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FAQ

 

Employment Discrimination Frequently Asked Questions

Employment discrimination is a serious issue that businesses and employees throughout Conshohocken and surrounding areas must be aware of. Companies need to know what constitutes unlawful discrimination so they do not violate the law or violate the rights of workers. Employees also must understand the rules so they can ensure that they take appropriate action if their work opportunities, earning power, or benefits are affected by unlawful discrimination.

Curley & Rothman, LLC provides comprehensive help to individuals and companies with employment discrimination matters. To learn about the help that we can offer in your situation, give us a call at 610-834-8819 or contact us online to speak with a member of our legal team. You can also review some answers to common questions on employment discrimination below so you can learn more about what unlawful discrimination is, how to prevent it, and what happens when it occurs.

What protects me from on-the-job discrimination in Pennsylvania?

 On-the-job discrimination in Pennsylvania is illegal on both the state level and the federal level. There are a wide variety of anti-discrimination laws in place.  For example, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, religion, gender, and national origin.  Disability discrimination is prohibited by the federal Americans with Disabilities Act, and discrimination against older workers is prohibited by the Age Discrimination in Employment Act. State laws also provide protection as well. Find out more here about what protects you from on-the-job discrimination in Pennsylvania.

What is disability discrimination in the workplace?

Disability discrimination is illegal under state and federal laws, including the Americans with Disabilities Act. Disability discrimination prohibits employers from treating disabled workers differently in terms of hiring, firing, and terms and conditions of employment on the basis of a disability. Employees with a disability who are otherwise qualified to do the work must be treated the same as any other job candidate or as any other employee. Employers are also required to make reasonable accommodations if necessary for someone who is disabled to do the job for which he is otherwise qualified. Find out more about disability discrimination in the workplace.

How do I make my employer give me an accommodation?

Anti-discrimination laws entitle employees to reasonable accommodations under several different circumstances. People who are religious are entitled to reasonable accommodations which are necessary to make it possible for an employee to work while still exercising his religion and practicing his beliefs.  Those who are disabled are also entitled to reasonable accommodations which allow them to do their jobs despite their disability.  Employers must make accommodations under these circumstances and can face legal consequences if they fail to do so. Find out how to make an employer give you an accommodation.

What does disparate impact mean in employment discrimination?

Disparate impact discrimination is a type of employment discrimination. An employer may be guilty of disparate impact discrimination if the employer administers a test or imposes a job criteria which ends up disqualifying a more significant number of members of a protected class. An example would be a test which people of a particular race failed much more frequently.  If the test does not have a bona fide relationship to the job, the employer can be held responsible for disparate impact discrimination. Find out more about the meaning of disparate impact discrimination in employment law.

 Are you a victim of sexual harassment in the workplace?

 Sexual harassment is considered a form of unlawful discrimination. If you are a victim of sexual harassment, you have a legal claim against your employer. There are different types of sexual harassment. One type is quid pro quo harassment. In this type of harassment, some terms or conditions of a job are dependent upon acquiescence or allowance of sexual behavior or sexual advances. For example, a person who is told she will get a raise only if she goes out on a date with her boss is a victim of quid pro quo harassment.  Another type of sexual harassment is hostile work environment harassment, in which someone is subject to sexually inappropriate jokes, comments, or innuendo related to sex or gender. Both types are unlawful and victims can pursue damage claims. Find out more about how to tell if you are a victim of sexual harassment in the workplace.

 Can the company just ignore my complaints of harassment?

If you complain of harassment based on your protected status, your employer MUST take action. If your employer fails to respond appropriately and put a stop to the behavior, you can pursue legal action against your employer. Your employer can be held responsible for the creation of a hostile work environment. Find out more here about what happens if a company ignores your harassment complaints.

What kinds of cases does an employment law lawyer handle?

 An employment law lawyer handles a variety of legal cases arising from laws which govern the employer/employee relationship.  Examples of cases that an employment law lawyer can handle include claims arising from all types of workplace discrimination, such as sexual harassment, religious discrimination, or discrimination on the basis of race. Employment law lawyers can also handle other cases including wage and hour claims. Find out here about the types of cases an employment lawyer will handle.

