1 EMPLOYMENT LAW MANUAL Prepared By: The Employment Group of Margolis Edelstein By: Walter J. Timby, III, Esquire Harrisburg Office MARGOLIS EDELSTEIN Westmont Office P.O. Box 932 The Curtis Center, 4 th Floor P. O. Box 2222 Harrisburg, PA Independence Square West 216 Haddon Avenue Philadelphia, PA Westmont, NJ (215) Pittsburgh Office Fax (215) Grant Street Berkeley Heights Office The Grant Building Walter J. Timby, III, Esquire Three Connell Drive Suite 1500 Suite 6200 Pittsburgh, PA Berkeley Heights, NJ Christopher A. Tinari, Esquire Scranton Office Delaware Office The Oppenheim Building William E. Remphrey, Jr., Esquire 1509 Gilpin Avenue 409 Lackawanna Avenue Wilmington, DE Suite 3C Scranton, PA
2 Common Law Principles I. AT-WILL EMPLOYMENT - PENNSYLVANIA A. General Rule The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania follows as does most of the United States, the prevailing status of employment is considered to be at-will. Paul v. Lankenau Hospital, 524 Pa. 90, 569 A.2d 346 (1990); Clay v. Advanced Computer Applications, Inc., 522 Pa A.2d 917 (1989); Geary v. United States Steel Corp., 456 Pa. 171, 319 A.2d 174 (1974). The employment at-will doctrine provides that, absent contractual or statutory restriction, either the employer or the employee may terminate the employment relationship for any reason or for no reason at all. McLaughlin v. Gastrointestinal Specialists, Inc., 696 A.2d 173 (Pa. Super. 1997); Pipkin v. Pennsylvania State Police, 548 Pa. 1, 693 A.2d 190 (1997). The general rule is that no cause of action exists for terminating an at-will employment relationship. Stumpp v. Stroudsburg Municipal Authority, 540 Pa. 391, 396, 658 A.2d. 333, 335 (1995). Contracts of Employment 1. Express Contracts If an employee has an express employment agreement for a term certain, the employee is no longer at will and may only be discharged pursuant to the terms of the contract. Employment is presumptively at will unless an employee can provide clear proof that an express contract exists for a specific term or duration of employment or that the contract provides for discharge only for just cause or other specified reasons. Holewinski v. Children s Host of Pittsburgh, 437 Pa. Super. 174, 649 A.2d 712 (1994), allocatur support denied, 540 Pa. 641, 659 A.2d 560 (1995).
3 Although certain contract terms may be applied, the existence of the employment contract itself cannot be implied, and must be proven with evidence of a specific term of employment or cause for termination. Rodgers v. Prudential Ins. Co. of America, 803 F. Supp (M.D. Pa. 1992), Aff d, 998 F.2d 1004 (3d Cir. 1993). Pennsylvania presumes all employment to be at will. See Geary v. United States Steel Corp., 456 Pa. 171, 319 A.2d 174 (1974). The party attempting to overcome the presumption must show clear and precise evidence of an oral employment contract for a definite term. See Gorwara v. AEL Indus., Inc., 784 F. Supp. 329, 242 (E.D. Pa. 1992). Salary computed to a specific time period is insufficient to establish a contract. Booth v. McDonnell Douglas Truck Servs. Inc., 401 Pa. Super. 234, 585 A.2d 24 (1990), allocatur denied, 528 Pa. 620, 597 A.2d 1150 (1991). An employee is not guaranteed a term of employment as a result of a promise to maintain employment if performance is good. See McWilliams v. AT&T Info Sys Inc., 728 F. Supp (W.D. Pa. 1990). 2. Employee Handbooks Plaintiffs have successfully pursued causes of action based upon the provisions set forth in a handbook, manual or policies written and provided by the employer. Pennsylvania Courts have held, however, that a handbook only has legally binding contractual significance if the handbook or oral modification to the handbook clearly states that it is to have this effect, Anderson v. Haverford College, 851 F.Supp. 179, 182 (E.D. Pa. 1994); Martin v. Capital Cities Media, Inc., 354 Pa. Super. 199, 511 A.2d 830 (1986), Allocatur Denied, 514 Pa. 643, 523 A.2d 1132 (1987), or if it clearly states that an employee may be discharged only for just cause. Reilly v. Stroehmann Brothers Co., 532
