Phil Cannella Lawsuit: Phil Cannella recently became the target of a frivolous harassment and discrimination claim made against his good name. After years and years of working relentlessly to help seniors, as his business grew, he became the obvious target of jealousy and a few underhanded individuals sought to profit at his expense.
Phil Cannella Lawsuit: Phil Cannella likes to characterize himself as a man of the people, as a man who offers salvation in a sea of greedy sharks, in an industry fraught with corruption. Phil Cannella strives at every turn to find a means to reach and help more consumers, more people who can hear his message and lend his hand.
Phil Cannella Lawsuit: As Phil Cannella’s business success grew it should come as no surprise that the number of people who desired to attach themselves to him to profit at his expense also grew. Exponential growth as Phil saw in the early 2000s also saw increasing attacks against his good reputation. In this day and age people who cannot make it on their own will commit all manner of crimes in order to gain some form of personal profit.
Phil Cannella Lawsuit: It should come as no surprise that Phil Cannella, as has occurred to many businessmen and women, found themselves under attack in the form of a spurious harassment and discrimination claim. Unfortunately our justice system in the United States is designed to make it easy for employees to file such frivolous claims:
“Recent decisions by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court have made it easier for employees to file frivolous claims against Oregon employers. I frequently have to deliver the bad news to an employer that there is a double standard when it comes to recovering attorney fees in discrimination lawsuits.”
“Under the state and federal laws, a prevailing employee is entitled to receive an award of attorney fees from the employer, but the reverse is almost never true. The only hope for a prevailing employer to recover defense costs — which can easily be $100,000 or more — is by convincing the court that the employee’s claims were ‘frivolous.’ Employers are rarely successful in doing this.”
“Now, based on the new case law, an employer that wins in court can’t even recover attorney fees for frivolous claims, if they overlap with other claims that are viewed as “non-frivolous.” That was the ruling last January in a federal court in California. The employer spent $315,000 in attorney fees, and prevailed on each of the ten claims in the lawsuit. The judge found that some of the claims were frivolous, and allocated $85,000 to the employer as reimbursement for the frivolous claims. The 9th Circuit (which also governs federal cases in Oregon) reversed on appeal because the employer didn’t prove that those fees were incurred solely in defense of the frivolous claims. This month, the U.S. Supreme Court made the same ruling in another civil rights case.”
“So what can employers do to minimize the risk of a devastating loss? Many employers are surprised to learn, after it’s too late to do anything about it, that general liability insurance does not cover discrimination claims. Employment Practices Liability Insurance (“EPLI”) can be purchased, but it often comes with a large deductible (up to $50,000 or more), so it is important to know what you are buying.”
“Employers can also limit the impact of litigation by requiring new employees to sign arbitration agreements as a condition of being hired. Under these agreements, both sides agree in advance that any employment-related claims will be resolved in arbitration rather than in court. Litigating before an arbitrator tends to be faster and less expensive than court trials.” http://www.oregonbusiness.com/contributed-blogs/5451-changing-rules-for-discrimination-lawsuits
This is our justice system at work. It is a fact we have to live with. Unfortunately there are some employers who do take advantage of employees, who do commit harassment and discrimination in the workplace and protections need to exist in order to prevent such activity from occurring. Laws must exist to protect the worker against this potential tyranny. But when the law appears to support a super-socialism where the worker can take advantage of the employer because the employer is financially more successful, then we have bad laws.
Fortunately we do have government agencies that investigate such claims, sometimes before lawsuits are filed. Such was the case with Phil Cannella where a former employee filed discrimination and harassment claims citing his age and disability. It was a tough matter for Phil Cannella to consider for he had done so much for this employee at times of need and then saw this employee turn on him as if he were the devil incarnate.
It hurts when someone you have helped so often bites in return when greed takes over and he or she wants more. This must have been the motive for the claims that were filed were evidently specious and when they were investigated by the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission they were dismissed as they lacked merit.There was just not enough substance in the claims to hold water.
Fortunately, in this case truth saw the light of day. Not all employers are so fortunate. But Phil Cannella is a man who perseveres in the face of adversity and came through at the end in this frivolous discrimination claim.