Pennsylvania Labor Board

The Pennsylvania Labor Board is the entity that is responsible for every aspect of our working lives in regards to safety and wages. They oversee the workplace environment and are responsible for making sure that we are all paid accordingly for the work that we do. This is run by Stephen M. Schmerin who is the Labor Secretary for Pennsylvania. In Pennsylvania we do everything we can to make our state great, which means taking care of the people who work here as well as doing other things around the state. With Pennsylvania Labor Board everything is covered especially in regards to workplace safety to help maintain and promote a good work environment.

In Pennsylvania our minimum wage is currently at the rate of $5.15 per hour which is the same as the minimum wage requirement of the federal government. The minimum wage for employees who are tipped in Pennsylvania stands at $2.83 currently. Our current unemployment rate stands at 4.7% which is just slightly below the national average of 4.8%. This shows how strides have been made to improve and s Currently in Pennsylvania things are being done to help battle some of our unemployment issues by doing such things as job retraining and offering unemployment compensation. These are just some of things that are being done to help get people back into the workforce and to allow them to carry on their normal lives.

When it comes to our workplace safety however we are proud of everything that we do to make it a better work environment for both you and your boss. We want you to want to come to work to feel safe there and that you can do your job no matter how rough, because you know you will be taken care of. Safety is our job in Pennsylvania not just another word.

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88 Thoughts on “Pennsylvania Labor Board”

Jack

June 27, 2009 at 12:32 am

Amelia,

Thanks for the help! I’m going to call when they open tomorrow, and request that they have a check in time for me to get to the bank, or cash when I show up to work for them in the evening.

After I posted, I did some researching and found this: http://www.dli.state.pa.us/landi/lib/landi/laws-regulations%5Cllc%5Cwpclaw.pdf

In addition to specifying that they have to pay on the customary payday and allowing an employee to initiate civil action, it says (in P.L. 637, No. 329 Sec. 10):

“…or where shortages in the wage payments made exceed five percent (5%) of the gross wages payable on any two regularly scheduled paydays in the same calendar quarter, and no good faith contest or dispute of any wage claim including the good faith assertion of a right of set-off or counter-claim exists accounting for such non-payment, the employe shall be entitled to claim, in addition, as liquidated damages an amount equal to twenty-five percent (25%) of the total amount of wages due, or five hundred dollars ($500), whichever is greater.”

Could this apply to them? There is other “Or,” text before that, which doesn’t apply (like if they wait 60 days to pay). At the very least, if they balk at paying me quickly I could bring it up?

Amelia

June 27, 2009 at 8:57 pm

Hi Jack! Yes, this provision could very well apply to them. However, we do not suggest that you bring it up – it just sounds like a threat and escalates the situation. It also destroys any working relationship you have with the employer. Our suggestion is that you ask them tactfully to pay you prompty, and mention that you would hate to have to file a wage complaint with the DOL or contact an attorney. BTW, in most states hourly employees must be paid more than once per month. HTH, and be sure to let us know how this turns out. ~ Amelia

Valerie

June 29, 2009 at 9:41 am

Hi, it’s me again. Since my last entry when I was verbally acousted by my leader, senior leader and HR rep, I have been off on Intermittent FMLA. The toxic work environment has given me panic attacks and some debilitating depression. I was taking days as needed until I received an e-mail from our FMLA coordinator who asked me to have my doctor change my leave to Continous FMLA. My doctor was on vacation and I just saw him today. He did not change my leave designation.

What he did do was write me a script which states: “Patient needs alternate work placement in order to stablilize for the depression and panic attacks.”

I do believe I could return to work at this hospital, if they found me a position in another department.

I also believe that the day I return to work they will find reason to fire me, in which case this slip will ensure that I am able to collect unemployment benefits. TRUE?

In the last two weeks I have tried feverously to find work outside the hospital, but to no avail. I am 49 years old, and undegreed, though I have work in professional positions through most of my adult years.

But, I digress – Please let me know your thoughts on the slip.

