judicialsupport

Legal Writing for Legal Reading!

Inspiring Philosophy: Refuting Objections to the Trinity (Part 2)

Saint Peter instructs believers to “[a]lways be prepared to make a defense to any one who calls you to account for the hope that is in you, yet do it with gentleness and reverence’ (1 Peter 3:15). Over the course of its existence, the Church has called the process of explaining, arguing for, and/or answering questions about, the Christian Faith apologetics (see here). Apologetics is defined as the religious discipline of defending religious doctrines through systematic argumentation and discourse. Someone who engages in apologetics is an apologist.

Perhaps my favorite apologist on Youtube is Michael Jones who creates videos for the channel Inspiring Philosophy. I find his work engaging, his arguments sound, and the topics he covers broad and interesting. As a result, I have decided to post his videos here and, as I usually do for these sorts of things, I will keep a running list of links to prior videos with each post of a new video.

Past videos:

Please be edified by this video:

Yessource: 6/29/03 – Live in Glastonbury

Here are my latest uploads to YesSource, my Yes rarities youtube page (about which you can read here).  This post is another addition to my series of Yes music posts and a collection of all my Yes-related posts is here.  Yes, of course, is a, if not the, premier progressive rock band, and I am an enormous fan of it.

You can see all of my Yessource uploads here.

My latest YesSource uploads can be found here:

Yes Albums: 11/3/97 – Keys to Ascension 2 (studio)

Here are my latest uploads to YesSource, my Yes rarities youtube page (about which you can read here).  This post is another addition to my series of Yes music posts and a collection of all my Yes-related posts is here.  Yes, of course, is a, if not the, premier progressive rock band, and I am an enormous fan of it.

You can see all of my Yessource uploads here.

My latest YesSource uploads can be found here:

FEAR AND LOATHING IN THE WORKPLACE

                What is happening in the workplace? Although the employment rate appears to be increasing, in my experience, employees are getting fired from their jobs at an alarming rate.  Many of these employees getting fired are long-term employees. Others are short-term employees, whose performance appears to be golden one minute, and the next minute they are being fired for some allegedly reprehensible, and often false, reason. My Office is always dealing with a myriad of issues involving employment and civil rights matters as they pertain to employment. We represent employees and employers at any given time. Since the recession is over, employers don’t seem particularly concerned about retaining their employees.  Since the recession is over, employees don’t seem to care about leaving one job to take another.   

On the employee side we  are assisting clients by trying to maintain their jobs, helping them make accommodation requests under the Americans With Disability Act, arranging leaves under the Family Medical Leave Act, assisting them with short-term and/or long-term disability claims, defending them against sexual harassment charges, making certain they are receiving the progressive discipline and appeal rights their handbook or company policies entitle them to receive, assisting their unions with issues regarding employee, requesting their unions to better assist them as the employees are not pleased with the representation their unions are providing, representing employees at unemployment compensation hearings, and negotiating severance packages offered by either the employer who wants the employee to leave for one reason or another, or by the employee, who wants to leave for one reason or another.

                On the employer side we are discussing with employers how to best discipline employees, how to lay off employees, how to terminate employees, what types of severance packages to offer employees, if any, what language should be included in a written release of rights, representing employers at unemployment compensation hearings, defending employers before government agencies who investigate discrimination cases and licensing agencies, and negotiating settlement agreements with these same agencies.

                The practice of law involving employment and civil rights, is very difficult.  That is because most states, including Pennsylvania, are at-will states, which means that employers don’t really need a significant reason to discharge an employee, and employees don’t need a valid reason to leave their employment. However, in general, we have been able to achieve some wonderful, and even remarkable, results for our clients. Of course, every case result depends on the facts, the people involved, and the opposing lawyer involved. However, if reasonable minds prevail, difficult situations can be for the most part negotiated and resolved, lessons can be learned, and life goes on.

                To employees I have some advice:

                Consult with an attorney even if you think you have no legal rights.

                Consult with an attorney even if your employer threatens you that they will withhold some benefit or severance if you do so.

                Keep your head about you at all times, especially when you are at combination social and business gatherings, because what you say and do, even not on the job, especially when you have had a little too much to drink, can definitely come back to haunt you.

