highly descriptive. Carefully preparing this general summary helps the parties frame exactly what they hope to achieve out of the balance of the contract.
Act Two: The Terms of a Business Contract

Many of the terms of a business contract are easy to draft, but it is interesting how frequently the parties fail to set forth all material terms in an agreement.  Such ambiguity can lead to distrust and/or disagreement and, in any subsequent litigation, application of the dreaded “parole evidence doctrine.”




Obviously, one of the most important terms is the duration of the contract, including a well-defined start and stop date, where applicable.

A second key component is the consideration to be exchanged by the parties, i.e. the financial arrangements between the parties, the goods or services to be provided, etc.  Naturally, setting forth deadlines for the exchange of consideration is important in this section!



The rest of the terms can vary greatly, although there are some standards such as an integration/entire agreement clause, a choice of venue/law clause, etc. Candidly, it is very difficult for the layperson to include all necessary terms, since contractual terms have been developed over hundreds of years in the legal system and are most commonly known best by experienced legal practitioners.

John on Confidentiality and Trade Secret Contracts

Act Three: The Conclusion or Termination of a Business Contract

Many contracts contain a defined end date, which is usually set forth in either the introduction or the terms section.


Possibility Cannot be Ignored....
However, all contracts should include clear, definite and precise language addressing what will occur if either party becomes dissatisfied or believes that the other has engaged in a material breach of essential contractual terms. It is here that attorneys make their money. And, it is here that parties often provide short shrift, fearing that defining and expressing potential breaches and remedies will create distance between the parties, and may even threaten the contractual formation. To that, I say, good fences make good neighbors. Further, as badly as you may want to the contract to be formed, if your potential business partner is unwilling to consider crucial ordinary terms, or is unreasonable in agreeing to same, you may want to rethink the business relationship entirely.

John on Separation and Severance Agreements with a General Release

Experienced Philadelphia-Area Business Contract Lawyer Providing Flat Fee Low Cost Business Agreements


Why Pay More? Reasonable Flat Fees
for all Pennsylvania Business Contracts
John A. Gallagher has been practicing business and employment law in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania since 1991. He has prepared, reviewed, and negotiated hundreds of contracts – and has litigated hundreds of contractual breaches.

Mr. Gallagher applies a flat fee billing approach to all matters involving business contracts, believing that providing cost certainty is essential.

Further, Mr. Gallagher as a believer in developing business relationships, versus securing extraordinary fees – hence in establishing his billing rates his eye is on developing a long-term relationship rather than a one-night stand!

If you have a question about a business contract, call John today and he will spend 15 minutes of time discussing things with you at no charge.  From there, we can establish our own contractual relationship if appropriate.

You may also Click Here to e-mail John directly.


Philadelphia-Area Contingent Fee Attorney

Questions?  John will spend 5-10 minutes with you discussing your current work situation, a U5 claim, your disability/FMLA leave, your employment/non-compete contract, a separation agreement, your wage or overtime claim, your unemployment appeal or your potential lawsuit at no charge to you.  Call 610-647-5027.  John is usually available 24/7.



Friday, March 23, 2018

SHOULD I HIRE AN ATTORNEY FOR MY PENNSYLVANIA CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION APPEAL HEARING?

Call For Free Consultation 610-647-5027
You Should Consider Hiring Counsel Before You File a Pennsylvania Civil Service Act Appeal


If You are Employed by the Commonwealth,
You May have a Right to Contest and Negative Employment Action
In filing the appeal, it is critical that you raise every legal issue you intend to have considered by the Commission.  Issues that are not raised in the appeal will be deemed waived. It is very difficult for the average person to know what issues to raise, and judgment is usually clouded by emotion.  That is why it is an excellent idea to hire an attorney to assist you in preparing the appeal.

Can I Conduct Discovery Before the Start of a Pennsylvania Civil Service Hearing?

You can ask the Commission to issue a subpoena to the employer or to third-parties requesting the production of documents prior to the start of the hearing.


I Obtain Substantial Discovery During Pre-Hearing Conference
In addition, the Commonwealth is required to provide you with a list of witnesses before the start of the hearing.

