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Pennsylvania Employee Rights

Pennsylvania Employee Rights


Guide to Pennsylvania Employee Rights

If you are a worker in Pennsylvania, you have certain rights that are afforded to you by state and federal laws.  PA employee rights are not nearly as well protected as employee rights in other states.  Understanding your Pennsylvania employee rights can help you decide whether your employee is violating your rights under the law and whether you may have legal recourse.  This guide will identify some of your PA employee rights and explain the limits of those rights according to the law.

Personnel Files

In some states, employees have no right to look at their personnel records.  However, Pennsylvania employee rights allow employees to look at their personnel file once a year, at a convenient time for their employer.  By looking at your own personnel file, you can find whether any inaccurate or defamatory information is contained inside.  This is one area where PA employee rights are protected significantly more than the rights of employees in many other states.  Access to your own personnel folder on an annual basis is one of the Pennsylvania employee rights that is available to all employees regardless of part-time or full-time status or whether the employee is temporary or permanent.

Minimum Wage and Overtime

For most jobs, PA employee rights specify a minimum wage of $7.25 an hour, the same as the current federal minimum wage.  Pennsylvania employee rights have required this wage as the statutory minimum since 2009.  Tipped employees have different PA employee rights for wages, and may receive only $2.83 per hour in wages as long as their tips make up the difference between their wage and the state-mandated minimum wage.

Any workers who have worked more than 40 hours in a week are entitled by Pennsylvania employee rights to overtime pay at a rate of one and a half times their normal wage.  There are exemptions to this overtime law, and people who work in an executive, professional, or administrative capacity may not have the same PA employee rights to overtime, regardless of the number of hours they have worked.

Discrimination and Harassment

Pennsylvania employee rights include the right not to be discriminated against or harassed at work for your sex, race, religion, national origin, disability, or age if you are over forty.  Discrimination against pregnant women is considered sex discrimination according to PA employee rights.  If you have been discriminated against or harassed, you may be able to contact an employment attorney or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to hear more about your legal options.  Your Pennsylvania employee rights don't just begin when you're hired—discrimination during the hiring process is also illegal and can be actionable in court.

Wrongful Termination

Pennsylvania is what is known as an at-will employment state.  PA employee rights only forbid termination on discriminatory grounds.  If your employer is firing you for any other reason, or even no reason at all, Pennsylvania employee rights do not allow you to make a wrongful termination claim.