Thanks!
Valerie

Amelia

June 29, 2009 at 11:14 am

Hi Valerie! It’s great to hear from you again. We’re sorry you’re still having problems.
Unfortunately, the doctor’s note is completely irrelevant. There is no legal requirement for an employer to transfer you to another job because you find the current one too stressful. (This would be true even if you had nothing to do with creating the stress in the first place. And let’s be frank — you did have a hand in that.)
Doctors dictate medical treatment. Employers dictate company policy and treatment of employees at work. It is not appropriate for your doctor to tell your boss you must be assigned to a different job, just as it would not be appropriate for your boss to tell your doctor you need a prescription for LSD or to have your foot amputated because you weren’t doing a good job.
Your doctor is indicating to the employer that you are unable to carry out the duties of your current job. Most HR Directors will take one look at that note, and fire you for cause. In fact, with that note, you may not be able to return to work even if you wanted to. The employer is not under any obligation to provide an alternate placement. They are far more likely to provide an “alternate placement” in the unemployment line.
An employee who quits a job because it is too stressful usually does not qualify for unemployment. This is doubly true when some of the stress is a result of her own actions.
You can certainly speak to HR and your supervisor and request a reassignment to another position in the hospital. But many employers only transfer employees in good standing, and it sounds like you don’t meet that requirement at this time.
Intermittent FMLA was designed to be used a few hours or a day or two at a time. If you are using it for 5 consecutive work days or more, then the employer’s request that you provide certification for continuous FMLA is appropriate. If your doctor will provide certification for continous FMLA for 12 weeks, that will give you some time to look for a less stressful job. That would seem to be your best bet now. Otherwise, you are going to have to bite the bullet and go back to work. HTH, and thanks for reaidng teh blgos!~ Amelia

Valerie

June 29, 2009 at 12:08 pm

I appreciate that you are providing me with all this important information. I guess I just continue to find it difficult to believe that an employer can make your work environment intolerable and there is no recourse for the employee except to quit and risk having no income. Yes, I did use Facebook – but believe that the suspension I received for that should have beem more than sufficient “punishment” for the “crime.” There are far worse infractions, I believe.

Also, the idea that one of my line items in my performance improvment plan is to have a positivie attidtude about my job which is 1. completely subjective and 2. nearly impossible given the current atmosphere.

That others in the department can make judgement calls on my demeanor… that the HR rep can make false statements such as I am trying to confont co-workers and am passive-agressive… that my leader has never once sat me down and followed protocol for progressive discipline… that I was denied the use of a peer resolution process which is in our handbook…

There must be some protection for the employee. Is it really just that I have to either take it or leave it?

Amelia

June 29, 2009 at 12:49 pm

Hi Valerie! Sadly, yes, take it or leave it pretty much sums up this situation. Unfortunately, it is not that unusual. The employer has decided you are a “bad apple” and is trying to weed you out. You say the employer has never followed the progressive discipline protocol — but we suspect in their minds, the conferences and performance improvement plans ARE progressive discipline.
You can certainly make a formal, written request for the peer resolution process that is in the handbook. Don’t ask verbally or by email — do it in writing and keep a copy. However, be aware that “peer” resulution usually applies to two co-workers, not to an employee and his or her supervisor.
We’d love to suggest an easy way out of this situation. And we agree that the punishment is very severe. Our guess is that your supervisor wanted to terminate you for the Facebook incident, but was told to go through the proper procedures first.
There are certain protections for employees under the law. For example, they must be paid wages they have earned. However, there are very few protections for an employee who finds that the supervisor is treating them unfairly or harshly. The assumption is that if the employee finds the situation intolerable, the employee will find another job. Unfortunately, as you noted, that’s not always easy in this economy. So you definitely have our sympathy. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Amelia

Jack

July 2, 2009 at 4:55 am

Amelia,

Thanks for your help. To update, here’s what’s happened so far.

It turned out that I didn’t have to work Saturday, so I wasn’t in there in person. After trying to reach someone in charge for days and leaving several messages, I spoke to someone on Monday. Apparently he manages the whole facility. They sounded very competent, but then the conversation went south when he said “I’ll put that in right away so it’s added to your next check.” Well, I politely told him that wouldn’t work for me (played the “please help me out” card instead of the “you’re legally required and if you don’t, I’ll escalate” card). He fed me a line about “that’s just how our payroll works,” and I pointed out that this was the second time, and that it’s not a trivial error. Heck, they owed me more in ARREARS from the previous screw-up than they gave me in the check. He came back with “well, we don’t have other checks.”

Without escalating (or tipping my hand), I just said once again that I cannot agree to having that added to a paycheck 2+ weeks down the road, and that I’d appreciate being paid before the 1st by cash, check, or any other mechanism. He said he’d contact his bosses.

