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Harold Mark Goldner

Harold Goldner’s Answers

166 total

  • I am an at-will employee in Pennsylvania and reported that I'm suffering from Depression to my employer. Is it legal to fire me?

    I am a VP-level Exec at a major multi-billion Pharma company that fired me after years of loyal serveice without warning or severance.

    Harold’s Answer

    A disability, even a mental disability such as depression, cannot serve as a basis for employment decisions so long as you are able to perform "the essential functions of your job." This is so under both PA law and Federal law.

    An employment lawyer will need to assess the extent of your depression and whether it in fact impaired you, as well as whether with an appropriate accommodation you would have been able to continue to perform the essential functions of your position. It's not a question which can be answered on the web.

    If the employer merely fired you after learning of your depression, that would more likely suggest discriminatory intent, especially if there were no performance issues or other workplace problems extent before the termination.

    You've got 4 qualified answers here; the next step is yours.

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  • Can I sue a funeral home director or my employer for accusations,comments, actions such as suspension termination?

    An elderly resident on dementia unit was found on floor blackish/blue discoloration on 40 % body. I was supervisor (RN) and called to check resident as charge nurse said res. already dead. Resident was indead dead. Elapsed time since 1 hour since ...

    Harold’s Answer

    There is nothing you can do proactively to intervene in whatever investigation or action your employer takes. If you aren't terminated or disciplined, then whatever else happens is extraneous and not your problem. If any action is taken that could affect your license, you have procedural rights regarding the licensing, and you should seek legal counsel right away.

    If what you're asking is "can I sue my employer if they tell lies about me" then the answer is, generally, "no." Pennsylvania is an at-will state in which, unless you are a union member subject to a collective bargaining agreement (which you didn't mention), you can be fired at any time for a good reason, bad reason or no reason at all. You can be fired because your employer *believes* you are stealing even if you aren't. Thus, if the nursing home elects to blame you for this death and terminate you accordingly, you will have no remedy against them, unless the *real* reason for your termination is because of your age, sex, religion, nationality, race or disability (which doesn't appear to be the issue here either).

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  • What is the best to explain to PA unemployment the reason for Involuntary Discharge?

    I was terminated because I went to work for the wrong shift, because a Lead Tech has personal issue with me she cut my hours & change my schedule 3 times & 1 week!!! She didn't notify me of the last time and never called me in to work, I didn't fi...

    Harold’s Answer

    You tell them you showed up when you were originally scheduled, but the schedule had been changed without your being told, and they terminated you. Period. They don't need a lengthy explanation. If the employer challenges the grant of benefits, they will have the burden of proving that you abandoned the position (which, obviously, they will not be able to do if your facts are accurate).

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  • Is this Wrongful termination?

    I was recently fired from my company for what they say is insubordination and disorderly conduct. I acted out one day as a result of my boss harassing me on the job. My boss said some things to me and I felt disrespected from what he had said and...

    Harold’s Answer

    You have heard from two California-based lawyers (both of whom have accurately stated the situation) and I am merely chiming in, as a Pennsylvania-based employment lawyer to reiterate the validity of what you have been told (despite your comments, all of which reinforce what has been said).

    Pennsylvania is an at-will state in which you can be terminated at any time for a good reason, bad reason, or no reason at all. You can be terminated because your employer requires you to stand on your head and spit nickels, but all you can muster are dimes. Disagreeing with a supervisor or coworker is one of the best ways to find yourself unemployed.

    Unlawful harassment is *only* harassment which is "severe and pervasive" and is based upon your sex, age (over 40), a disability, national origin, religion or race. You have raised none of these issues. Even without assessing whether you were at fault for what happened (and, frankly, it appears you are) you have no legal recourse, and, yes, insubordination may just get you knocked off the UC rolls as well, especially in PA where the bureau is making it increasingly difficult to secure benefits.

    In fact, even if the harassment were based upon any of the protected classifications I mentioned, your arguing with your boss could well serve as a legitimate non-discriminatory reason for your termination, and could effectively take your employer off the hook for unlawful discrimination.

    What happened may not have been fair; it might not even have been reasonable; but that doesn't mean it was unlawful.

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    she had a doctors note saying sit down as much as she could and her work was all done but do to company policy she was sitting on job to much

    Harold’s Answer

    If she was able to perform all of the essential functions of her job with or without an accommodation such as additional time seated, then she might have been a qualified individual with a disability. Had she been the victim of disability discrimination, that would have violated both the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act (if she was one of at least 4 employees) or the Americans with Disabilities Act (if she were one of at least 15 employees).

    However, both statutes require that a claimant first exhaust their administrative remedies before filing a lawsuit by filing a formal charge of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission. Those charges must be filed within 300 days of termination, which is close to 10 months.

    So you are at least two years late in even contemplating any cause of action.

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  • How long does a person have to file an age discrimanation suit against a company after the offense has happened?