                Be reserved on social media. Everyone does not have to know what you are always doing, what you are always thinking, or what you think of them or others. People say and do things on social media they would never think of doing at the workplace, and their actions can get them terminated from their jobs.

                To employers I have some advice:

                Make certain you are following your written policies and procedures, and in some cases, your standard patterns and practices when dealing with employees.

                Make certain that your actions are not violating the law before you take those actions.

                If it is your policy to conduct investigations of workplace problems, then conduct a broad and fair investigation. There are always two sides to every story, and be careful that the side you are listening to is not being influenced supervisors who have their own agenda. 

Do not volunteer information or provide documents to government agencies without consulting a lawyer first.

_________________

Faye Riva Cohen, Esquire is the founder and managing attorney of the Law office of Faye Riva Cohen, P.C. in Philadelphia, PA. She writes a blog called “Tough Lawyer Lady.” She represents clients in labor, discrimination, family law, real estate, and estate litigation issues. Her office is located at 2047 Locust St. in an historic brownstone. She can be reached at 215-563-7776 or at frc@fayerivacohen.com

Title VII 90-Day Right To Sue Runs From Receipt Of Email, Not From Opening It

This is from religionclause.blogspot.com which you can find here:
In Paniconi v. Abington Hospital- Jefferson Health(ED PA, May 24, 2022), plaintiff, a 62-year-old white woman and a born-again Christian had filed a race and religious discrimination claim against her employer with the EEOC.  The EEOC sent both plaintiff and her attorney a right-to-sue letter on Sept. 8, 2021, but sent it through an e-mail which merely told the recipients to check their EEOC portal for an important document.  The e-mail to the attorney did not list the client’s name or indicate that the important document was a right-to-sue letter. Title VII requires suit to be filed within 90 days after receipt of the right-to-sue letter.  Plaintiff’s attorney did not access the portal or download the letter until Sept. 13.  Suit was filed on December 8, which is 91 days after receipt of the e-mail.  The court dismissed the suit, rejecting the argument that the 90-day period should run from the date the attorney accesses the portal and downloads the letter. Instead it held that the 90-day period runs from the date the e-mail reaches the attorney’s inbox. JD Supra reports on the decision.

You can learn more about this issue here.

Inspiring Philosophy: What is the Trinity?

Saint Peter instructs believers to “[a]lways be prepared to make a defense to any one who calls you to account for the hope that is in you, yet do it with gentleness and reverence’ (1 Peter 3:15). Over the course of its existence, the Church has called the process of explaining, arguing for, and/or answering questions about, the Christian Faith apologetics (see here). Apologetics is defined as the religious discipline of defending religious doctrines through systematic argumentation and discourse. Someone who engages in apologetics is an apologist.

Perhaps my favorite apologist on Youtube is Michael Jones who creates videos for the channel Inspiring Philosophy. I find his work engaging, his arguments sound, and the topics he covers broad and interesting. As a result, I have decided to post his videos here and, as I usually do for these sorts of things, I will keep a running list of links to prior videos with each post of a new video.

Past videos:

Please be edified by this video:

Yes Albums: 11/3/97 – Keys to Ascension 2 (live)

Here are my latest uploads to YesSource, my Yes rarities youtube page (about which you can read here).  This post is another addition to my series of Yes music posts and a collection of all my Yes-related posts is here.  Yes, of course, is a, if not the, premier progressive rock band, and I am an enormous fan of it.

You can see all of my Yessource uploads here.

My latest YesSource uploads can be found here:

The Surprising Discovery About Those Colonialist, Proselytizing Missionaries

They didn’t set out to change history. But one modern scholar’s research shows they did just that.