Real Estate Frequently Asked Questions

If you are considering purchasing real estate in Conshohocken or if you are already the owner of residential or commercial real estate, it is important that you understand your rights. Landlords, tenants, property owners, buyers, and sellers all need to know how Pennsylvania laws work to protect them. You also must know what obligations are imposed upon you by PA law.  A Conshohocken real estate lawyer can help you to better understand your rights and the requirements of Pennsylvania’s real estate laws.

Getting personalized legal advice is advisable for anyone involved in a real estate purchase or transaction, as well as for anyone who has legal concerns about their rights as an owner or renter.  Curley & Rothman, LLC can offer you information and advocacy on the issues that matter to you. Give us a call today to find out more. You can also review the frequently asked questions below on real estate law to learn more about key PA laws on real estate transactions.

What are some steps you should take before buying land for development?

Before buying land for development, you must do your due diligence. This means finding out about the history of the land as well as learning about any restrictions on land use. You want to make sure the land can be used for its intended purpose.  You also want to have a survey conducted as well as a title search so you can understand exactly what you are buying when you acquire the land.  Find out more here about the steps to take before buying land for development so you can be prepared and make sure the land purchase is a good investment.

Can you qualify for low income housing tax credits?

Low income housing tax credits are available to certain real estate developers who build or improve housing facilities for people with limited incomes. In order to qualify for these credits, a certain percentage of units must be available to people with incomes below 50 or 60 percent of the area gross median income where the property is being developed. These dollar-for-dollar credits can provide substantial savings and significantly lower development costs. Find out more here about whether you can qualify for low income housing tax credits.

What zoning issues could affect your land use rights?

There are limits on how you can use your land. Zoning laws impose some of the biggest limits. Zoning laws dictate what your property can be used for and exclude some uses for properties based on the area where the property located. For example, zoning laws can prevent you from running a business in an area that is zoned residential. To find out more about how zoning laws can affect your land use rights, click here.

What are the steps of residential property tax appeals?

If you are a property owner who wants to appeal your residential property taxes, you will need to file the paperwork for an appeal. You also have to provide proof of why your property is not appraised correctly. You cannot appeal the millage rate, which is standard for the county where you live. The millage rate is applied to determine taxes based on your appraised value, so your appeal needs to focus on how much your property is worth. Find out more here about the steps you need to take to make a successful appeal of your property’s value so you can lower the taxes due.

Do I need an appraisal for residential property tax appeals?

Getting your property appraised is a good idea if you are appealing your residential property taxes.  Your appeal will only be successful if you can make a convincing case that your property is worth less than it is currently assessed for in its tax assessment. An appraisal provides you with solid proof of the value of your property so you can make a strong and compelling argument that the value should be lowered. Find out more here about why you may need an appraisal for your residential property tax appeal to be a success.

Does tenant law help to ensure apartments are habitable?

If you are renting an apartment, there are laws that protect you. If your landlord fails to comply with the rules and requirements and your apartment is not habitable as a result, there are a variety of legal remedies which could be available to you. For example, one option could involve withholding rent and using rent money to make essential repairs. Find out more here about the landlord tenant laws that help to ensure your apartment is a safe and comfortable place to live.

Should landlords get advice on landlord tenant law before an eviction?

Landlords should get advice on landlord tenant law before an eviction, because landlords must follow proper protocol. This includes providing adequate notice to tenants who are being evicted.  An experienced attorney can guide landlords through the process of eviction so they can get problem tenants out of rental properties as quickly as possible while complying with all of their legal obligations. Find out more here about why it is important to get advice on landlord tenant law before an eviction happens.

Do I need a lawyer for real estate transactions?

It is a good idea to have a lawyer for any real estate transactions. Real estate is a substantial investment and you want to ensure that you do your due diligence and make smart choices before making a land purchase. Find out more here about the many reasons why hiring an attorney is an important part of the purchase process.

