Court Tosses PA Shutdown Mandate

In the first such decision rendered since the coronavirus pandemic first struck the U.S. back in March, a federal court in Pittsburgh ruled early this week that a statewide shutdown and stay-at-home order issued by the governor of Pennsylvania is unconstitutional. U.S. District Court judge William Stickman IV found that despite being well-intentioned, the order…

Read More »

Granting Small Business $urvival

In the face of the coronavirus pandemic, states and local communities are taking dramatically different approaches to helping small businesses recover from the shutdown and the general economic turmoil that the pandemic has yielded. In that vein, several have announced small business grant and loan programs in the past (New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts and…

Read More »

Other State Issues to Note

Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont last week issued an Executive Order that creates a rebuttable presumption in the Nutmeg State that any employee who contracts the COVID-19 virus likely did so in their workplace. In such an instance, the employer has every right to deny the worker’s claim however under the language of EO 7JJJ, the…

Read More »

Independent Joe #62 May/June 2020

What a difference a day makes. Or to update that rhetorical message, what a difference three months makes. Yes, it was just three short months ago when states like Florida, Texas, Arizona and a host of others across the south and southwest were seemingly enjoying some inexplicable level of immunity from the coronavirus pandemic. Businesses…

Read More »

Family Values Forge the Foundation for this Pennsylvania Franchise Group

When Don and Annette Miller opened their first Dunkin’ Donuts 40 years ago in western Pennsylvania, they never anticipated it would be the first of a network of successful family-run stores. Franchising wasn’t even part of the young couple’s plans at the time, but when Don lost his job unexpectedly, they heeded the nudge of…

Read More »

Renewed Effort for Liability Shields

Prompted largely by a spike in the number of coronavirus lawsuits filed against businesses, efforts to create federal liability protections have been resurrected. As we’ve advised in past issues, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has called the creation of federal liability shields his “red line” for the next legislative aid package. Since May 1,…

Read More »

Pennsylvania Bill Would Lift Stay-At-Home Order

Apparently President Trump is not the only elected official itching to open the economy back up as quickly as possible. The Pennsylvania legislature passed legislation this week that would override Governor Tom Wolf’s current stay-at-home order and require the state to align with federal guidelines on which businesses will be allowed to reopen during the…

Read More »

Miscellaneous

Last week saw new unemployment claims set a new record with 3.3 million claims in one week. Well, that record didn’t last long as the Department of Labor (DOL) yesterday reported that new claims for unemployment benefits reached over 6.6 million – more than double last week’s record! To put those numbers in perspective, the…

Read More »

Pennsylvania Expands Overtime Coverage

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf had asked the legislature to reach a compromise and present him with a bill increasing the state minimum wage. The legislature couldn’t agree by the deadline Governor Wolf set and the state regulatory apparatus flexed its muscle. The state labor department proposed new increased salary thresholds for overtime exemption and the…

Read More »

Employer Liability for Marijuana Termination

Although it is still very much a developing body of law, employers must be especially cautious in the actions they take against employees who may be legally using marijuana for medical purposes. In the first state or federal decision in Pennsylvania, the Court of Common Pleas in Scranton allowed a lawsuit to proceed against the…

Read More »