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Resolving Former Employees’ Claims Enables Restaurant to Transition to New Management

Employment law related business disputes often have a way of developing in unexpected ways.  Just when one element of a dispute seems close to resolution, a separate skirmish will break out and cause the parties to rethink their strategies.

Our litigators pride themselves on not being narrowly specialized.  Their ability to litigate disputes across a range of practice areas enables them to handle the twists and turns of a complicated fight without retaining outside specialists.  Kleinbard litigation partners Steven Engelmyer and Eric Schreiner have many years of experience handling complex commercial disputes and counseling management on employment matters.  These dual roles came in handy in a recent matter where they represented a major Philadelphia hotel in its dispute with the joint venture that leased and operated the hotel’s restaurant.

The restaurant and its bar was a successful and highly-profitable part of the hotel complex, but because of the dispute the restaurant’s operations were curtailed, resulting in the termination of  a number of its employees.  Not long after the initial litigation was commenced, the restaurant temporarily closed and terminated its remaining staff.  When the restaurant was ready to reopen under new ownership several months later, the new owner held a job fair and hired new staff.  A few members of the new staff were former employees of the old restaurant.

Five former employees of the old restaurant, who claimed that they applied for positions in the new restaurant, were not hired by the new owner.  These five employees filed discrimination claims with the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations against the hotel and the owner of the new restaurant alleging race and age discrimination based upon the restaurant’s failure to hire them.   Steve and Eric, both members of Kleinbard’s Employment law group, defended these claims. After persuasively demonstrating that the former employees’ claims lacked merit, they were able to quickly resolve all five administrative proceedings. The quick and efficient resolution of these claims allowed the new restaurant to continue its operations without the cost and management distraction of defending against administrative proceedings.