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Philadelphia and South New Jersey Employment Law Blog

Is your employer lax on training to curb sexual harassment?

You may have run into sexual harassment through a personal encounter. On the other hand, you may have been exposed to name-calling or a risqué comment or picture that coworkers distributed online. The situation, however it developed, may have caught you by surprise because your company has sexual harassment training in place.

As far back as 1989, the Supreme Court affirmed that sexual harassment is illegal. But if you have been the target of offensive behavior, you know the problem nevertheless exists within your company despite the existence of a training program.

Government Construction Projects & Prevailing Wage Fraud

Each year, the federal government and state governments spend billions of dollars on a numerous construction projects. These projects range from highways and bridges to government office buildings and federally subsidized housing. It should come as no surprise that these government construction programs have been a frequent target for fraud. The federal government's False Claims Act is a law that provides financial rewards to individuals who file false claim suits on behalf of the government against individuals and entities which defraud the federal government. There are currently 31 states that have their own false claims acts, which also allows private citizens to bring suit against individuals and entities which defraud the state. On May 20, 2009, President Obama signed the Fraud Enforcement and Recovery Act of 2009 ("FERA"). FERA amended the federal False Claims Act by significantly expanding the circumstances in which contractors and subcontractors may be liable for false claims. Under FERA, liability under the federal False Claims Act is extended to claims under any contract or grant that is funded or partially funded by the federal government. Prevailing wage fraud is sometimes a mechanism by which the government is defrauded.

An Overview of the OSHA Whistleblower Law

The Law Firm of Jacobson & Rooks, LLC, represents employees in a variety of situations, and we have acted as whistleblower, retaliation, discrimination and work sexual harassment attorneys in Camden County and nearby areas. One situation that employees sometimes face is working in an unsafe environment, and fear of reprisal if they complain about their unsafe workplace. Employees have a right to feel safe at their workplace, and one institution that enforces safety measures for employees is OSHA.

Gender Discrimination is Sex Discrimination

The issue of transgender restrooms in public schools has been in the news recently.  Is gender discrimination protected under Title VII?  The United States Supreme Court was presented with this issue, but remanded the case back to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, instead of tackling this emotionally-charged controversy. This topic has been a deeply divisive issue in many states across the country. For clarity, being "transgender" means that the person's internal gender identity is different from the sex that the person was assigned at birth (e.g., the sex listed on the birth certificate).

Accessibility and the ADA

The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) prohibits employers from discriminating against potential job applicants or current employees in all aspects of employment, including hiring, firing, promotions, discipline, and job advancement. The ADA also prohibits employers from retaliating against employees who complain about being discriminated against. The ADA applies to private employers with at least 15 employees. In addition, the ADA also applies to state and local governments. Federal employees are protected by the ADA's nondiscrimination standards under section 501 of the Rehabilitation Act. 

Is teasing about your disability causing you discomfort at work?

Co-workers can sometimes be as thoughtless as school kids in terms of teasing. When it comes to your disability, old friends may understand what you have been going through and watch what they say. However, employees who are new to the company-and to your situation-may take what they think are cute remarks too far, too often. They may not realize it, but they might be crossing the line into disability discrimination, and that is against the law.

False Claims Settlement Reached for Our Client

On February 6, 2017, the United States Attorney's Office for the Western District of Pennsylvania announced that a False Claims settlement was reached between the United States Department of Justice and Para-Plus Translations, Inc., ("Para Plus") a New Jersey corporation that contracts with federal and state agencies, among other clients, for interpretation, transcription and translation services.

Wrongful Termination & the False Claims Act

Many states adhere to the "employment at will" doctrine. It's a well-settled principle that an employee can be fired for a "good reason, a bad reason, or no reason at all." "Wrongful termination" is a catch-phrase without a distinct legal meaning that has evolved to represent a termination which the employee believes is illegal. Sometimes the termination is illegal. Other times, the termination is simply unfair. And, "unfair" is not synonymous with "illegal." Illegal terminations, such as a discriminatory termination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act or the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination, leave an employee without a remedy. "Unfair" terminations which do not offend a protected trait or a protected activity, or violate a statute, do not provide any means of redress.

Pregnant women often experience discrimination in the workplace

Pregnant women all over the country routinely experience discrimination while at work, and while some instances are overt, others are not as easy to recognize. Employers have certain legal obligations to expectant mothers in their workforces as outlined by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. When a pregnant woman's rights are infringed upon, an employer may be held accountable. Discrimination against pregnant women in the workplace may happen if the employer:

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