7 Things Job Seekers Need to Know About Pennsylvania Employment Law

Written by
Rebecca Smith

Published
Oct 24, 2018

Oct 24, 2018 • by Rebecca Smith

In 2017, Pennsylvania employees filed 4,516 charges of employment discrimination. These charges include sexual harassment, racial, gender, religion, among other types of discrimination.

How can you protect yourself from these charges?

The best way to protect yourself as a job seeker or new employee is by learning the basics about Pennsylvania employment law. You shouldn't wait until something goes wrong to learn your rights.

Want to learn and understand must-know facts about PA labor laws?

We have you covered. We'll discuss the basics about labor laws you must keep in mind as a job seeker or newly hired employee in this state.

Read on to learn more.

Pennsylvania Employment Law: What You Must-Know as a Job Seeker in This State

Learning about labor laws in Pennsylvania may seem intimidating. So we'll discuss the basics you must know about these laws in an easy to understand manner.

As a job seeker, you must learn about your rights at your place of employment. Discrimination claims aren't the only thing you should worry about. You should learn laws related to overtime, and wages as well.

Here are 7 must-know facts about PA employment laws.

1. Employers Must Maintain a Discrimination Free Work Environment

Pennsylvania labor laws require employers to treat all employees equally. As a job seeker or new employee, your employer can't treat you differently based on your race, gender, age, origin, or disability.

Your employer may not pay you less, fire, or give you different work using any of these qualities to justify their decision.

The city of Philadelphia offers protection from discrimination based on sexual orientation. This law only applies to establishments in this area.

2. You May Qualify for Unemployment Compensation Due to Job Loss

If you lose your job in the state of Pennsylvania, you may be eligible for unemployment compensation (UC). It will depend on the reason for your job loss, and how much you earned over the last 15 months. If your employer fired or laid you off due to your willful misconduct, you won't be eligible for any compensation.

The state of Pennsylvania requires legal status for all recipients of unemployment compensation. You must also be able and available to work for UC eligibility. It's recommended to contact the Pennsylvania Office of Unemployment Compensation to learn more about your eligibility for UC.

3. Employers Are Responsible for Workplace Injuries

Labor laws in Pennsylvania make employers responsible for any employee injuries suffered at the workplace. Your employer will be responsible for the payment of all your medical bills due to the injury. This applies regardless of the legal status of the employee.

When an employee is out of work for over one week due to a workplace injury, the employer should pay them a portion of their salary. In order to receive these benefits, it's essential to inform your employer about your injury as soon as you suffer it.

4. You May Be Eligible for Family and Medical Leave

PA labor laws offer the option for employees to take up to 15 weeks of unpaid leave. You may request a family leave to take care of your spouse, child or parent who is suffering a serious health condition. Also, you are eligible for this unpaid leave to take care of your own health illness.

This law doesn't apply to all employers in the state of Pennsylvania. Businesses that have at least 50 employees must comply with these family and medical leave laws. To be eligible for this benefit, you must have worked a minimum of 1250 hours at that business for at least the last 12 months.

Pennsylvania law requires you provide your employer at least 30 days notice for your medical leave. If you learn all of sudden about the illness, you must notify your employer as soon as possible.

5. Employers Are Required by Law to Pay Minimum Wage and Overtime

Pennsylvania wage and hour laws require businesses to pay their employees for all the hours worked or required to spend at the workplace regardless of their legal status. The minimum wage in the state is 7.25 dollars. All work hours in excess of 40 hours in a week are considered overtime.

Your employer must pay all your overtime hours at 1.5 times your regular hourly pay. Labor laws in this state require employers to detail your work hours, deductions and earnings on your paystubs.

The only deductions an employer should make to your earnings are union dues, taxes, and health insurance. Don't let employees fool you into making deductions to your paycheck for other purposes.

6. Protection from Discrimination Based on Background Check Results

Under Pennsylvania law, an employer may decide not to hire a candidate based on background check results if it relates to the suitability for the position. Employers must inform candidates in writing about their decision not to hire them.

For all other purposes, federal law prohibits any discrimination based on criminal records and inaccurate information from background checks.

7. Allowing Sexual Harassment in the Work Place Is Illegal

Sexual harassment is unacceptable and illegal in the state of Pennsylvania. Every employer is responsible for keeping a harassment-free environment. If you are a victim of this type of inappropriate conduct, you must inform your supervisor.

It's important to tell the harasser to stop this behavior. You should document all inappropriate behavior and communications related to any sexual harassment incidents. If you don't keep a record, you may end up losing any claim.

It's recommended to seek advice from sexual harassment attorneys on how to report and what to do as a victim of inappropriate behavior in the workplace. An attorney may also provide insight into how and when to file your claim. An example is when you decide to file your claim with the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission, you must file within 180 days.

Bottom Line

Pennsylvania employment law offers many protections for employees that may not be available in other states. As a job seeker, it's important to learn and understand your rights.

These protections make seeking employment in this state a great option for any professional. If you are uncertain about your rights as an employee, it's recommended you consult an attorney before making any claim.

Are you searching for a new job? Check out our Pennsylvania job listings to find it today.