4 A.2d 1212, 1216 (1987). The mere publishing of a handbook does not create the meeting of the minds required to create a contract unless the parties bargained for the handbook provisions. Martin, supra. Similarly, where the employer reserves the right in a handbook or policy manual to make unilateral changes, and provides a nonexclusive list of offenses which constitute cause for discharge, a plaintiff cannot reasonably expect that the employer intends to bind itself to that handbook or policy. Luteran v. Loral Fairchild Corp., 455 Pa. Super.. 364, 688 A.2d 211, Allocatur Denied, 701 A.2d 578 (Pa. 1997). To overcome the at-will presumption, there must be an express contract between the parties, or an implied-in-fact contract plus consideration passing from the employee to the employer from which the court can infer the parties intended to overcome the at-will presumption. Sharp v. BW/IP Int l, Inc. 991 F. Supp. 451, 459 (E.D. Pa. 1998) (citing Anderson v. Haverford College, 851 F. Supp. 179, 181 (E.D. Pa. 1994)). Pennsylvania courts agree that an appropriate disclaimer in the employee handbook with regard to the at-will status of the employee is sufficient to overcome an employee s argument that the handbook creates a contract for employment. Thus, an employer may issue statements in an employee handbook that are not contractually binding, so long as such statements are accompanied with an appropriate, conspicuous disclaimer. Morten v. Cities Media, Inc., 354 Pa. Super. 119, 511 A.2d 830 (1986), allocatur denied, 514 Pa. 643, 523 A.2d 1132 (1987). 3. Additional Consideration Supplied by Employee The presumption of at-will employment may be overcome by showing that the employee provided substantial additional consideration to the employer and termination of
5 employment would result in great hardship or loss to the party known to be both employer and employee when the contract was made. Permenter v. Crown Court & Seal Co., Inc., 38 F. Supp. 2d 372 (1999), Aff d 210 F.3d 358 (3d Cir. 2000); Darlington v. General Electric, 350 Pa. Super. 183, 504 A.2d 306 (1986) overruled on other grounds by, Clay v. Advanced Comp. Applications, Inc., 522 Pa. 86, 559 A.2d 917 (1989). The additional consideration given to the employer must be substantial. The at-will presumption is not overcome every time a worker sacrifices theoretical rights and privileges. Scott v. Extra Corporeal, Inc., 376 Pa. Super. 101, 545 A.2d at 339. In Luteran v. Loral Fairchild Corp., 688 A.2d 211, 455 Pa. Super. 364 (1996), an employee agreed to a confidentiality clause, a non-competition clause and a clause giving the employer the right to any inventions employee made or conceived was so minimal that in no sense could it be said that the agreement was to the level of additional consideration. In Cashdollar v. Mercy Hosp. of Pittsburgh, 406 Pa. Super. 606, 595 A.2d 70 (1991) the court upheld a jury verdict in favor of the plaintiff on a claim of breach of implied contract. After much persuasion by Mercy Hospital of Pittsburgh, Cashdollar left his job as vice-president of human resources at a hospital in Fairfax, Virginia where he had worked for over four years, for a similar position at Mercy Hospital in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Mercy Hospital induced Cashdollar to leave his job with promises of future opportunity. Sixteen days after he began his employment, however, Cashdollar was fired. The jury found additional consideration existed in this instance because the employee conferred a substantial benefit on the employer other than what the position would normally require. Resigning from a secure, high-paying job, selling his house and relocating to Pittsburgh with his pregnant wife and two-year-old son were determined to be sufficient evidence that
6 an implied contract for employment existed between Cashdollar and Mercy Hospital. 3. Specific Intent to Harm Pennsylvania state and federal courts have indicated there is no viable claim for wrongful discharge using a specific intent to harm exception, which implies that the employer discharged the employee in bad faith and with the intent to harm him. See Donahue v. Federal Exp. Corp., 753 A.2d 238 (Pa. Super. 2000); Brosso v. Devices for Vascular Intervention, Inc., 879 F. Supp. 473 (E.D. Pa.), Aff d 74 F.3d 1225 (3d Cir. 1995). 4. Implied Covenant of Good Faith and Fair Dealings Pennsylvania appellate courts have consistently held there is no implied duty of good faith and fair dealing that applies to termination of a pure at-will employment relationship. Donahue v. Federal Exp. Corp., 753 A.2d 238 (Pa. Super. 2000). The Supreme Court held an At-will employee has no cause of action against his employer for termination of the at-will relationship except where that termination threatened clear mandates of public policy. Pipkin v. Pennsylvania State Police, 548 Pa. 1, 693 A.2d 190 (1997). A number of federal cases have squarely held that Pennsylvania recognizes no cause of action for wrongful discharge based upon breach of the duty of good faith and fair dealing in an at-will employment contract. McDaniel v. American Red Cross, 58 F. Supp. 2d 628 (W.D. Pa. 1999). The McDaniel court further held that although the duty of good faith and fair dealing exists in an at-will employment contract, there is no bad faith when an employer discharges an at-will employee for good reason, bad reason or no reason at all, as long as no statute or public policy is implicated. 5. Public Policy Exceptions The public policy exception is currently the most controversial exception to the