That night, I had a friend who works as an HR director write a polite but firm email on my behalf. It cited the above law and said that I wanted to work with them (rather than escalate), but that the law was clear cut and the penalties I’d be entitled to in a legal dispute would be substantial.

They called me back the next day when I was busy, and left a message to call them back.

Last night, I got a call from the person who schedules me. Without being too specific, this person finds people to do our specialized job and schedules us, but he’s just an employee like the rest of us. Our job duties require specialized knowledge (you basically have to either be certified, or have lots of experience). He asked if I would be able to work this week, and I told him my situation. He was very sympathetic, as apparently the exact same thing happened to him. He said he was going to call them up and complain that they would have to shut down operations if they don’t make this right, because people aren’t willing to work because of the payroll errors.
I told him I’d call him today and let him know if I could work, but it would be dependent on whether or not they were going to pay me today.

Anyway, today I’ll get some closure (or at least partial closure) one way or the other on this. If I’m not paid, I’m not working there anymore and will file with the local district justice on Monday for the balance plus costs and $500 in damages under the statute. Money is really tight in this economy, and this part-time work is all I’ve got for now. With bills due (I still haven’t paid my rent) and the slim hope of going down the shore with friends for the holiday hanging in the balance, I can’t afford to keep blowing money on gas for a “job” that won’t pay.

Sorry for the long comment. Thanks again for the help.

Amelia

July 2, 2009 at 9:01 am

Hi Jack! All of that sounds good. Thanks for keeping us posted! We would just like to suggest that in addition to taking those actions, you also file a wage claim with the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry — the sooner the better. If L&I gets a number of wage complaints from employees, they can put more pressure on the company. So filing a wage complaint goes a long way towards making sure that they never do this again.
Your decision to not work for them any more unless they pay you on time is probably a wise one. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Amelia

Donna

August 17, 2009 at 8:09 pm

Hi I was called by a manager today and was told that i will not be payed for adays work because the another worker i was working with didn’t fill out paper work correctly. Is illgal?

Amelia

August 18, 2009 at 3:15 pm

Hi Donna! No, this is not lawful. Under both federal and Pennsylvania law, hourly employees must be paid for all the time they work. You should file a wage complaint with the Pennsylvania Department of Labor or the US Department of Labor. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Amelia

Celeste Kaiser

August 25, 2009 at 1:00 am

I am 15 and work at a restaurant. I work 3-6 hour shifts and have been working there for quite a while. I get no breaks. I just looked up the law and it says that I should be getting breaks. Is this a bad situation?

Amelia

August 25, 2009 at 1:08 pm

Hi Celeste! Yes, this is bad. Under state law, a Pennsylvania employer must provide an unpaid meal period of 30 minutes when an employee between the ages of 14 and 17 works 5 hours or more. (There is no requirement for a meal break on shorter shifts, or for employees over the age of 18.) Your employer may be ignorant of the child labor laws in the state. Show him the link below, and ask politely that you be given breaks on shifts of 5 hours or more. If you are not, file a complaint with the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Amelia
Read more about this at: http://www.dli.state.pa.us/landi/cwp/view.asp?a=142&Q=61106&landiPNavCtr=|&TNID=1024#10

August 29, 2009 at 2:09 pm

Hi. I wrote you a few months ago about the horrific work environment I was working in. Thankfully since then I have found a new job and given my two-weeks notice to my current employer. My last day is 9-4.

So one would think that the harrassment would end there and we go all go on about our business but no. Last week I had a doctor appointment. Because I am exempt, I have never had to note this time out of the office unless it totaled 4 hours or 8 hours of PTO.

I did not add the time, but then was told by my boss that it had to be entered and she had someone else do it.

Isn’t this illegal?

On the flip side of that I have work many hours over 40 for special events and never been paid over-time.

Any advice on this would be appreciated.

