Harley v. Healthspark Found.

These consolidated cross-appeals between an employer and employees resulted from the parties’ differing interpretations of the benefits policy on vacation and personal leave. The employees argued that they earned leave benefits throughout 2001 but did not obtain the right to use them until January 1, 2002, and were not compensated for them before the employer sold its assets at the end of 2001. The employer argued that the employees did not “earn” leave benefits during 2001 because the employer’s benefits policies provided that an employee “earned” leave benefits on January 1 of a particular year. The conflict arose because a company purchased the employer, and the sale agreement included a clause that all employees would be terminated at 11:59 PM on December 31, 2001. The Pennsylvania Superior Court found that the leave policies unambiguously stated that an employee “earned” her leave benefits on January 1 and not during the prior year. Thus, when the company was sold, and the employees were terminated one minute before midnight, they had not earned leave and were not entitled to compensation. And who says that the good always comes out on top?

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