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Philadelphia and South New Jersey Employment Law Blog

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:

An Insurance Policy for Wrongful Termination

Think about your most valuable asset. What would you say it is? For some people, their most valuable asset is their home. For others, it is their car. Other people may consider their health as being their most valuable asset. These assets are protected by something that can replace the value of the asset, if the asset is destroyed. Homes are protected by homeowner's insurance. Cars are protected by motor vehicle insurance. Health is protected by health insurance and life is protected by life insurance.

How many people would consider their job as their most valuable asset? Your job provides a recurring revenue stream that allows you to provide for the most basic of needs - food, clothing, shelter, and support for your family. Your job provides earnings which contribute to your lifestyle and your livelihood. What protection do you have for your job? The reality is, none. Of course, disability insurance may provide some relief in the event that a temporary or permanent disability affects your ability to earn an income. But, there isn't any insurance to protect your job - that valuable asset that produces your earnings, week after week. Note: State-sponsored disability or unemployment benefits might be available if you qualify and live in certain states, but they are limited in duration.

Reporting Fraud Committed Against the Government

The federal False Claims Act allows private citizens, known as whistleblowers, to bring false claims actions against companies that defraud the government. As an incentive, the False Claims Act has a provision which rewards whistleblowers. Whistleblowers can receive as much as a thirty percent share of the recovery.

Sexual Harassment: Unchanging Times

More than 40 years ago, Redbook Magazine published a questionnaire on sexual harassment at work. More than 9,000 women responded, and Redbook published the results in its January 1976 issue. More than ninety percent (90%) of the women responding reported receiving at least one form of unwanted attention at work, which included, but was not limited to, "ogling, leering, pinching, or overt demands for sexual favors." Seventy percent (75%) of the women characterized the unwanted attention as "demeaning," "embarrassing," or "intimidating." 

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