    I was told by my superviser that I was to old to be promoted, that I didn't fit into the future plans of the company. I am 55

    Harold’s Answer

    Before filing any law suit for age discrimination, you are required to file an administrative charge with either the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (and it is advisable that whichever agency you file, you elect to "cross-file" with the other agency, although your complaint will be investigated by the agency with which you file.)

    To protect both state and federal rights, you will want to file that charge of discrimination within 180 days of the discriminatory event. The advantage to preserving both state and Federal rights is that state claims are not subject to a damages cap whereas Federal claims are; on the other hand, you have no right to a jury trial for state claims, but you do for Federal claims.

    If you believe you have been discriminated against because of your age, you should confer with a Pennsylvania employment lawyer sooner, rather than later, especially if you were also given a severance package which typically includes a release of all claims ---- and depending upon whether you alone are being discharged or it's a general reduction in workforce, you should be permitted 21-45 days to review the package, and 7 days to revoke your approval.

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  • Can my employer fire me because I had an injury to my back that will prevent me from performing the same functions at work?

    I fell off my roof and shattered some vertebrae, have been hospitalized and undergone an operation. But now heavy lifting is out of the question. But there are other jobs within the company I can perform. Under the Pennsylvania and Federal Labor...

    Harold’s Answer

    You haven't really provided enough information with which I can make a thorough assessment of your claim, and just like you were actually physically examined by a physician after your injury, you should meet with an employment attorney in person to fully understand your rights.

    In general, The Americans with Disability Act and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act provide that qualified individuals with disabilities who are able to perform the essential functions of their job with or without accommodation. An accommodation does not require your employer to "find you a different job." If you can't perform YOUR job, then, no, you may not be able to hold that job interminably. If your employer is large enough (50 or more employees within a 75 mile radius), you may be provided FMLA leave of up to 12 weeks (not necessarily paid, however). If not, your employer is completely within its rights to terminate your employment, and end insurance coverage (or provide an extension which you pay for in accordance with COBRA.)

    For a more thorough response that is responsive to ALL of the facts of your case, contact an employment lawyer.

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  • Who can I talk to about a claim against Walmart for discrimination?

    While on personal leave I was fired from Walmart. They called me 3 months into my personal leave to fire me. I took the leave because just prior to this I was harassed by several managers for taking partial medical leave for a condition that I h...

    Harold’s Answer

    The FMLA provides for up to twelve weeks of leave for a serious health condition of you or an immediate family member. Your job must be held by an employer of more than 50 employees (and Walmart definitely qualifies) if you are eligible for leave (meaning, you've been at the employer at least a year during which you worked at least 1250 hours).

    Your question implies that you had already exhausted the 12 weeks ("they called me 3 months into my personal leave") which means they didn't have to hold the job. Secondly, you get ONLY twelve weeks, some of which you had apparently already used up ("taking partial medical leave for a condition that I have.")

    While, as others say, it is possible there is a disability discrimination component to the case, for which you should speak with an employment lawyer, it at least appears from your question that you had exhausted FMLA leave, and Walmart was not obligated to hold the position for you any longer.

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  • Back to work after FMLA off again for another problem I am afraid they will fire me

    I was off work on FMLA for a torn achellies....returned to work because my time was up...I worked 13 days and have to go off again for stress fracture of the same foot....At this point I am not sure how long I will be off..maybe 6-8 weeks more... ...

    Harold’s Answer

    Mr. Davey has provided you a good overview of the Family and Medical Leave Act.

    What's missing from your question (and the reason neither he nor I can specifically respond) is that you haven't said how much of your 12 weeks you used up due to the torn achilles, and over what period. If, like Mr. Davey suggests, you used up 12 weeks for the achilles injury within the last year, *no*, you cannot take any additional leave this year. If you used up less than 12 weeks for the achilles injury, you can take up to an AGGREGATE of 12 weeks for the stress fracture.

    You don't get an "automatic" grant of FMLA for the stress fracture just because you got FMLA for the achilles injury, and you don't get 12 weeks of leave "per injury," only "per year."

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  • How do i prevent my father from getting fired when he whistleblow wrong doings by others in his store.

    I am an extreme couponer and i was shopping at the supermarket my father works at using tips and blogs from online to get groceries and supplies for my local women's shelter and other charities. I would use my coupons from sunday papers and from ...

    Harold’s Answer

    And now your answer from a Pennsylvania employment lawyer.

    First of all, your father does not have a Whistleblower claim under PA law. The PA Whistleblower Act only applies to employees of essentially PUBLIC employers (or private employers engaged in government contracts) who report conduct which wastes taxpayers' money. This is most assuredly NOT such a case.

    Secondly, I'm quite certain that employees are clearly instructed that they are not permitted to allow family members to use their discounts, or at least use them outside specific limitations. I have personally handled several cases of discharged employees from other chains who enabled their family members to utilize coupons excessively.

    Thirdly, why on EARTH would you want to put your father in this position?

    Neither you nor your father have any claim cognizable under PA law. It's not a legal matter at all; I would suggest you exercise a little better judgment next time.

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