For many of our contemporaries, no one sums up missionaries of an earlier era like Nathan Price. The patriarch in Barbara Kingsolver’s 1998 novel, The Poisonwood Bible, Price tries to baptize new Congolese Christians in a river filled with crocodiles. He proclaims Tata Jesus is bangala!, thinking he is saying, “Jesus is beloved.” In fact, the phrase means, “Jesus is poisonwood.” Despite being corrected many times, Price repeats the phrase until his death—Kingsolver’s none-too-subtle metaphor for the culturally insensitive folly of modern missions. For some reason, no one has written a best-selling book about the real-life 19th-century missionary John Mackenzie. When white settlers in South Africa threatened to take over the natives’ land, Mackenzie helped his friend and political ally Khama III travel to Britain. There, Mackenzie and his colleagues held petition drives, translated for Khama and two other chiefs at political rallies, and even arranged a meeting with Queen Victoria. Ultimately their efforts convinced Britain to enact a land protection agreement. Without it, the nation of Botswana would likely not exist today. The annals of Western Protestant missions include Nathan Prices, of course. But thanks to a quiet, persistent sociologist named Robert Woodberry, we now know for certain that they include many more John Mackenzies. In fact, the work of missionaries like Mackenzie turns out to be the single largest factor in ensuring the health of nations.

‘This Is Why God Made Me’

Fourteen years ago, Woodberry was a graduate student in sociology at the University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill (UNC). The son of J. Dudley Woodberry, a professor of Islamic studies and now a dean emeritus at Fuller Theological Seminary, started studying in UNC’s respected PhD program with one of its most influential figures, Christian Smith (now at the University of Notre Dame). But as Woodberry cast about for a fruitful line of research of his own, he grew discontented. “Most of the research I studied was about American religion,” he says of early graduate school. “It wasn’t [my] passion, and it didn’t feel
like a calling, something I could pour my life into.” One afternoon he attended a required lecture that brought his vocational drift to a sudden end. The lecture was by Kenneth A. Bollen, a UNC–Chapel Hill professor and one of the leading experts on measuring and tracking the spread of global democracy. Bollen remarked that he kept finding a significant statistical link between democracy and Protestantism. Someone needed to study the reason for the link, he said. Woodberry sat forward in his seat and thought,

That’s me. I’m the one.

Soon he found himself descending into the UNC–Chapel Hill archives in search of old data on religion. “I found an atlas [from 1925] of every missionary station in the world, with tons of data,” says Woodberry with glee. He found data on the “number of schools, teachers, printing presses, hospitals, and doctors, and it referred in turn to earlier atlases. I thought, Wow, this is so huge. This is amazing. This is why God made me.” Woodberry set out to track down the evidence for Bollen’s conjecture that Protestant religion and democracy were somehow related. He studied yellowed maps, spending months charting the longitude and latitude of former missionary stations. He traveled to Thailand and India to consult with local scholars, dug through archives in London, Edinburgh, and Serampore, India, and talked with church
historians all over Europe, North America, Asia, and Africa. In essence, Woodberry was digging into one of the great enigmas of modern history: why some nations develop stable representative democracies—in which citizens enjoy the rights to vote, speak, and assemble freely—while neighboring countries suffer authoritarian rulers and internal conflict. Public health and economic growth can also differ dramatically from one country to another, even among countries that share similar geography, cultural background, and natural resources. In search of answers, Woodberry traveled to West Africa in 2001. Setting out
one morning on a dusty road in Lomé, the capital of Togo, Woodberry headed for the University of Togo’s campus library. He found it sequestered in a 1960s-era building. The shelves held about half as many books as his personal collection. The most recent encyclopedia dated from 1977. Down the road, the campus bookstore sold primarily pens and paper, not books. “Where do you buy your books?” Woodberry stopped to ask a student. “Oh, we don’t buy books,” he replied. “The professors read the texts out loud to us, and we transcribe.” Across the border, at the University of Ghana’s bookstore, Woodberry had seen floor-to-ceiling shelves lined with hundreds of books, including locally printed texts by local scholars.

Why the stark contrast?

The reason was clear: During the colonial era, British missionaries in Ghana had established a whole system of schools and printing presses. But France, the colonial power in Togo, severely restricted missionaries. The French authorities took interest in educating only a small intellectual elite. More than 100 years later, education was still limited in Togo. In Ghana, it was flourishing.

