Harold I. Goodman leads the employment law practice at Raynes Lawn Hehmeyer. Best Lawyers recently recognized Mr. Goodman as Philadelphia’s Employment Lawyer of the Year, and he is renowned for his work representing victims of employment discrimination. Under his leadership, the firm has achieved precedent-setting successes on behalf of our clients in cases of wrongful discharge and discrimination because of sex, race, age, or disability status. Mr. Goodman has successfully represented his clients four times before the United States Supreme Court and won all four times. He has prevailed for his clients ten times in the Pennsylvania Supreme Court and more than 40 times in the United States Court of Appeal for the Third Circuit.
Mr. Goodman starts by guiding his clients through the maze of state and federal employment law that governs workers’ rights. If those rights have been violated, Mr. Goodman is ready to take their cases to court where he has earned the respect of the bench and opposing bar.
Raynes Lawn Hehmeyer has been recognized as a 2018 Best Law Firm by U.S. News and World Report and has achieved a Philadelphia Metropolitan Tier 1 Ranking in the practice area of employment law.
What is Employment Law?
Employment law covers the laws and regulations that govern employer-employee interactions and relationships. This area of law is comprised of both state and federal laws, which dictate the rights and responsibilities of each party. For employees, these laws serve to:
- Promote safe and healthy working conditions
- Prevent Discrimination
- Prevent workplace disruption caused by disputes between employees and employers
- Establish standards which govern compensation, benefits, and contractual obligations
If you are dealing with difficult circumstances related to any of the above at your place of employment, you may have legal remedies available to you. When our employment lawyers represent our clients for employment law issues, they focus on helping our clients to secure favorable resolutions and damages.
Below is some information about some of the types of areas of employment law in which we help clients. Each section contains information about different situations that employees may face at their jobs that may form the basis of liability.
Nothing that is included here is intended to supplant the need to consult with an experienced employment lawyer. If one of the following sections describes the situation that you are facing at your job, contact us today to schedule a case evaluation to learn about the options that might be available to you.
Types of Employment Issues Where We Have Helped Clients
Here are some of the areas of the law where we have assisted clients. Click on the links below to find out more about each of the following:
- Qui Tam/ Whistleblower
- Wage and Hour
- Wrongful Termination
- Sexual Harassment
- Hostile Work Environment
- Family and Medical Leave (FMLA)
- Pregnancy Discrimination
- Negligent or Fraudulent Misrepresentations
Workplace discrimination based on a worker’s protected characteristics is prohibited under state and federal laws. Despite the law, many employers continue to engage in discriminatory conduct contrary to their workers’ protected status. The anti-discrimination laws extend to all aspects of employment, including applications, interviews, hiring decisions, bonuses, pay, advancement, layoffs, discipline, and firing. Many employment law cases involve discrimination claims.
Some states have broader anti-discrimination laws that protect additional statuses that are not protected under federal laws. The major federal laws include Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, The Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the Genetic Information Discrimination Act. Under these laws and others, the following statuses are protected:
- National origin
- Pregnancy & Child Birth
- Genetic information
- Age for workers who are 40 or older
- Citizenship status
State and local anti-discrimination laws may also protect against discrimination for additional statuses, including the following:
- Sexual orientation
- Gender identity
- Having a GED instead of a diploma
While many states do not explicitly prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, some of the most populous cities in Pennsylvania, including Philadelphia, have their own laws that prohibit it.
Discrimination in the workplace can occur in many ways that may surprise some people. For example, men can be victims of sex discrimination by women or by other men. Women can likewise be victims of sex discrimination by female supervisors. Workers may have the basis for filing discrimination claims when their employers simply believe that they are members of a protected group even though they are not. For example, if an employer believes that someone is Hispanic and discriminates against him or her on that basis, the employer may still be liable for unlawful race discrimination even if the employee is not Hispanic.
Because of the many nuances that are possible in discrimination cases, it is always a good idea for people to contact experienced employment law attorneys to determine whether their situations qualify as illegal employment discrimination. To learn more about employment discrimination, review the information on our main employment discrimination page.
Qui Tam/ Whistleblower – Protections for Whistleblowers
The state and federal governments rely on people who are willing to step forward and report illegal conduct by their employers when the government would be unlikely to discover the activities on its own. Federal and state whistleblower protection statutes are meant to encourage whistleblowing by providing financial incentives for certain whistleblowers when the government can recover money from the employers that have violated the law. Whistleblower laws also protect workers who have provided reports from being fired by their employers for filing whistleblower reports.
Whistleblower protections are available when workers report their employers for engaging in activities such as fraudulently billing Medicaid or Medicare, defrauding the government in contracts, violating safety regulations, and others.
Federal whistleblower statutes exist for people who have inside knowledge of fraud against the federal government. State statutes also exist for people who report inside knowledge of fraud against the state government. Whistleblower cases are highly complex and require whistleblowers to adhere to strict guidelines. Some types of whistleblower claims require the complainants to be represented by attorneys. Even if your issue does not require that you hire an attorney, the complexity of whistleblower cases might make it necessary. If you have inside information that your employer is engaged in a massive fraud against the government or have been retaliated against after engaging in protected activities, contact us today to learn more about your potential claim.