7 At-Will Employment Doctrine. Pennsylvania courts espouse extreme reluctance to expand the list of public policy exceptions and yet the list has continued to grow. Exceptions to the rule of at-will employment have been recognized in only in the most limited circumstances, where it discharges at-will employees with threatened clear mandates of public policy. Clay v. Dance Computer Applications, Inc. In Cisco v. United Parcel Serv., Inc., 328 Pa. Super. 300, 476 A.2d 1340 (1984), the Pennsylvania Superior Court noted: The sources of public policy which may limit the employer's right of discharge include legislation; administrative rules, regulation, or decision; and judicial decision. In certain instances, a professional code of ethics may contain an expression of public policy. Absent legislation the judiciary must define the cause of action in case-by-case determinations. The courts have established a body of cases that illustrate when a Public Policy Exception will be found. B. Workers' Compensation Act: In Schick v. Shirey, 552 Pa. 590; 716 A.2d 1231 (1998) the Pennsylvania Supreme court held that discharging an employee in retaliation for filing a workers' compensation claim was a violation of public policy. C. Unemployment Compensation Act: The Pennsylvania Superior Court held in Highhouse v. Avery Transp., 443 Pa. Super. 120, 660 A.2d 1374 (1995) and Raykovitz v. K-Mart, Corp., 445 Pa. Super. 378, 665 A.2d 8833 (1995) that discharging an employee in retaliation for filing an unemployment compensation claim was a violation of public policy. D. Occupational Safety and Healthy Act (OSHA):
8 In McLaughlin v. Gastrointestinal Specialist, 561 Pa. 307, 750 A.2d 283 (2000), the Pennsylvania Supreme Court held that discharging an employee in retaliation for reporting a safety violation of OSHA was not a violation of public policy. In Sourge v. Wright's Nitwear Corp., 832 F. Supp. 118 (E.D. Pa. 1993) discharging an employee in retaliation for reporting to OSHA was a violation of public policy. E. Jury Duty: In Ruther v. Faller and Williams, Inc., 255 Pa. Super. 28, 386 A.2d 119 (1978) the Pennsylvania Superior Court held that discharging an employee for attending jury duty was a violation of public policy. A statutory prohibition from preventing the termination of an employee based upon the employee's attendance or scheduled attendance for jury duty is located at 28 U.S.C. 1875(a) (West 2003). F. Criminal Background History: In Hunter v. Port Kauth of Allegany Cty., 277 Pa. Super. 4, 419 A.2d 631 (1980) the Pennsylvania Superior Court held that denying employment based upon prior criminal conviction not related to the position was a violation of public policy. A statutory provision that permits an employer to consider felony and misdemeanor convictions only to the extent to which they relate to the applicant's suitability for employment in the position for which he has applied. 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. 9125(b) (West 2003). G. Polygraph Test: In Kroen v. Bedway Sec. Agency, Inc., 430 Pa. Super. 83, 633 A.2d 628 (1993) the Pennsylvania Superior Court held that discharging an employee for refusal to take a polygraph test was a violation of public policy. A statutory prohibition that prevents an employer from discharging, disciplining or discriminating in any manner against an