Thanks!
Valerie

Amelia

August 29, 2009 at 6:06 pm

Hi Valerie! Congrats on the new job! It sounds like it will be a big improvement.
The employer’s actions are lawful. It appears that you are an exempt employee. As such, if you work a portion of the day, the employer must pay your full salary for the day. However, the employer can deduct the time from PTO, as long as your check for the week is the usual amount.
It appears that the employer is simply tracking the time that you were away from the office. That is actually a reasonable thing to do. However, we agree with you — since it has not been done in the past, it certainly appears that your supervisor is doing her utmost to make your life miserable until you are gone.
Just so you know, an employer can establish the minimum hours that an exempt employee must work, and discipline or terminate the employee if she does not work those hours. So the employer cannot dock your salary, but could fire you for leaving early.
Many exempt employees assume that the “standard” work week is 40 hours. If they work more than 40 hours one week, they feel they should be entitled to work less than 40 hours another week. However, this is not true. The employer can require that exempt emloyees work a minimum of 40 hours every week, or treat it as an attendance or performance problem. An employer could even require that an exempt employee work a minimum of 60 or more hours ever week, and discipline or terminate the employee if he/she does not. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Amelia

Marie

September 4, 2009 at 6:57 am

Can an company (in Pennsylvania) paying an hourly rate require paperwork (extensive notes) on client visits, require said paperwork to be finished prior to payment for the work (client visits)? Can they then not pay hourly rate for the time spent completing required paperwork? Also, is it legal to have a policy to withhold pay for client visits until signatures from clients or caretakers (depending on age) signifying visits were completed are provided. I’ve gone months waiting for pay because mental health clients parents won’t return calls or make scheduled visits and the company won’t authorize pay until client’s parent signs, however, parents were unavailable for signatures due to seeing client in other (non-home settings). The company says that they can’t bill the state until signatures are provided. Whats a worker to do?

Amelia

September 4, 2009 at 10:38 am

Hi Marie! This sounds more like a client/independent contractor relationship, rather than an employer/employee situation. Independent contractors receive a 1099 at the end of the year and are considered self-employed. All of these items would be lawful for an independent contractor.
However, if you are genuinely an employee who is issued a W-2 at the end of the year, then the employer must pay you for every hour worked during the pay period. That payment must be made on payday, under both state and federal law. Time spent completing paperwork would be hours worked, even if the work was performed at home.
There are two separate relationships here. The employer pays the worker, and the state pays the employer. The two are completely unrelated. In other words, the employer is responsible for paying the employee for all the hours worked during a pay period, even if the state does not pay the employer (or has not yet paid the employer.)
The empoyer can require that the employee complete all necessary paperwork in a timely fashion. An employee who fails to complete the paperwork can be disciplined or terminated for poor performance — but the employee must still be paid (on payday) for the hours worked. However, the employer cannot legitimately penalize the employee if signatures are not available.
If you are an employee who is not being paid on payday for all hours worked during the payroll period (including those spent doing paperwork) you should file a wage complaint with the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry.
Feel free to post more questions if you have them. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Amelia

Carol

September 5, 2009 at 3:11 pm

My son was let go as the company downsized. His boss held up his 401K money until he sent in a letter of resignation. Now, after collecting unemployment for 5 months, the state wants the money returned. Who can he contact about this, and is there any hope of straightening it out.

Amelia

September 6, 2009 at 8:28 pm

Hi Carol! This is a complicated situation. If your son’s employer threatened to withhold contributions that your son had already made into his 401k account unless your son resigned, then that was obviously unethical and illegal behavior. Unfortunately, when an employee resigns, he or she is not entitled to unemployment benefits — but it may take a lawyer to straighten this out. The first step would be for your son to contact the ERISA at the link below. That’ s the federal agency that enforces 401k rules.
(It is possible that the boss only threatened to withhold the portion of 401k contributions paid by the employer, not the employee. In some cases, that might be lawful. If your son was not fully vested in the 401k matching funds, the employer could essentially offer your son a financial incentive to resign rather than be laid off. In that case, your son would not qualify for unemployment.)
Your son can and should try to appeal the unemployment decision and present his side of the story. (Frankly, he would have been much, much better off if he had refused to resign. The boss was bluffing when he said he would withhold your son’s 401k funds. Doing so would be a federal crime.) Your son should also contact the ERISA. If neither of those work, his only other option is hiring a lawyer. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Amelia

Read more about his at: http://www.dol.gov/dol/topic/health-plans/erisa.htm

Nick Ramagli

September 9, 2009 at 5:37 pm

I was on vacation out west. I came back on wednesday the 2nd and got paid on the 3rd. I asked my boss if i had another check there and he called the accounting department and they told him yes. So i went and picked up the other check and cashed it. The very next day they called me and told me that that check wasn’t mine and i had to pay it back. Do i by law have to pay that back even though it was their mistake? They also want me to work 80 hours for free to make up for it. Isn’t that against the law?