Like an Atomic Bomb

Those who know Woodberry can easily picture him there in West Africa—a tall, lanky man searching for answers with doggedness and precision. He might double as a film-noir private detective if you tossed a trench coat on his shoulders, turned up the collar, and sent him down a dark alleyway. “It was fun to watch his discovery process,” says Smith, who oversaw Woodberry’s dissertation committee. “He collected really rare, scattered evidence and pulled it together into a coherent data set. In one sense it was way too big for a doctoral student, but he was stubborn, independent, and meticulous.” What began to emerge was a consistent and controversial pattern—one that might damage Woodberry’s career, warned Smith. “I thought it was a great, daring project, but I advised [him] that lots of people wouldn’t like it if the story panned out,” Smith says. “For [him] to suggest that the missionary movement had this strong, positive influence on liberal democratization—you couldn’t think of a more unbelievable and offensive story to tell a lot of secular academics.” But the evidence kept coming. While studying the Congo, Woodberry made one of his most dramatic early discoveries. Congo’s colonial-era exploitation was well known: Colonists in both French and Belgian Congo had forced villagers to extract rubber from the jungle. As punishment for not complying, they burned down villages, castrated men, and cut off children’s limbs. In French Congo, the atrocities passed without comment or protest, aside from one report in a Marxist newspaper in France. But in Belgian Congo, the abuses aroused the largest international protest movement since the abolition of slavery.

Why the difference?

Working on a hunch, Woodberry charted mission stations all across the Congo. Protestant missionaries, it turned out, were allowed only in the Belgian Congo. Among those missionaries were two British Baptists named John and Alice Harris who took photographs of the atrocities—including a now-famous picture of a father gazing at his daughter’s remains—and then smuggled the photographs out of the country. With evidence in hand, they traveled through the United States and Britain to stir up public pressure and, along with other missionaries, helped raise an outcry against the abuses. To convince skeptics, however, Woodberry needed more than case studies. Anyone could find the occasional John and Alice Harris or John Mackenzie, discard the Nathan Prices, and assemble a pleasing mosaic. But Woodberry was equipped to do something no one else had done: to look at the long-term effect of missionaries using the wide-angle lens of statistical analysis. In his fifth year of graduate school, Woodberry created a statistical model that could test the connection between missionary work and the health of nations. He and a few research assistants spent two years coding data and refining their methods. They hoped to compute the lasting effect of missionaries, on average, worldwide. “I felt pretty nervous,” he says. “I thought, What if I run the analysis and find nothing? How will I salvage my dissertation?” One morning, in a windowless, dusty computer lab lit by florescent bulbs, Woodberry ran the first big test. After he finished prepping the statistical program on his computer, he clicked “Enter” and then leaned forward to read the results. “I was shocked,” says Woodberry. “It was like an atomic bomb. The impact of missions on global democracy was huge. I kept adding variables to the model—factors that people had been studying and writing about for the past 40 years—and they all got wiped out. It was amazing. I knew, then, I was on to something really important.”

Cause or Correlation?

Woodberry already had historical proof that missionaries had educated women and the poor, promoted widespread printing, led nationalist movements that empowered ordinary citizens, and fueled other key elements of democracy. Now the statistics were backing it up: Missionaries weren’t just part of the picture. They were central to it. “The results were so strong, they made me nervous,” says Woodberry. “I expected an effect, but I had not expected it to be that large or powerful. I thought, I better make sure this is real. I better be very careful.” Determined to be his own greatest skeptic, Woodberry started measuring alternative theories using a technique called two-stage leastsquares instrumental variable analysis. With any statistical work, he knew, it was easy to mistake correlation for causation. There is a link, for example, between eating oatmeal and getting cancer. But that doesn’t mean that if you eat too many Quaker Oats, you’re doomed. It turns out that elderly people, who have a higher risk of cancer as such, happen to eat oatmeal for breakfast more often. In other words, oatmeal doesn’t cause cancer. In the case of missions history, Woodberry had to ask: What if missionaries moved to places already predisposed to democracy? Or what if the colonizing country—New Zealand or Australia or Britain—was the real catalyst? Like a mechanic taking apart an engine only to rebuild it, he had to counter his own theory in order to strengthen it. That meant controlling for a host of factors: climate, health, location, accessibility, natural resources, colonial power, disease prevalence, and half a dozen others. “My research assistants were entering all these variables, and the missions variable was amazingly robust,” says Woodberry. “[The theory] kept on holding up. It was actually quite fun.” Fun, but hard to believe. Woodberry’s results essentially suggested that 50 years’ worth of research on the rise of democracy had overlooked the most important factor. “When I started to present on this, no one was interested,” says Woodberry. “I’d get two people in the sessions at conferences. It was not on anyone’s radar.” When scholars did show up, Woodberry came to expect hostile questions and the occasional angry interruption. But at a conference presentation in 2002, Woodberry got a break. In the room sat Charles Harper Jr., then a vice president at the John Templeton Foundation, which was actively funding research on religion and social change. (Its grant recipients have included Christianity Today.) Three years later, Woodberry received half a million dollars from the foundation’s Spiritual Capital Project, hired almost 50 research assistants, and set up a huge database project at the University of Texas, where he had taken a position in the sociology department. The team spent years amassing more statistical data and doing more historical analyses, further confirming his theory. With these results and his dissertation research, Woodberry could now support a sweeping claim: Areas where Protestant missionaries had a significant presence in the past are on average more economically developed today, with comparatively better health, lower infant mortality, lower corruption, greater literacy, higher educational attainment (especially for women), and more robust membership in nongovernmental associations. In short: Want a blossoming democracy today? The solution is simple—if you have a time machine: Send a 19th-century missionary.