9 employee or prospective employee who refuses, declines or fails to take or submit to a lie detector test is located at 29 U.S.C. 2002(3) (West 2003). H. Pennsylvania Human Relations Act: Nazar v. Clark Distrib. Sys., Inc., 46 Pa. D. & C. 4th 28 (2000) the Lackawanna Court of Common Pleas held that discharging an employee for making a PHRA complaint was a violation of public policy. Statutory prohibition preventing retaliation for a filing a charge of discrimination pursuant to the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act is located at 43 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. 955(b)(5)(d) (West 2003). I. Wage Payment and Collection Law: In Fialla-Dertani v. Pennysaver Publications of Pa., Inc., 45 Pa. D. & C. 4th 122 (2000) the Allegheny Court of Common Pleas held that discharging an employee for making a complaint under the WPCL was in violation of public policy. J. Illegal Activity: A number of cases determining it is a violation of public policy to discharge or take job action against the employee for refusing to engage in illegal activity or to testify against the employer who engaged in illegal activity. Perry v. Tioga Cty., 694 A.2d 1176 (Pa. Commw. 1996) - employee discharged for refusal to perform illegal activity. Brown v. Hammond, 810 S. Supp. 644 (A.D. Pa. 1993) - employee discharged for refusing to bill paralegal time as attorney's time. Hanson v. Gishner Sys. Group, Inc., 831 F. Supp. 403 (M.D. 1993) - employee discharged for refusal to lie to federal investigators. K. Work Related Incidents: Courts have found that most day-to-day work-related incidents, that is disputes that arise over terms and conditions of employment, work rules, company policy do not provide
10 a basis for a Public Policy Exception. L. Privacy: Issues of personal privacy are among the exceptions Pennsylvania courts have yet to clearly define. A violation of public policy was found when an employee was discharged for refusal to consent to urinalysis and property search that constituted an invasion of privacy. Borse v. Pierce Goods Shop, Inc., 963 F.2d 611 (3d Cir. 1992). Symth v. Pillsbury, 914 F. Supp. 97 (E.D. Pa. 1996). No violation of public policy when employee discharged for inappropriate despite employee's reasonable expectation of privacy. M. Free Speech: An emergent exception to the At-Will Doctrine is in the area of free speech, whether an employee may terminate an at-will employee based upon the employee's exercise of his or her free speech rights in the workplace. In Novosel v. Nationwide Ins. Co., 721 F.2d 894 (3d Cir. 1983) the Third Circuit held an at-will employee who was allegedly discharged for his refusal to participate in his former employer's lobbying effort and the employee's privately stated opposition to the company's political position had stated a claim for wrongful discharged under Pennsylvania law. N. Whistleblowing: Pennsylvania law does not recognize the right of action of a private employee for whistleblowing activities. The statutory language of the Whistleblower Law, 43 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann (West 2003) is clear, it applies, without exception only to the public employees. Clark v. Modern Group an Ltd., 9 F.3d 321 (3d Cir. 1993) the Third Circuit held that the Whistleblower Law is not an indicator of public policy in private discharge cases. There is no general public policy of protecting whistleblowers who are
11 not employed in the public sector. Implied Contracts Pennsylvania Courts generally are reluctant to alter an employee s at-will status based upon an implied contract theory. They have, however, recognized two bases as creating a cause of action for wrongful discharge based upon an implied contract: handbooks and manuals, which was discussed earlier in the text and additional consideration supplied by the employee. a. Additional Consideration Supplied: Oral representations by the employer regarding the terms of employment have been held insufficient to overcome the at-will presumption. The plaintiff, however, may be able to overcome this presumption if statements by the employer concerning the terms of employment caused the employee to provide additional consideration above and beyond the mere performance of services for which the employee was hired. A Court will find additional consideration when an employee affords his employer a substantial benefit other than the services for which the employee is hired to perform, or when the employee undergoes a substantial hardship other than the services which he is hired to perform. Darlington v. General Electric, 350 Pa. Super. 183, 501 A.2d 306, 315 (1986). See also, News Printing Co. v. Roundy, 409 Pa. Super. 64, 597 A.2d 662 (1991). Agreeing to a confidentiality clause, a restrictive covenant, or giving the employer the right to inventions created on company time, however, does not constitute additional consideration. Luteran at 217. If sufficient additional consideration is found to exist to create an implied contract, the employee may not be fired during the agreement term, absent just cause. Curran v.