Amelia

September 10, 2009 at 1:22 pm

Hi Nick! It is not clear whether the check actually was yours, but yes, the Pennsylvania employer generally has the right to recover overpayments to an employee.
If the check “wasn’t yours” because it had someone else’s name on it, and you cashed it anyway, you would be guilty of fraud. The employer could contact the police and press charges.
However, it seems more likely that the employer accidentally issued an extra payroll check to you, for time that you did not work. In virtually every state except California, the employer has the right to recover such overpayments from an employee. The “finders keepers, losers weepers” rule does not apply when your employer accidentally overpays you — especially for 80 hours.
Essentially, by overpaying you, the employer has given you an advance on your next paycheck. So yes, they can require that you EITHER pay back the advance in cash or pay it back in labor by working (not both.) You would not be “working for free.” You would be working for the wages that you were paid in advance. If you earn $1,000 every two weeks, your paycheck for the next pay period would show wages of $1,000, a deduction of $1,000 (to repay the money that you owe the employer) and a net amount of $0. This is perfectly legitimate. When the employer pays you in advance for work that you have yet to perform, that does not violate any state or federal law.
Keeping the money that you were paid in error would obviously be unethical, and the employer could certainly discipline or terminate an employee who acts in such an unethical way. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Amelia

mike M

September 18, 2009 at 7:37 pm

I was recently laid off on July 23rd the company said my insurance ended that day, but they continued to take premiums for my insurance from my pay and vacation pay upto the end of july.

If they continued to take premiums from my pay after I was laid off shouldnt my coverage been in effect till the end of the month??

Amelia

September 18, 2009 at 9:32 pm

Hi mike! Yes, unless the employer was deducting premiums after the fact. It’s impossible for us to tell what your previous employer’s arrangements were. However, most employers deduct insurance premiums in advance. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Amelia

Thomas

March 4, 2010 at 8:57 pm

Message: Hi, I have a couple of questions. I work at a warehouse for a grocery wholesaler loading trucks. Our schedule has no stated start or finish time, just the managers saying we have to stay till the job is done 12 hrs,14hrs,sometimes more. Does the schedule need to have a set shift finish time?
Is there a limit to the amount of mandatory overtime required? Does there need to be some kind of advanced notice?
Lastly, I was recently injued on the job while loading a truck in the snow storm on Feb 26th. The trucks I and my fellow loaders were working in became very slippery because of the snow blowing in in between the building and trucks. I was injured when my pallet jack lost traction in the truck and slammed into the back of the trailer. I was recently suspended for a night because of this. The paper stated for failure to report the hazardous conditions to my supervisor. Even though the management staff already knew the conditions of the work area. I was also told that even though all the loaders were loading in the same conditions I was the only one being suspended because I am the one that got hurt.
Any insight would be greatly appreciated.

Amelia

March 4, 2010 at 10:59 pm

Hi Thomas! Regarding overtime, unfortunately we have bad news. There is no law in Pennsylvania or elsewhere that the employer has to specify a specific finish time for a shift. Nor is there any limit to the amount of mandatory overtime that an employer can require an employee to work. There is also no requirement that the employer give advanced notice of overtime to employees.

Regarding the workplace injury, however, we agree with you. First of all, you should have filled out a report of a workplace injury, and by law the company’s workers’ comp insurance should pay for any medical treatment. We agree that suspending you for one day is probably retaliation for getting injured or for filing a workers’ comp claim, which is illegal. (If the employer was genuinely writing you up for not reporting the icy conditions, they would have to write up everyone who worked on the dock that night, as you have noted.) Contact the state Department of Labor or the Workers’ Comp Agency (below) to file a complaint of retaliation.
HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs! Amelia

Contact the Pennsylvania Department of Labor at http://www.dli.state.pa.us/ or the state workers’ comp agency at (800) 482-2383

Jeff

April 15, 2010 at 1:11 pm

After a sports injury Jeff returned to work as a warehouse worker. He usually runs the forklift, does shipping and receiving, organizes, does paperwork, etc. Upon return within one week of ALC repair (extensive knee surgery) he couldn’t run the forklift but he kept busy full time reorganizing work flow and catching up on other backed up work. (making keys for customers who ordered them, etc.)