Startling for Scholars

In spite of Smith’s concerns, Woodberry’s historical and statistical work has finally captured glowing attention. A summation of his 14 years of research—published in 2012 in the American Political Science Review, the discipline’s top journal—has won four major awards, including the prestigious Luebbert Article Award for best article in comparative politics. Its startling title: “The Missionary Roots of Liberal Democracy.” “[Woodberry] presents a grand and quite ambitious theory of how ‘conversionary Protestants’ contributed to building democratic societies,” says Philip Jenkins, distinguished professor of history at Baylor University. “Try as I might to pick holes in it, the theory holds up. [It has] major implications for the global study of Christianity.” “Why did some countries become democratic, while others went the route of theocracy or dictatorship?” asks Daniel Philpott, who teaches political science and peace studies at the University of Notre Dame. “For [Woodberry] to show through devastatingly thorough analysis that conversionary Protestants are crucial to what makes the country democratic today [is] remarkable in many ways. Not only is it another factor—it turns out to be the most important factor. It can’t be anything but startling for scholars of democracy.” “I think it’s the best work out there on religion and economic development,” says Robin Grier, professor of economics and international and area studies at the University of Oklahoma. “It’s incredibly sophisticated and well grounded. I haven’t seen anything quite like it.” When Woodberry talks about his work, he sounds like a careful academic who doesn’t want to overstate his case. But you also pick upon his passion for setting the record straight. “We don’t have to deny that there were and are racist missionaries,” says Woodberry. “We don’t have to deny there were and are missionaries who do self-centered things. But if that were the average effect, we would expect the places where missionaries had influence to be worse than places where missionaries weren’t allowed or were restricted in action. We find exactly the opposite on all kinds of outcomes. Even in places where few people converted, [missionaries] had a profound economic and political impact.”