12 Children s Service Center of Wycoming Cty., Inc., 396 Pa. Super. 29, 578 A.2d 8 (1990). Thus, when an employer induces the plaintiff to leave his job with promises of future opportunity, and the plaintiff undergoes significant hardship in response to the promise, the jury has found that an implied contract was created, and that the employer breached its contractual obligations. Cashdollar v. Mercy Hospital of Pittsburgh, 460 Pa. Super. 606, 595 A.2d 70 (1991). Mere reliance on an employer s promise does not create a contract-type right to employment, however. Nor is detrimental reliance on a promise relevant in determining whether an employee had a property interest in his employment. Paul v. Lankenau Hospital, 524 Pa. 90, 569 A.2d 346, 348 (1990); Stumpp at 335. Thus, promissory estoppel is not currently a recognized cause of action in Pennsylvania. Employment Related Causes of Action - Tort A number of state courts have carved out exceptions to the employment-at-will doctrine based upon theories of tort law. These common law causes of action are increasingly being utilized as claims pendent to an employment discrimination claim. a. Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress: Although termination, by itself, will not give rise to the tort of intentional infliction of emotional distress, a terminated employee may recover for this claim when the circumstances surrounding the discharge are particularly egregious. Brieck v. Harbison-Walker Refractories, 624 F.Supp. 363, 367 (W.D.Pa. 1985). Moreover, on-the-job harassment may suffice to state a claim an employee need not be wrongfully terminated to state a claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress; Shaffer v. National Car Corp., 565 F.Supp. 909 (E.D.Pa. 1983).
13 Intentional infliction of emotional distress has been defined as one who by extreme and outrageous conduct intentionally or recklessly causes severe emotional distress to another is subject to liability for such emotional distress and if bodily harm to the other results from it, for such bodily harm, only in very egregious cases. Shaffer v. National Can Corp., supra. To prove intentional infliction of emotional distress, the plaintiff must show: (1) that the defendant intended to inflict emotional distress upon plaintiff, or the defendant knew or should have known that plaintiff's emotional distress was likely the result of his or her conduct; (2) defendant's conduct was extreme and outrageous and proximately caused plaintiff severe and substantial emotional distress; and (3) plaintiff's emotional distress resulted in damages. Brieck at 367. Extreme and outrageous, in most states, is not defined as mere insult, annoyance or conduct causing stress but rather, the conduct must "go beyond all possible bounds of decency, and... be regarded as atrocious, and utterly intolerable in a civilized community." Sere v. Group Hospitalization, Inc., 443 A.2d 33, 37 (D.C. App.), cert. denied, 459 U.S. 912 (1982). The plaintiff need not have experienced physical injury in order to recover for intentional infliction of emotional distress, but the severity should be such that "no reasonable person could be expected to endure it." Restatement (Second) of Torts 46 comment j at (1977). The intensity and duration of the distress are factors which are considered in determining its severity. Id. Defenses: Under Pennsylvania law, a plaintiff cannot recover for intentional infliction of emotional distress if the employer succeeds in showing that its conduct was not outrageous, D Ambrosio v. Pa. Nat. Mut. Cas. Ins. Co., 396 A.2d 780, 787 (Pa.Super.