Corporate Law Frequently Asked Questions

Corporate law is the body of law that establishes both rights and obligations of business enterprises. Corporate law does not only apply to organizations that have officially incorporated. Partnerships, LLCs, LLPs, and even sole proprietorships need to understand how corporate law governs their duties and their role within the business world. Corporate law can protect companies and provide them with the stability necessary to make a business into a success. Corporate law also imposes certain responsibilities on professional entities to ensure they live up to their obligations to employers, consumers and the public at large.

The field of corporate law can involve both transactional law, in which businesses are advised on things like risk mitigation and business decision making, as well as corporate litigation in which disputes are resolved. The Conshohocken, PA corporate law attorneys at Curley & Rothman, LLC provide legal representation to clients with all of their corporate law issues. We can advise you on reducing the chances of litigation; protecting your company when signing contracts; responding to alleged breaches of contract; hiring workers; and otherwise working within the legal system to achieve business goals. When problems arise, we can also help you solve them through litigation, arbitration, mediation, or the negotiation of an out-of-court settlement agreement.

The best thing for any business to do when faced with a legal question or legal issues is to have a dedicated attorney on their side. We are here to offer personalized advice, so call us now if you need help. We’ve also prepared some answers to frequently asked questions in order to provide more insight into what your rights and obligations are and whether you need a lawyer. Review the answers to FAQs below and reach out to us when you’re ready to take the next step in making the system of corporate laws work for you.

Are the various business structures taxed differently?

There are different types of business structure, including sole proprietorship; partnership; limited liability company (LLC); limited liability partnership (LLP); S-corporation; and C-corporation. There are many fundamental differences between the different business structures. One key difference is how the business structures are taxed. C-corporations are structured so the business pays taxes on profits. When funds are distributed to the owners, owners are taxed as well- so there is the chance of double taxation. Other types of business entities, like S-corporations, do not create a double taxation risk. For many types of business structures, profits and losses can pass through and be declared on the tax returns of owners. Learn more about the tax implications of different business structures.

Should I form a partnership?

If you and someone else want to do business together as co-owners, you will need a business structure that makes this possible. Many people form partnerships when they co-own a business because it is easier to start a partnership than to create certain other types of business entity. Unfortunately, the downside is that all partners are at risk of great financial loss, including at risk of losing personal assets, because there are no liability protections when a partnership is created. Learn more here about whether you should form a partnership.

What are general partnerships?

General partnerships are a method of business ownership in which partners co-own a business together. All partners are liable for losses incurred by the business and there is no protection from liability for any partner. Profits and losses from the company pass through to partners, who declare the profits and losses on their personal tax returns. Learn more here about general partnerships.

How do you resolve a business dispute?

When a disagreement arises in the business world, there are different possible ways to resolve it. One option is litigation, but this is usually a last resort. Litigation can result in bad publicity for companies involved. It can take a long time, can be very expensive, and could result in an undesirable outcome that does not satisfy any of the parties in the dispute. Other options could include arbitration and mediation. Arbitration is legally binding with an arbitrator making decisions, while mediation is usually voluntary and cooperative and can help to preserve important business relationships and achieve better outcomes. Learn more here.

Is there pressure to settle commercial litigation out of court?

Settling commercial litigation out of court can be beneficial because it can keep your dispute private and you may be able to find an amicable way to resolve conflict. However, you should not settle a case outside of court unless you are happy with the settlement offer and you should not settle unless you believe it is not worth litigating to try to get a better outcome. Learn more here about whether there is pressure to settle commercial litigation out of court.

How do I know if a material breach of contract has occurred?

When your company enters into a contractual agreement, corporate and contract law both require that the agreement be fulfilled. If either party fails to full contractual obligations, this failure can be considered a breach. There are both material and non-material breaches that occur. A material breach occurs when the failure to perform undermines the whole essence of the contract, goes to the heart of the agreement, and affects the fundamental purpose of the contract. A non-material breach occurs when the failure to perform relates to a minor contractual provision or something tangential to the contract’s main point. Learn more here about how to know when a material breach occurs.