The Nations’ Educators

There is one important nuance to all this: The positive effect of missionaries on democracy applies only to “conversionary Protestants.” Protestant clergy financed by the state, as well as Catholic missionaries prior to the 1960s, had no comparable effect in the areas where they worked. Independence from state control made a big difference. “One of the main stereotypes about missions is that they were closely connected to colonialism,” says Woodberry. “But Protestant missionaries not funded by the state were regularly very critical of colonialism.” For example, Mackenzie’s campaign for Khama III was part of his 30-year effort to protect African land from white settlers. Mackenzie was not atypical. In China, missionaries worked to end the opium trade; in India, they fought to curtail abuses by landlords; in the West Indies and other colonies, they played key roles in building the abolition movement. Back home, their allies passed legislation that returned land to the native Xhosa people of South Africa and also protected tribes in New Zealand and Australia from being wiped out by settlers. “I feel confident saying none of those movements would have happened without nonstate missionaries mobilizing them,” says Woodberry. “Missionaries had a power base among ordinary people. They [were] the ones that transformed these movements into
mass movements.” He notes that most missionaries didn’t set out to be political activists. Locals associated Christianity with their colonial abusers, so in order to be effective at evangelizing, missionaries distanced themselves from the colonists. They campaigned against abuses for personal, practical reasons as well as humanitarian ones. “Few [missionaries] were in any systemic way social reformers,” says Joel Carpenter, director of the Nagel Institute for the Study of World Christianity at Calvin College. “I think they were first and foremost people who loved other people. They [cared] about other people, saw that they’d been wronged, and [wanted] to make it right.” While missionaries came to colonial reform through the backdoor, mass literacy and mass education were more deliberate projects—the consequence of a Protestant vision that knocked down old hierarchies in the name of “the priesthood of all believers.” If all souls were equal before God, everyone would need to access the Bible in their own language. They would also need to know how to read. “They focused on teaching people to read,” says Dana Robert, director of the Center for Global Christianity and Mission at Boston University. “That sounds really basic, but if you look worldwide at poverty, literacy is the main thing that helps you rise out of poverty. Unless you have broad-based literacy, you can’t have democratic movements.” As Woodberry observes, although the Chinese invented printing 800 years before Europeans did, in China the technology was used mostly for elites. Then Protestant missionaries arrived in the 19th century and began printing tens of thousands of religious texts, making those available to the masses, and teaching women and other marginalized groups how to read. Not until then did Asian authorities start printing more widely. Pull out a map, says Woodberry, point to any place where “conversionary Protestants” were active in the past, and you’ll typically find more printed books and more schools per capita. You’ll find, too, that in Africa, the Middle East, and parts of Asia, most of the early nationalists who led their countries to independence graduated from Protestant mission schools. “I’m not religious,” says Grier. “I never felt really comfortable with the idea of [mission work]; it seemed cringe-worthy. Then I read Bob’s work. I thought, Wow, that’s amazing. They left a long legacy. It changed my views and caused me to rethink.”

Sign of Greater Purposes

Skeptics remain, of course. In 2010, when Woodberry submitted his article to the American Political Science Review, the editors asked him to add case studies, run more regressions, and make all data and models public. For the article, he produced 192 pages of supporting material. “It’s a remarkable testament to his courage and endurance to get his work in a flagship journal,” says Philpott. “In order to make this
article fly, he had to leave no stone unturned and anticipate every hypothesis. It’s an article whose thoroughness outpaces any I’ve seen.” But Bollen, whose talk prompted Woodberry’s initial research (and who later cochaired his dissertation committee), offers a word of caution. “It’s an excellent study. I don’t see any particular flaw, but it’s too bold to claim as an established fact. It’s a single study. We have to see if other people can replicate it or come up with other explanations.” Yet so far, over a dozen studies have confirmed Woodberry’s findings. The growing body of research is beginning to change the way
scholars, aid workers, and economists think about democracy and development. The church, too, has something to learn. For Western Christians, there’s something exciting and even subversive about research that cuts against the common story and transforms an often ugly character—the missionary—into the whimsical, unwitting protagonist we all love to love. Woodberry would temper our triumphalism, to be sure, reminding us that all these positive outcomes were somewhat unintended, a sign of God’s greater purposes being worked out through the lives of devoted but imperfect people. Still, a little affirmation seems appropriate. As Dana Robert notes, “Bob’s research shows that the total is more than the sum of its parts. Christians collectively make a difference in society.” Looking back now, more than a century later, we see just how long that transformative difference can endure.

Written by Andrea Palpant Dilley in Christianity Today on January 29, 2014 and can be found here.

AN EMPLOYMENT DOCUMENT PRIMER III

                This blog is a continuation of my previous blogs, titled An Employment Document Primer I, which discussed documents an employee should make certain they receive when they are hired, and Primer II, which discussed documents which an employee should locate and keep copies of during the course of their employment.

This blog, Primer III, will discuss what documents an employee should make certain they receive if they are terminated, laid off, resign, and/or is offered a severance package. It will also provide recommendations for seeking information which may be useful when employment ends.