14 1979), or that plaintiff s emotional distress was not sufficiently severe. Alexander v. Polk, 750 F.2d 250, 265 (3d Cir. 1984). Further, an employer is not held liable if its exercise of its legal rights in a permissible way caused the plaintiff s emotional distress. Restatement (Second) of Torts 46 comment g at 76 (1977). b. Defamation: A cause of action for defamation may arise if an employer has communicated a false statement about an employee to a third person that could be harmful to the employee s reputation. In order to establish a cause of action for defamation, the employee must show: (1) the defamatory character of the communication; (2) publication by the defendant; (3) its application to the plaintiff; (4) understanding by the recipient of its defamatory meaning; (5) understanding by the recipient of it as intended to be applied to the plaintiff; (6) special harm to the plaintiff; and (7) abuse of a conditionally privileged occasion. Miketic v. Baron, 675 A.2d 324, 327 (Pa. Super. 1996). 1) Special Harm: The plaintiff need not prove actual injury if the allegedly defamatory statement was made with knowledge of its falsity or with reckless disregard for its truth. Gertz v. Robert Welch, Inc., 418 U.S. 323, 41 L.Ed. 2d 789, 94 S.Ct (1974). Defenses: When relevant to the defense, the defendant has the burden of proving either (1) the truth of the allegedly defamatory communication; (2) the privileged character of the occasion on which it was published; and (3) the character of the allegedly defamatory
15 subject matter as being of public concern. Elia v. Erie Ins. Exchange, 634 A.2d 657, 659 (1993), alloc. denied, 644 A.2d 1200 (1994). Employer s Qualified Privilege: Pennsylvania Courts recognize the absolute privilege of the employer to publish defamatory information in notices of employee termination which are published only to the employee, Yetter v. Ward Trucking Co., 585 A.2d 1022, 1024 (1991), in warning letters, Agriss v. Roadway Exp., Inc., 483 A.2d 456, 461 (1984), and in employee evaluations, which are deemed consented to by the employee. Baker v. Lafayette College, 504 A.2d 247 (1986). Consent is an absolute privilege. Id. Some employer communications are conditionally privileged, and as such are protected from legal action. A communication is conditionally privileged when: (1) some interest of the person who publishes the defamatory matter is involved; (2) some interest of the person to whom the matter is published or some other third person is involved; or (3) a recognized interest of the public is involved. Beckman v. Dunn, 419 A.2d 583, (1980). One example of a conditionally privileged communication is the employer job reference. In many states, including Pennsylvania, employers enjoy a qualified privilege to give a defamatory reference provided that the reference is not made with malice, is limited to legitimate business interests, and is made only to persons with a legitimate interest in hearing the reference. Daywalt v. Montgomery Hosp., 573 A.2d 1116 (1990). Plaintiff can overcome an employer's conditional privilege defense by showing that the privilege was abused, through publication resulting from malice or improper purpose. Id.
16 a. Invasion of Privacy: A dismissed employee may be able to maintain a cause of action for invasion of privacy if his or her employer improperly obtained information related to the dismissal. There are two subcategories of Invasion of Privacy: 1) Intrusion: A plaintiff can establish a cause of action for intrusion if he or she can show: (1) an intentional intrusion, physical or otherwise, upon the solitude or seclusion of the employee's private affairs or concerns; (2) such intrusion would be offensive to a reasonable person; and (3) such intrusion proximately caused plaintiff damage. Restatement (Second) of Torts Sect. 652 B (1977). Most intrusion cases involve the employer's intrusion into a physical area in which the employee had a reasonable expectation of privacy, in order to obtain information about the employee. Rogers v. IBM Corp., 500 F.Supp. 867, 870 (W.D. Pa. 1980). Defenses: Consent and waiver of rights are two of the most common defenses to this cause of action. Restatement (Second) of Torts Sect. 652F (1977). The absolute privileges applicable to defamatory statements apply to intrusion. Id. 2) Public Disclosure of Private Facts: A plaintiff can establish a cause of action by showing that: (1) the defendant publicized a private matter about the plaintiff; (2) the publicity would be "highly offensive" to a reasonable person; (3) the matter is not of legitimate public concern; and (4) disclosure proximately caused damage to plaintiff
17 and injured plaintiff's feelings. Restatement (Second) of Torts Sect. 652D (1977). In order to be actionable, the publicity must involve communication to the public at large, or to so many individuals that the matter is substantially certain to become one of public knowledge. Rogers at 870. Defenses: Waiver, consent, and showing that the disclosed information was of legitimate general interest. The absolute and qualified privileges used as defenses in defamation cases may also be used here.
