Overruling more than 30 years of precedent, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has ruled that the “voluntary layoff” provision of the Pennsylvania Unemployment Compensation Law permits employees to receive unemployment compensation benefits when they accept an early retirement incentive offered as part of a reduction in force. Diehl v. Unemployment Compensation Bd. of Rev., No. 51 MAP 2011 (Pa. Dec. 28, 2012). Earlier case law held that employees who received early retirement incentives in a reduction in force were not eligible to receive unemployment compensation. The Supreme Court found that those cases were unsupported by the unemployment compensation law’s plain language.
Articles About Pennsylvania Labor And Employment Law.
In a pair of recent decisions, the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania held that the “fluctuating workweek” method of calculating overtime is not lawful under Pennsylvania law when the employer pays an overtime premium of one-half of the employee’s regular hourly rate, in addition to the employee’s salary. Foster v. Kraft Foods Global, Inc., 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 121282 (W.D. Pa. Aug. 27, 2012); Cerutti v. Frito Lay, Inc., 777 F. Supp. 2d 920 (W.D. Pa. 2011). While these cases do not necessarily represent the last word on the subject (indeed, the Foster case is still pending in district court), employers who utilize the fluctuating workweek method in Pennsylvania should take note of these developments.
Some employers in Philadelphia must provide their employees with paid sick leave. Pursuant to an amendment to Chapter 17-1300 of the Philadelphia Code, titled “Philadelphia 21st Century Minimum Wage and Benefits Standard,” certain entities providing services to, or receiving financial aid from, the City of Philadelphia must provide up to 56 hours, or seven days, of paid sick leave to all full-time, non-temporary, non-seasonal covered employees beginning July 1, 2012. In certain circumstances, a covered employer can seek partial or total waiver of the paid sick leave requirement from the Philadelphia Office of Labor Standards. A waiver may be granted, for example, if a covered employer contends that it is unable to pay all or part of the paid sick leave or if the paid sick leave is waived by a bona fide collective bargaining agreement.
In Best Medical International, Inc. v. Spellman, a federal court in Pennsylvania determinedâ€”in a case of first impressionâ€”that attorneys’ fees may be awarded to the prevailing defending party under the Pennsylvania Uniform Trade Secrets Act (“PUTSA”) when it has demonstrated:
When may attorneysâ€™ fees be imposed on a plaintiff for prosecuting a claim for misappropriation of trade secrets in bad faith under the Pennsylvania Uniform Trade Secrets Act (PUTSA)? In a matter of first impression, in Best Medical International v. Spellman [pdf], a Pennsylvania district court held that bad faith justifies attorneysâ€™ fees when two criteria are met:
As of July 1, 2012, certain employers in Philadelphia will have to provide their employees with paid sick leave. A recently enacted ordinance amends Chapter 17-300 of the Philadelphia Code, titled “Philadelphia 21st Century Minimum Wage and Benefits Standard.”
Certain Philadelphia employers will be required to provide full-time employees with paid sick leave beginning July 1, 2012. The City Council voted 15-2 in support of the measure and Mayor Michael Nutter did not veto it. The new Ordinance, an amendment to Chapter 17-1300 of the Philadelphia Code, is entitled, â€œPhiladelphia 21st Century Minimum Wage and Benefits Standardâ€. Mayor Nutter previously vetoed a broader paid sick leave bill, which would have applied to all Philadelphia employers with more than five employees.
Effective June 17, 2011, Philadelphiaâ€™s new Fair Criminal Record Screening Standards Ordinance generally will prohibit Philadelphia employers from asking job applicants questions related to criminal history prior to or during the first interview. Similar to restrictions applicable to Massachusetts and Hawaii employers, the â€œban the boxâ€ law will prohibit Philadelphia employers from obtaining criminal background information on an initial employment application. The Ordinance applies to employers that employ 10 or more persons within the City of Philadelphia.