Folkman Law Attorney Quoted in Phila. Inquirer Article

On Friday, September 6, 2019, Folkman Law attorney Eve R. Keller, Esquire was quoted in a Philadelphia Inquirer article, “Haverford Officials to Meet in Public for the First Time Since Shutting down Bon Air Fire Company over Proud Boys Controversy.” The article, written by Katie Park, examines the closing by Haverford Township, Pennsylvania of the Bon Air Fire Company following its refusal to to part with a volunteer who had admitted he tried to join the extremist organization Proud Boys.

In the article, Park writes

The Proud Boys, which operate by the principles that they are “Western chauvinists who refuse to apologize for creating the modern world” and “long for the days when girls were girls and men were men,” have a history of members sharing white nationalist and xenophobic rhetoric. Members were present at the “Unite the Right” white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va., in 2017. …

The dispute between the town and Bon Air is pitting Haverford’s antidiscrimination policy and First Amendment rights against each other, Eve R. Keller, an associate attorney specializing in employment and labor law at Folkman Law Offices in Cherry Hill, said Friday.

“Sometimes local municipalities will craft their own antidiscrimination policies that go beyond what is in place by the federal government or the state, and that’s the case for Haverford,” she said. “They have their own ordinance that guarantees fair and equal treatment under the law to all people of the township.”

“While there’s First Amendment rights that people enjoy, there’s a balancing act between the First Amendment — freedom of association, freedom of speech — and then antidiscrimination policies,” Keller continued. “And so this is sort of a case where these things have come up against each other, where the antidiscrimination policies in Haverford Township, which the township is trying to enforce, is sort of knocking up against the potential First Amendment rights of this volunteer firefighter.”

The case, she said, appears to be an uncommon one.

If Bon Air was to challenge the town in court, she said, it could allege a violation of contract — if one exists — or if there is evidence that residents are not being served because the company is no longer in service.

Alternatively, Keller said, [the firefighter]could potentially allege a violation of his First Amendment rights.

“There are limitations on those First Amendment rights,” Keller said. The township “can infringe on those sort of rights if they have a compelling interest. And one of those compelling reasons is antidiscrimination policies.”

If you or a loved one has been the victim of discrimination, contact the experienced lawyers at Folkman Law Offices, P.C. to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case by calling 856-354-9444, or submit an online inquiry. Our offices are conveniently located in Cherry Hill, New Jersey and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to assist clients throughout the area.