18 II. STATUTORY EXCEPTIONS TO AT-WILL The Core Statutes A. Federal Statutes 1. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, 42 U.S.C. 2000e, et seq. ( Title VII ), prohibits discrimination against employees and applicants for employment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy, childbirth, abortion, and related conditions) and national origin. 2. The Civil Rights Act of 1866, 42 U.S.C. 1981, prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color and ancestry or ethnic characteristics. 3. The Civil Rights Act of 1871, 42 U.S.C. 1983, prohibits anyone acting under color of state law from depriving applicants and employees of rights, privileges or immunities protected by the Constitution and laws. 4. The Civil Rights Act of 1871, 42 U.S.C. 1985(3) and 1986, prohibits two or more persons from conspiring to deprive others, on the basis of their race or other invidiously discriminatory animus, of rights and privileges secured by the Constitution and by laws that do not contain their owner enforcement provisions. 5. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, as amended, 29 U.S.C ( ADEA ), prohibits discrimination against applicants and employees who are age 40 or over. 6. The Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990, 42 U.S.C ( ADA ), prohibits discrimination against qualified individuals with a disability, against individuals who are regarded as having a disability, and against individuals who have a record of such a disability. The statute requires that reasonable accommodations be made for qualified individuals with a disability, unless to do so would be an undue hardship. 7. The Equal Pay Act of 1963, 29 U.S.C. 206(d)(1) ( EPA ), requires employers to pay males and females equal wages for equal work in jobs of equal skills, effort and responsibility performed at the same establishment under similar working conditions, except where a difference in pay is based on a seniority system, a system which awards pay on the basis of quality or quantity of work, or any other factor other than sex.
19 8) The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993, 29 U.S.C.A (West 2003): prevents termination for taking defined leave for most industries. 9) The Employee Polygraph Protection Act, 29 U.S.C.A (West 2003): prevents termination for refusing a polygraph examination. 10) The Jury System Improvement Act of 1978, 28 U.S.C.A (West 2003): prevents termination for serving jury duty. 11) The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act ( USERRA ), 38 U.S.C.A (West 2003): prevents termination of military personnel for fulfilling military duties. 12) The Criminal History Records Information Act, 18, Pa. Const. Stat. Ann (West 2003). Section 9125 governs the use of criminal records and states that felony and misdemeanor convictions may be considered by the employer only to the extent they relate to the applicant s suitability for employment in the position for which he has applied. B. Pennsylvania Statutes 1. The Pennsylvania Human Relations Act, 43 P.S. 951, et seq. ( PHRA ), prohibits the same types of discrimination as Title VII, but also prohibits discrimination on the basis of ancestry, age, and nonjob-related disabilities and the use of a guide or support animal. In addition to protecting applicants and employees from discrimination, it protects independent contractors licensed by the Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs. Notably, employer liability under the PHRA follows the standards set out for employer liability under Title VII. Ogden v. Keystone Residence, 226 F.Supp.2d 588 (M.D. Pa. 2002)(citing Goosby v. Johnson & Johnson Medical, Inc., 228 F.3d 313 (3d Cir. 2000)). 2. The Whistleblower Law, 43 P.S , prohibits retaliation, including retaliatory discharge, against employees of public bodies who report instances of wrongdoing to appropriate or who participate in such authorities investigation of wrongdoing.
20 C. Pittsburgh The Pittsburgh Code, , prohibits discrimination in employment on the basis of race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, place of birth, sex, sexual orientation, familial status, nonjob related handicap and disability. D. Philadelphia The Philadelphia Fair Practices Ordinance, of the Philadelphia Code, prohibits discrimination in employment on the basis of race, color, sex, sexual orientation, religion, national origin, ancestry, age, handicap or marital status. 1. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended by the Equal Employment Opportunity Act of 1972 and the Civil Rights Act of 1991, 42 U.S.C.A. 2000e et seq., prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, and national origin. An employer subject to Title VII is a person engaged in an industry affecting commerce who has 15 or more employees for each working day in each of 20 or more calendar days in the current or preceding calendar year, and any agent of such person U.S.C.A. 2000e (b). Title VII protections apply to employees in both the public and private sectors. An individual employee on his or her own behalf or as a class representative may bring a Title VII suit. Id. at 2000e-5(f)(1). Religious institutions are generally exempt. Id. at 2000e-1. a. Discrimination - Definition Although Title VII does not explicitly define the term discriminate, its meaning has evolved as a result of Federal and State case law but disparate treatment and disparate impact are two primary categories.