Philadelphia Healthcare Lawyers: Medical Marijuana in Pennsylvania – Potential Issues for Employers

Marijuana laws are changing rapidly across America; right now there are 24 states permitting the use of marijuana for medical uses when prescribed by a physician (and 18 states with pending legislation to do the same), there are 14 states that have decriminalized marijuana (substituting fines for jail time) (and 17 states with pending legislation to do the same), and there are 4 states that legalize and regulate marijuana like alcohol (and 16 states with pending bills to do the same). Pennsylvania has pending bills Continue reading →

Philadelphia Healthcare Lawyers: Will the Antibiotic Resistance Action Plan Affect Your Practice?

-By Melanie Bork Graham Last week the White House issued a National Action Plan for Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria.  It is laudable that the administration is calling attention to this issue and requesting additional funds to fight it.  Even in the lay press it is well recognized that anti-microbial resistance is a significant public health threat.  It is estimated that at least 2 million illnesses and 23,000 deaths are caused each year by antibiotic resistance.[1] But the plan may be focusing on the wrong actors. The Continue reading →

Philadelphia Healthcare Lawyers: The Physician’s Right to Practice Evidence-Based Medicine

By Melanie Bork Graham Very simply, in Pennsylvania doctors do not have to treat patients who refuse vaccinations for themselves or their children. Why is this important?  Because Pennsylvania’s immunization rate is the second lowest in the country at 87%[1]which is not sufficient to retain herd immunity – for instance, herd immunity for MMR requires 92-95% immunization.[2] Herd immunity is the ability of a community to fight off infectious disease as a “herd” by vaccinating a certain percentage of the population.  Vaccinating at the herd Continue reading →

Philadelphia Employment Lawyers at Ezold Law Firm Discuss New Mandatory Sick Time Law

New legislation requiring Philadelphia employers to offer paid sick time for many employees was approved by City Council and signed into law by Mayor Nutter last week.  Under the new law, Philadelphia workers will earn one hour of paid sick time for every 40 hours of work.  The law applies to businesses that employ ten or more workers, and violations are punishable by restitution, penalties, and fines. The City Council vote was 14-2 in favor of mandatory paid sick time.  Supporters emphasize that workers without Continue reading →

Philadelphia Employment Lawyers: Costco’s Harassment Policy May Have Created a Binding Contract

Nearly all employment handbooks that are issued to employees upon hiring include anti-harassment policies that conform to federal and state laws. Some employers take their policies further than the minimum standards set by these laws. However well intentioned these practices may be, they may have the unintended effect of creating a legally enforceable contract under certain circumstances. Such was the case in Marini v. Costco Wholesale Corp., brought before the U.S. District Court in Connecticut. In that case, the plaintiff was a 10-year employee of Continue reading →

Philadelphia Employment Lawyers: Circuit Court Upholds Judges’ Dismissal of Nurses FLSA Overtime Claims

The Pennsylvania Third Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld a lower court’s decision to dismiss the claims of five Philadelphia-area nurses who claimed that the healthcare systems they worked for systematically underpaid them for hours worked. The appeal stemmed from a 2012 trial court’s dismissal of five cases in which the nurses claimed that their employers were in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) when they failed to compensate them for the full time that they worked, including overtime. The original lawsuit, Taylor, Continue reading →

Philadelphia Employment Lawyers Report: EEOC Reevaluates Accommodations for Pregnant Employees

The Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 made it illegal for employers to discriminate against female employees based on pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions.  Nearly 35 years later, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is still interpreting the document to ensure that women in the workplace are treated fairly in issues relating to pregnancy. In July, 2014, the EEOC released an updated interpretation of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, clearly defining what employers are responsible for providing to pregnant employees. One of the most pivotal points Continue reading →

Employment Lawyers in Philadelphia: Employee Discrimination Protection for Volunteers

A recent case presented to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit brought attention to the issue of what differentiates a volunteer from an employee for the purposes of protection from employment discrimination under Title VII. The case of Sister Michael Marie, et al. v. American Red Cross, involved two Catholic nuns who had been dismissed from their positions as volunteers for the Red Cross and the Ohio Ross County Emergency Management Agency. The two Sisters who belonged to the Order of the Continue reading →

Philadelphia Employment Lawyers Report: Warehouse Workers Denied Pay For Time Spent in Security Check

In what is yet another blow to employees and another victory for employers, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that employees do not have to be paid for time they spend in anti-theft screenings following their shift. The case Integrity Staffing Solutions, Inc. v. Busk, et al., involved temporary workers at Amazon warehouses in Nevada who were employed by staffing agency Integrity Staffing Solutions. At the end of their shift, warehouse workers are required to clock out and then stand in line to be screened in Continue reading →

Philadelphia Employment Lawyers:  Workplace Retaliation Rates on the Rise

According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”), last year marked the eighth consecutive year of growth for retaliation claims made by U.S. workers.  Moreover, 2013 also was designated as the fifth consecutive year that retaliation claims exceeded race discrimination as the most commonly reported form of workplace discrimination. Several factors may account for the year over year increase of retaliation charges, beginning with the fact that anti-retaliation protection is built into every law enforced by the EEOC. This means that a retaliation claim can Continue reading →