Employment Law Frequently Asked Questions

Employment law is a broad and complex area of law which governs many aspects of the relationship between employers and employees. For companies, having good employees is essential for the success of the business and workers must be trustworthy and refrain from harmful actions like exposure of trade secrets. For employees, it is imperative they are paid a fair wage for their work and that they have the opportunity to succeed on their merits and be free from discrimination or abusive workplace behavior.

Both employers and employees need to understand their rights and their obligations under Pennsylvania state laws and applicable federal employment laws. Curley & Rothman, LLC provides legal representation to both employees and employers. If you want assistance mitigating the risk your company faces or need representation in a lawsuit, our legal team can help. If you’re an employee and you believe your rights are being violated, that you were wrongfully terminated, or that your employer has otherwise treated you unfairly in violation of labor or worker protection laws, we can assist in exploring legal options.

There is no substitute for comprehensive legal advice specific to your situation when you have employment law questions. However, it can sometimes beneficial to review basic information on Pennsylvania employment law to determine if you may need to contact a lawyer. Our legal team has prepared some answers to frequently asked questions in order to help you find out more about how PA employment law applies to you. Browse the questions and answers, and give us a call if you believe you may need legal help from a qualified attorney.

Am I allowed to negotiate my employment contract?

In PA, some employers choose to use employment contracts when hiring workers, although there is no requirement to do so. An employment contract is a private contract between an employee and the company. The contract should be enforced, as long as no provisions are in violation of public policy and as long as the contract meets legal requirements for the creation of a valid agreement. You can negotiate the terms of this contract, and often you should try to do so to protect your interests. However, an employer is under no obligation to change contract terms they do not wish to alter. Learn more here about negotiating employment contracts.

What protections do employees have from on-the-job discrimination in PA?

Employees have protection from discrimination under both federal and state laws. For example, Title VII prohibits discrimination in hiring, firing, and terms of condition of employment based on gender, race, religion, color, or national origin. There are also other state and federal laws prohibiting discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, disability status, and advanced age. To learn more about what protects you from on-the-job discrimination in PA, click here.

Can a company ignore complaints of harassment?

If you are being harassed in the workplace, you should report the harassment and you should document all correspondence demonstrating that you have made reports. Ideally, your company should have a specific system or protocol in place for filing harassment complaints- but if it doesn’t, you should let a supervisor or HR know about the problems you are having. Once you report harassment, your company can ignore you- but doing so leaves the company open to a lawsuit. Learn more about a company’s obligations to address harassment.

How do I make an employer give an accommodation?

The law requires employers to make a reasonable effort to make accommodations to certain workers, such as when accommodations must be made to allow an employee to practice his or her religion or to make it possible for someone with a disability to do a job. If you believe you are entitled to an accommodation from your employer due to your protected status, you will need to do research into the reasonability of your proposal. Consider whether the employer could make your suggested accommodations without unduly burdening other staff members and/or undermining company productivity. Present information about a desired accommodation and work with your employer to find a solution that works. Learn more here about how certain workers should be given an accommodation and about how to convince your employer to give you one.

Can I be fired for no reason in Pennsylvania?

PA is an employment at will state, so you can be fired for no reason in Pennsylvania. However, if you have an employment contract in place, the contract may take you out of the at will arrangement and provide specific rules for when and how you can be fired. If you have an employment agreement, the employer has to follow it and can’t just fire you for no reason. An employer also can’t fire you for a prohibited reason, like because of your race or because you reported a work injury. Learn more here about the rules for when employees can be fired for no reason.

Can a company refuse to pay severance?

PA is an employment at will state, so employers are generally allowed to fire you or let you go at any time for any reason or no reason at all. When an employer terminates you, the employer isn’t required to offer you a severance package. However, if you have an employment contract in place, that contract may require severance to be paid. If you and your employer voluntarily entered into a legally valid employment agreement that entitled you to severance, your company cannot refuse to pay it. Learn more here about your company’s obligations when it comes to a severance package.