Wage and Hour cases
Unfortunate as it may be, employers continue to violate the wage and hour laws under both state and federal laws. Some employers violate these laws by engaging in the following activities:
- Failing to pay the minimum wage
- Failing to pay overtime to statutory workers
- Not providing rest or meal breaks
- Misclassifying workers
- Deducting money from workers’ paychecks for disallowed expenses
- Paystub violations
- Failing to pay for all hours worked after termination
The attorneys at Raynes Lawn Hehmeyer represent employees who have wage and hour claims. We also undertake class action cases on behalf of groups of workers for failures to pay overtime, the minimum wage, and others. To learn more about wage and hour claims, review the information on our wage and hours page.
When a person is demoted or fired for illegal reasons, he or she may have grounds to file a wrongful termination claim. Some of the unlawful reasons can include such things as age discrimination, race or color discrimination, refusing to provide sexual favors, age discrimination, disability discrimination, religious discrimination, and others. Some employers commit wrongful terminations when they retaliate against workers for participating in protected activities.
In many wrongful termination cases, employers will argue that they fired their workers for legitimate reasons instead of for the prohibited reasons. The reasons that may be proffered by employers may be pretextual. If you believe that you have been wrongfully terminated from your job, read more on our wrongful termination page or call us today.
Sexual harassment continues to be a problem in workplaces across the United States, including in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Employers are prohibited from harassing employees based on protected statuses, including sex. This prohibition includes sexual harassment, which can take the following forms:
- Unwanted sexual advances
- Quid pro quo sexual harassment
- Unwanted touching
- Leering and lewd gestures
- Sexually abusive language
- Sending obscene emails or text messages
- Posting obscene materials in the workplace
While most people picture a male supervisor harassing a female worker, sexual harassment can happen in many different ways. Coworkers of the same sex can sexually harass victims, female supervisors can harass male employees, and clients can sexually harass workers. To learn more about sexual harassment, review the information on our sexual harassment page.
Hostile work environment
Harassment based on a protected status, including sex and the other protected categories, is unlawful when it is severe or pervasive enough to make the work environment hostile. In addition to sexual harassment, unlawful harassment includes harassment that is based on sexual orientation, disability, religion, race, age, national origin, and others.
When the harassment is severe enough that it interferes with your ability to perform the tasks of your job, you may have grounds to file a lawsuit against your employer and the harasser. This can help to prevent the person and your employer from engaging in similar conduct in the future.
Employers are prohibited from retaliating against workers for engaging in protected activities such as filing whistleblower complaints, filing a discrimination or sexual harassment complaint, performing jury duty, engaging in military service, and others. Retaliation includes adverse job actions such as demotions, denials of promotions, harassment, and terminations. To be considered to be unlawful retaliation, the action must have been in response to the worker’s lawful activities. For example, if an employer fires someone because he or she reported safety violations to OSHA, the termination may qualify as retaliation. To learn more, read the information on our retaliation page.
Discrimination based on disability
Disability discrimination is prohibited under federal and state laws. These laws protect people with many different types of mental and physical disabilities from discrimination in their jobs. Employers must offer reasonable accommodations to disabled workers when the workers request them as long as the accommodations will not place an undue financial or other burden on the employers. They must also not discriminate against the workers based on their disability statuses. To learn more about disability discrimination and your rights, read our disability page, or contact our office.
FMLA – Taking a leave of absence
There are many laws in Pennsylvania and New Jersey that protect workers and their jobs when they need to take time off from work for personal medical or family medical reasons. The federal law is the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Some states, including New Jersey, have their own distinct leave laws. However, Pennsylvanians must rely on the FMLA. Under the FMLA, employees may take up to 12 weeks of paid or unpaid leave to deal with the following situations:
- Their own serious medical conditions
- To care for their loved ones’ serious medical conditions
- Birth or adoption of a child
- Jury duty
- Military service
- Providing testimony as a witness
The FMLA only covers employers that have 50 or more employees working within a 75-mile radius of each other. Eligible employees are those who have worked for their employers for at least one year and who have worked a minimum of 1,250 hours during that time. If your company denied your request for protected leave, or you were fired because you took time off from work for one of the above-listed reasons from your covered employer, you may have legal options to remedy your injuries. Contact Raynes Lawn Hehmeyer for more information.
Discrimination based on the pregnancy status of workers has been a significant issue in workplaces for decades. Employers may fire pregnant workers because of their impending maternity leave or refuse to hire qualified workers based on their pregnancy statuses. Employers also sometimes fire pregnant workers who ask for reasonable accommodations during their pregnancies. If you believe that your employer discriminated against you because of your pregnancy, review the information on our pregnancy discrimination page to learn more.
Negligent or Fraudulent Misrepresentations
When an employer lies or makes false promises to a job applicant or an employee that lead to a lost job or other loss, he or she may have grounds to sue the employer based on its broken promise.
Under most States’ laws, including Pennsylvania and New Jersey, a communication whether in writing or verbal, that harms a person’s reputation, professionally or personally, and deters third parties from associating or dealing with him or her, are actionable. In the employment context, we represent public figures and professional employees in defamation cases when they are defamed in the press or other media, and suffer significant harm to their reputations.
Contact Raynes Lawn Hehmeyer Today
If you believe that your employer has violated your employee rights, you should talk to the employment lawyers at Raynes Lawn Hehmeyer as soon as possible. Many of these types of claims have short deadlines for filing claims. Contact us today by calling 800.535.1797.