In cases where you have retained counsel and he/she has entered his/her appearance, a Pre-Hearing Conference will be held by the Commission and your attorney will be able to determine a good deal about the evidence the Commonwealth intends to produce at the hearing (I do not know if this Conference takes place if you do not have an attorney, although I do not think that it always does).

How Does a Lawyer Help Me During a Pennsylvania Civil Service Hearing?

Any employee granted a civil service hearing is entitled to be represented by counsel. Based upon my experience, and for reasons discussed below, it is my view that obtaining counsel to represent you in a civil service hearing is critically important.

First, it is imperative to understand that in a case involving discipline imposed by the Commonwealth, the employer has the burden of producing competent evidence, via testimony and documents, of the employee’s wrongdoing.  In other words, the employer must present its case first!  If the employer does not meet its burden, the employee does not need to produce any evidence.  However, only an attorney will know if the Commonwealth has met its burden of production…


Exclusion of Sketchy, Prejudicial Evidence and
Rigorous Cross-Examination of Employer Witnesses Key to Success
I most frequently win hearings by excluding evidence (such as hearsay and irrelevant matters), and by cross-examining witnesses to expose inconsistencies, implausabilities and weaknesses.  This is what I am trained to do; employ the Rules of Evidence, review documents while hearing testimony explaining their meaning and asking questions designed to undo the employer’s case.

Invoking the Rules of Evidence and subjecting the employer’s witness to searching cross-examination are by far the most crucial tasks that lead to a win or a loss.  Few civilians are equipped to do so.

Once the employer’s case is finished, the employee must provide evidence explaining why he/she did not engage in the acts he/she is accused of, or must prove that the acts did not violate a given company policy.  This is exceptionally hard to do without counsel.

It is extremely difficult to present testimony without an advocate. Imagine having to sit there and precisely detail all of the crucial evidence that you believe is important for the Commissioner’s consideration. Not only must you have prepared extensively before the start of the hearing but you must be prepared to adapt --because the evidence presented during any legal proceeding is rarely in line with what you believe the evidence will be at the outset of the hearing.

Further, even if you are able to present relevant evidence that is helpful in a clear fashion, you must then be able to withstand cross-examination by the Commonwealth’s attorney, who makes his or her living cross-examining people like you that have never been in front of the Civil Service Commission. Further, you will thereafter be subjected to questions from the presiding Commissioner(s)  or hearing officer. The normal human instinct is to be agreeable in such settings but, I have found, agreeable folks often make admissions that are used against them in a dispositive fashion.

The hearing is transcribed, so it is important that you make all necessary objections based upon evidentiary rules such as relevance, hearsay, etc. If you do not make appropriate objections at the hearing, those objections will be deemed waived for further purposes of the appeal.

Is it a Good Idea to Hire Counsel for a Pennsylvania Civil Service Hearing?

Attending an important civil service hearing without legal counsel is in essence a losing proposition. These are sophisticated hearings, and the attorneys that represent the Commonwealth do so constantly. Therefore, it’s a good idea to think carefully about hiring an attorney before you even file your appeal, since the whole case is based upon the way you lay out your appeal at the very outset.


Representing Pennsylvania's Workforce Since 1991

Philadelphia Area Civil Service Act Lawyer Representing Employees at                      Hearings Before Civil Service Commission

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 Civil Service Act Employment Attorney Provides Free Telephone Consultations (15 Minutes in Duration)

If you are looking for an employment lawyer, and live in Paoli, Frazer, Exton, Malver, Downingtown, Oxfords, Kennett Square,  King of Prussia, Broomall, Newtown Square, Springfield, Media, Upper Providence, Nether Providence, Wayne, Villanova, Devon, Bryn Mawr, Flourtown, Collegeville, Lansdale, Doylestown, Chalfont 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.

Need an Experienced Lawyer for a Civil Service Hearing in Harrisburg?

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; Mr. Gallagher has handled hundreds of Administrative Hearings throughout Pennsylvania.

Thanks for checking in with us.