Pennsylvania Supreme Court Addresses Consideration for Noncompetes

In Pennsylvania, noncompetition agreements must, among other things, be supported by adequate consideration to be enforceable. It is well established that an initial offer of employment constitutes adequate consideration. It is also well established that a noncompetition agreement presented to an employee after the start of employment must be supported by additional consideration, beyond the mere continuation of the employment relationship. But what about the regularly arising occurrence in which an agreement is orally agreed in connection with an initial offer, but isn’t signed until after the first day of work?

State COVID-19 Orders Regulating Worker Safety—Are They Preempted?

Almost every state has issued closure orders designating certain businesses as “essential” and allowing them to continue to operate during the COVID-19 pandemic. Some states have recently issued orders expressly or implicitly regulating the safety and health of workers at those essential businesses. Are some or all of the provisions in these orders preempted by the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSH Act)? It depends.

Back to Basics: Pennsylvania Employers Must Provide Unemployment Comp Information to Employees

On March 19, 2020, Governor Tom Wolf issued a broad executive order requiring the closure of “all businesses that are not life sustaining.” Simultaneously, the secretary of Pennsylvania’s Department of Health issued a similar order, explaining “the closure of non-life sustaining businesses is necessary to protect the public’s health.”

The Philadelphia Fair Workweek Ordinance: What Retail and Hospitality Employers Need to Know

We first wrote about Philadelphia’s Fair Workweek Employment Standards Ordinance shortly after it was signed into law on December 20, 2018. Now, with the Mayor’s Office of Labor having issued final regulations on February 3, 2020, and the ordinance having taken effect on April 1, 2020, we offer a brief overview of the ordinance along with additional information for retailers as they implement procedures to comply with the ordinance’s provisions. Enforcement of some aspects of the ordinance, such as its good-faith estimates requirement, will not go into effect until July 1, 2020.

Pennsylvania Governor Issues Statewide Order Closing All Businesses That Are Not Life Sustaining

On March 19, 2020, Governor Tom Wolf issued a broad executive order requiring the closure of “all businesses that are not life sustaining.” Simultaneously, the secretary of Pennsylvania’s Department of Health issued a similar order, explaining “the closure of non-life sustaining businesses is necessary to protect the public’s health.”

Tips for Shutting Down in Response to State Shelter-in-Place Orders

California, Connecticut, Illinois, Pennsylvania, and New York have all issued statewide shelter-in-place orders in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and more states may follow. Employers that do not qualify for an exemption under the applicable state order or that decide to severely curtail or shut down operations may want to consider some of the following issues.

Pennsylvania May More Than Double the Salary Threshold to Qualify for Overtime Exemptions

On January 31, 2020, the Pennsylvania Independent Regulatory Review Commission approved the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry’s (DLI) amendments to 34 Pa. Code Chapter 231, the regulations that exempt executive, administrative, and professional (“white collar”) salaried workers from overtime requirements under the Pennsylvania Minimum Wage Act of 1968.

“Ban The Box” Turns 20: Decoding the Current Framework

Twenty years ago, on a warm summer day, Hawaii enacted a restriction on employer inquiries into an applicant’s work history until after a conditional offer of employment. Intended to give applicants with criminal histories a fair shot at employment, the law—the first state “ban the box” law—crystalized a movement that, in time, would yield similar restrictions in 12 states and 17 localities (for private employers). The result is a crisscrossing jumble of requirements with little uniformity, putting employers in a difficult position when dealing with applicants (and sometimes even existing employees) in different jurisdictions.

Pennsylvania Supreme Court Will Hear Employer Appeal in State Minimum Wage Act Case

On February 2, 2018, we reported that General Nutrition Centers, Inc. (GNC), the employer in a case brought by a class of salaried, nonexempt, current or former Pennsylvania store managers, assistant managers, or senior managers under the Pennsylvania Minimum Wage Act (PMWA) (43 P.S. Secs. 333.101–333.115) had asked the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to hear its appeal of a 2–1 decision issued by the Pennsylvania Superior Court on December 22, 2017.

Reexamining Reasonableness: What Employers Should Know About the Third Circuit’s Take on the Faragher-Ellerth Defense

The Third Circuit Court of Appeals recently issued an opinion in Minarsky v. Susquehanna County, No. 17-2646 (July 3, 2018). The decision, which vacated the entry of summary judgment in favor of an employer that had asserted the Faragher-Ellerth defense to a sexual harassment claim based upon a hostile work environment, provides some important lessons for employers.

Keystone State Targets the Gig Economy: Pennsylvania’s New Nonemployee Withholding and Reporting Requirements

On October 30, 2017, Governor Tom Wolf of Pennsylvania signed into law Act 43 of 2017. This new law provides that beginning July 1, 2018, Pennsylvania businesses that pay at least $5,000 in Pennsylvania-source nonemployee compensation or business income to a nonresident individual (or disregarded entity that has a nonresident member) are required to withhold from such payments the current applicable income tax rate (currently 3.07 percent).

Philadelphia’s Pay Equity Ordinance: When May Employers Request and Consider Salary Information in Light of the Latest Challenge?

On April 30, 2018, Judge Goldberg of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania issued an order granting in part and denying in part a motion brought by the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia for a preliminary injunction seeking to block the City of Philadelphia’s wage equity ordinance.

Pennsylvania Supreme Court Is Asked to Hear Employer Appeal in State Minimum Wage Act Case

On December 22, 2017, a three-judge panel of the Superior Court of Pennsylvania ruled two to one that the Pennsylvania Minimum Wage Act (PMWA), 43 P.S. Secs. 333.101-333.115, requires payment of a higher rate for each overtime hour worked than does the federal Fair Labor Standards Act’s (FLSA) fluctuating workweek (FWW) method. The court held that the PMWA requires one and one half times the regular rate for each overtime hour, instead of the half-time rate allowed under the FWW. Instead of filing a request with the Superior Court of Pennsylvania for reargument en banc, on January 22, 2018, the company filed a petition with the Pennsylvania Supreme Court for allowance of an appeal.

Ninety Seconds Is Not Enough: Third Circuit Rules That Break Policy Violates the FLSA

In Secretary United States Department of Labor v. American Future Systems, Inc., No. 16-2685 (October 13, 2017), the Third Circuit Court of Appeals considered whether an employer’s failure to compensate employees for periods of 20 minutes or less time when they were relieved of all work-related duties violated the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).