  1. Unemployment Compensation Issues:
  2. Check eligibility requirements for receiving unemployment compensation in the applicable state. If an employee resides in one state, but is employed in one or more other states, determine which state agency should receive the employee’s application for benefits. 
  3. Determine under what circumstances one is eligible to receive unemployment compensation benefits. For example, in Pennsylvania, one is presumed entitled to receive benefits if they have worked long enough to accrue certain credits, if they don’t commit willful misconduct leading to their termination from their job, if they are able to work at some job in the workplace, if they make themselves available to work, and if they don’t resign. Sometimes there are nuances of these circumstances which need to be considered.
  4. Determine if there is an offset for severance benefits.  In Pennsylvania this is a formulaic calculation which can be determined from the agency’s website. Also, the word “severance” may have various definitions.
  5. It is recommended that one consult with an attorney before applying for unemployment compensation benefits, as there are many pitfalls to this process. An employer can contest unemployment compensation, and indeed the agency itself can deny benefits.  Both of these circumstances provide an applicant with the right to a hearing, and a hearing is often conducted using legal theories and evidence rules, one should not attend a hearing without a lawyer in most circumstances where benefits will be contested.
  •  Healthcare and Other Insurance Coverage:
  • When one’s employment ends, one should make certain when their healthcare coverage is terminated or cancelled by an employer.  Ask for this information in writing. Many employees are surprised to learn that their coverage has been cancelled by their employer prior to the termination of their employment, or on a different date than they thought would occur, which may result in their incurring large medical bills not covered by insurance. 
  • An employee should determine if they will receive a COBRA notice which will give them the option to continue their health insurance coverage at their expense.
  • An employee should always explore whether they have the ability to have their employer continue coverage for other types of insurance besides health, such as short and long-term disability, life and disability, either at the employer’s expense or at the employee’s expense after their employment concludes.
  •  Severance Packages:
  • It is highly recommended that an employee have an attorney review a severance package they have been presented with by an employer. Often said package can be enhanced, either financially, or by the inclusion of language that can assist an employee in securing another job without lingering issues. Potential problems with non-compete issues, non-solicitation of customers or former employee issues, intellectual property and work product issues, return of company property issues, limitation of future employment at the former company, its affiliates, or merged company issues, tax issues, insurance issues, unemployment compensation issues, etc., can result from severance agreements.
  • A severance package can also include language requiring an employer’s cooperation with types of disability coverage an employee may apply for after their employment has ended, such as federal retirement disability, Social Security disability, or private disability coverage.
  •  Tax Issues:
  • Many financial issues involving the manner in which a severance or other payment is made to an employee, the types and amount of taxes can arise at the end of one’s employment, payment for unused sick, vacation and/or personal days, payments to attorneys, repayment of loans to an employee made by an employer, 401 k and stock option issues can arise at the conclusion of one’s employment and should be considered. 

Therefore, although one’s employment has or will conclude, there are many documents to be gathered and factors to be considered. 

_________________

Faye Riva Cohen, Esquire is the founder and managing attorney of the Law office of Faye Riva Cohen, P.C. in Philadelphia, PA. She writes a blog called “Tough Lawyer Lady.” She represents clients in labor, discrimination, family law, real estate, and estate litigation issues. Her office is located at 2047 Locust St. in an historic brownstone. She can be reached at 215-563-7776 or at frc@fayerivacohen.com

Universal Life Church Prevails In Pennsylvania Settlement Over Conducting Marriages

This is from religionclause.blogspot.com which you can find here:

In Universal Life Church Monastery Storehouse v. McGeever(WD PA, June 6, 2022), a Pennsylvania federal district court issued an Order based on a agreed settlement by the parties. The Order bars Allegheny County court personnel from telling members of the public that Universal Life Church ministers cannot solemnize marriages in Pennsylvania. the Order reads in part:

[A] government policy or practice that applies 23 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 1503 in a manner that denies, discourages, or otherwise chills the religious practice of the Universal Life Church and its ministers by proclaiming that Universal Life Church ministers have no legal authority to solemnize marriages under 23 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. §1503(a)(6) would violate the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution by (a) preferring certain religions over others in violation of the Establishment Clause, (b) burdening the Universal Life Church’s and its members’ religious practices in violation of the Free Exercise Clause, and (c) discriminating against the Universal Life Church and its members in violation of the Equal Protection Clause, to the extent the policy or practice treats Universal Life Church ministers less favorably than those similarly situated.

GoSkagit reports on the court order.

You can learn more about this issue here.

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