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On December 6, 2018, Philadelphia City Council approved the Fair Workweek Ordinance by a vote of 14-3. Following its passage by City Council, Mayor Kenney reiterated his support and his intention to sign the Ordinance into law. Even if Mayor Kenney vetoed the Ordinance, City Council could override the veto with 12 votes- which it currently has. In sum, it appears that Philadelphia will have a Fair Workweek for 130,000 employees in the retail, food service, and hospitality industries.

In our October 3rd entry, we addressed the pending Fair Workweek Ordinance, currently being considered by Philadelphia City Council. The proposed Ordinance aims to provide predictable work schedules for Philadelphia’s 130,000 employees in the retail, food service, and hospitality industries and to help reduce the 26% poverty level in Philadelphia.    

In June 2018, Philadelphia City Councilmember Helen Gym introduced legislation designed to improve predictability in scheduled shifts for employees in the retail, hospitality, and food services sector – the second largest sector of the Philadelphia economy. The proposed “Fair Workweek” ordinance requires employers to provide advance notice of work schedules; pay additional compensation for changes to an employee’s scheduled shift; permit employees to take 11 hours off between shifts; and offer work to existing employees before hiring new employees. Employers would also be prohibited from retaliating against an employee for invoking any of these rights. The Fair Workweek Ordinance would apply to large businesses in the retail, hospitality, and food services sector that employ 250+ people and have at least 20 locations worldwide.

For the first time, a court used a civil rights law to hold a school district financially accountable in a case of student bullying.

On June 12, 2018, the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry (“DLI”) submitted a proposed rulemaking to amend the regulations that exempt executive, administrative, and professional (EAP) salaried workers from overtime requirements under the Minimum Wage Act of 1968.

According to the late great Tom Petty, “the waiting is the hardest part.” The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania (the “Court”), however, begs to differ with The Heartbreakers’ leading man. After waiting for over a year to receive a decision from the aforementioned Court with respect to the constitutionality of Pennsylvania’s Wage Equity Ordinance (the “Ordinance”), employers are left with more questions than answers.[1]

[1] On December 8, 2016, Philadelphia City Council passed Philadelphia Bill No. 16084 which was the Ordinance in its original iteration. The Ordinance was signed into law by Mayor Jim Kenney on January 23, 2017. It was to take effect on May 23, 2017. On April 6, 2017, The Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia filed a federal lawsuit challenging the Ordinance as unconstitutional in violation of businesses’ First Amendment rights, and also sought a Preliminary Injunction enjoining enforcement of the Ordinance. Thereafter, the Court entered a stay as to enforcement of the Ordinance, and, after extensive briefing and oral argument on the matter, the Court issued its ruling on April 20, 2018.

Last month, the Pennsylvania Superior Court weighed in on its position regarding overtime calculation under the “fluctuating workweek” method. The Court affirmed that the use of this method to determine the amount of overtime owed violates the Pennsylvania Minimum Wage Act (PMWA), even though this method is permitted under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). This dichotomy is sure to raise questions for Pennsylvania employers paying non-exempt employees a weekly salary.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court (the “Supreme Court”) has taken the “whistleblowers be made whole” purpose of the Pennsylvania Whistleblower Law, 43 P.S. §§1421-1428, (the “PAWL”) to the next level in its March 27, 2018 decision in Bailets v. Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, No. 126-2016, ___ A.3d ____, 2018 WL 1516785 (Pa. 2018).

Last Month, in Gateway Sch. Dist. V. Gateway Educ. Ass’n, 783 C.D. 2017 (Pa. Commw. Ct. Feb. 28, 2018), a Pennsylvania court affirmed an arbitration decision holding that a retired teacher could add his same-sex spouse to his retirement benefits after his retirement.

The national and international spotlight on pay equity is getting brighter by the day.  By way of illustration, this post explores two laws that took effect on January 1, 2018, one in California and one in Iceland, and a wage equity ordinance in Philadelphia that is currently being challenged on constitutional grounds.  These are just examples of the much larger trend at the local and state level in the United States, as demonstrated by the Fisher Phillips Pay Equity Map. This trend can be seen around the world as more countries introduce some form of pay equity measures.  Overall, the major question that all companies should be thinking about is: does the salary reflect the job position, not the person who is filling the position? 

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