Supreme Court Will Hear Sick Leave and Building Training Cases

Supreme Court Will Hear Sick Leave and Building Training Cases

“Did the Commonwealth Court err in holding that the State Emergency Management Services Code, the State Disease Prevention and Control Act Law, the Second Class City Code, and the Home Rule Charter and Options Law failed to satisfy the “expressly provided by statute” exception, and that the City of Pittsburgh therefore lacked the authority to pass the Paid Sick Days Act and the Safe and Secure Buildings Act?”

That is the question contained in the docket sheets (here and here) of the Supreme Court as the appeals of two City of Pittsburgh ordinances proceed through the court system in Pennsylvania.  We wrote about the Commonwealth Court’s majority opinion on the sick leave ordinance in May of this year.  The Court upheld decisions of the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas on the sick leave and building ordinances–and yet the City, which has lost twice in the courts on these ordinances so far, said through a spokesman that “we welcome our day in court to defend the bills”.

The first defense was concluded in December of 2015–two years ago–when the Common Pleas Court ruled “there are limitations on the City’s authority to enact any ordinance determining any duty, responsibility, or requirement of a business or private employer.”    Then Commonwealth Court this May ruled against the City and “… brushed [the  claim aside by citing the language of the home rule law [at 2962]” regarding prohibited powers.  The City’s record in the courts in recent years has not been in its favor, with only the Commonwealth Court’s reversal of the Common Pleas Court decision on police residency, a reversal which was then reversed by the Supreme Court.