Pennsylvania has several employment laws that apply to employers and employees.
Some of the key employment laws in Pennsylvania include:
- Minimum Wage: The minimum wage in Pennsylvania is $7.25 per hour, the same as the federal minimum wage.
- Overtime: Employees in Pennsylvania are entitled to overtime pay at a rate of 1.5x their normal pay rate for all hours worked more than 40 hours in a workweek.
- Child Labor: Pennsylvania has laws regulating minors’ employment, including restrictions on the types of jobs they can perform and the number of hours they can work.
- Discrimination and Harassment: It is illegal in Pennsylvania to discriminate against or harass an employee based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, or other protected characteristics.
- Leave: Pennsylvania has several laws that provide for employee leave, including the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which provides for unpaid leave for certain medical and family reasons, and the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act, which provides for paid leave for employees who are injured on the job.
- Unemployment Insurance: Pennsylvania provides unemployment insurance benefits to eligible employees who are out of work through no fault of their own.
These are just a few examples of the employment laws that apply in Pennsylvania. If you have any other specific questions about employment laws in the state, keep reading.
What is “At-Will” Employment in Pennsylvania?
In Pennsylvania, as in most states, employment is generally considered “at-will,” meaning that either the employer or the employee can terminate the employment relationship at any time, for any reason (with some exceptions).
This is in contrast to “for-cause” employment, where the employer can only terminate the employee for specific, legally-defined reasons, such as misconduct or poor job performance.
There are a few exceptions to the at-will rule in Pennsylvania.
For example, an employer cannot terminate an employee for violating a written employment contract or for a discriminatory or retaliatory reason.
Additionally, public employees in Pennsylvania may have certain due process rights that protect them from being terminated without cause.
It’s important to note that even in an at-will employment relationship, an employer must still follow all applicable employment laws, such as those prohibiting discrimination and harassment.
If you believe your at-will employment has been terminated illegally, you may have legal remedies available.
Pennsylvania’s Wage & Hour Laws
Pennsylvania has several laws that govern the payment of wages and hours worked by employees in the state.
Some of the key wage and hour laws in Pennsylvania include:
- Minimum Wage: The minimum wage in Pennsylvania is $7.25 per hour, which is the same as the federal minimum wage. Some cities and counties in Pennsylvania have enacted higher minimum wage laws, which take precedence over the state minimum wage.
- Overtime: Employees in Pennsylvania are entitled to overtime pay at a rate of 1.5x their normal pay rate for all hours worked more than 40 hours in a workweek. There are a few exceptions to this rule, such as for certain types of workers exempt from overtime pay, but these exemptions are narrow and limited.
- Meal and Rest Breaks: Pennsylvania has no laws requiring employers to provide employees meals or rest breaks. However, if an employer chooses to provide such breaks, they must pay the employee for any breaks that are less than 20 minutes.
- Payday: Pennsylvania law requires employers to pay their employees at least twice monthly and provide written notice of the payday and the payment method. Employers must also provide employees with a statement of their earnings, deductions, and net pay.
- Record Keeping: Pennsylvania employers are required to keep accurate records of the hours worked and wages paid to their employees. Upon request, these records must be made available to the employee and kept for at least three years.
What is Considered a “Hostile Work Environment” in Pennsylvania?
A “hostile work environment” is a type of workplace harassment that occurs when an employee is subjected to abusive, offensive, or otherwise hostile behavior that is severe or pervasive enough to interfere with their ability to do their job.
To be considered a hostile work environment, the harassment must be based on protected characteristics such as race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, or other characteristics protected by law.
In Pennsylvania, the law prohibits employers from allowing a hostile work environment to exist or to continue. This means that if an employee complains about harassment or a hostile work environment, the employer has a legal duty to take reasonable steps to prevent the harassment from continuing.
Examples of conduct that might create a hostile work environment in Pennsylvania could include derogatory comments or slurs, physical threats or assaults, unwanted physical contact, or persistent teasing or ridicule.
It’s important to note that a single incident may be sufficient to create a hostile work environment, depending on the severity of the incident.
If you believe you are experiencing a hostile work environment in Pennsylvania, you may have legal options available, including the right to file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or to bring a lawsuit against your employer.
What Should I Do About a Hostile Work Environment in Pennsylvania?
If you are experiencing a hostile work environment in Pennsylvania, there are several steps you can take to try to address the situation:
- Report the harassment: First, you should report the harassment to your employer or a designated company representative, such as a human resources manager. Your employer has a legal duty to take reasonable steps to prevent the harassment from continuing, and reporting the problem is the first step in holding your employer accountable for addressing the situation.
- Keep a record: It can be helpful to keep a record of the harassment, including the dates and details of the incidents, any witnesses, and the names of any individuals who have been involved in or witnessed the harassment. This can be useful evidence for further action to address the situation.
- Seek support: If you are experiencing a hostile work environment, it can be emotionally and mentally challenging. Contacting friends, family, or a support group for emotional support and guidance is important.
- Consider your options: If the harassment does not stop after you have reported it to your employer, or if you are uncomfortable reporting the harassment to your employer, you may have other options. These could include filing a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), seeking the assistance of an employment lawyer, or bringing a lawsuit against your employer.
It is important to remember that you have the right to work in a safe and non-hostile environment and that you do not have to tolerate harassment or discrimination in the workplace.
If you are experiencing a hostile work environment in Pennsylvania, resources are available to help you address the situation and protect your rights.
Should I Talk to a Lawyer?
If you think your rights as an employee have been violated or are an employer with questions about Pennsylvania law, you should contact an experienced Pennsylvania employment attorney in your area on LegalMatch.
Your attorney can provide you with the legal guidance, information, and representation needed for your particular employment law issue.