Following scheduled surgery he returned to full time work. He has full benefits.
First they cut one day.
Then they cut another.
But hired a full time employee to do the same job that Jeff was doing.
Then Jeff filed for unemployment for the two days he was losing. Unfortunately gets only $19.00 a week.
Now the boss is mad and cut the benefits. It wasn’t worth losing benefits!

Is there any recourse? Should Jeff have filed for FMLA? It is a very small business and all family working there, an emotionally volatile environment and little regard for appropriate business procedures.

Amelia

April 15, 2010 at 4:52 pm

Hi Jeff! Okay, first of all, if the business has fewer than 50 employees within 75 miles, the federal FMLA does not apply. If this was a larger employer, then yes, the employee should have taken time off under FMLA. It is better to take unpaid time off than to expect the employer to pay full wages to an employee who is not performing full normal duties. (Some states have family leave laws that would permit employees of small businesses to take unpaid time off. Pennsylvania does not.)

The employer was under no obligation to put this employee back to work when he was unable to operate the forklift after surgery. If the employer had a suitable alternate job, that the employee was qualified to fill, then the employee should have been assigned to that job. If the only suitable opening was part-time, then the employee should have been scheduled only part time. The employee’s hours and hourly wage could have been reduced to reflect the new duties.

Basically, the employer does not have to pay an employee the wages of a forklift operator, if the employee has an injury that means he cannot operate the forklift. There is no evidence that the employer had a full-time position open for a “work reorganizer” so the employer was being generous by allowing the employee to return to work, especially to return to work full-time.

It does appear that the employer retaliated against Jeff for missing this work time. However, because the time off was not covered under FMLA, and it was not a work-related injury, such retaliation is legal. It is not right, it is not the generous thing to do, but it is legal. It appears that the employer regrets his earlier decision to allow the employee to return to work full-time, and is taking it out on the employee. That is unprofessional, but it is legal.

There is no law that the employer must continue to employ a worker full time, or that an employee who is working 32 hours per week must receive benefits. If the employer is taking this action based on the employee’s race, color, sex, national ancestry, permanent disability, etc. then it may be illegal discrimination. However, it is legal to treat family members better than other employees, and it is very common in small businesses. There is really no good solution to this problem except for Jeff to look for another job. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Amelia

AMANDA

June 25, 2010 at 7:12 am

My husband was hired by a subcontractor delivery team for a big furntiure company in Pennsylvania, just a few days ago, he had left his truck to go into one of his stops. His truck was locked and only a vent window on the side of his truck was left open but not the whole way. While he was away from his truck it was broken into and cash was stolen that was in the envelope this furniture company gives him to put his CODs in. This incident happened in New York City while he was employed by his company on company time. He reported the money stolen right away and contacted his boss.

He did not lose his job but was told that he must pay this undisclosed amount back to his company and that the two options he was given was to either have the money come directly from his check or he would be fired. The money was never reported stolen to his employers insurance company because if they new their drivers were carrying cash on them the insurance company would not insure them. Can the actually deduct $200.00 weekly from his pay to pay his company back from money that was stolen?

Amelia

June 25, 2010 at 8:17 am

Hi Amanda! The choice the employer gave your husband was legal. The employer cannot deduct $200 from your husband’s paycheck without his written permission. But they can fire him for leaving the vent window open a tiny bit, resulting in the cash being stolen, and most companies would. Instead of being fired, your husband has agreed to pay the money back. That seems like a reasonable and even a generous thing for the company to do.

We don’t see how the amount can be undisclosed. Does your husband not know how much money was in the bag? Does he not know how much money he collected that day? As long as the employer had him sign an authorization giving permission to have $200 deducted from each payroll check until $2,000 or $4,000 or whatever is paid back, we see no problem with that.

What’s the old saying? Two wrongs don’t make a right? The employer lying to their insurance company does not excuse your husband’s negligance. We would chalk this up to learning from experience. Our advice: leave the vent closed, and the cash bag out of sight.

The company is not acting in an ethical way with their insurance company, but that is not really any of your concern. The employer probably would not report the theft anyway, since it was the driver’s fault and would simply increase insurance premiums. Your husband could try to report the employer to the insurance company, but he would not gain anything by doing so. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Amelia

Richard

July 19, 2010 at 3:22 pm

Good Afternoon. I work for a fortune 500 company in the sales department. I am paid commissions plus salary. Our commissions have been late by weeks sometimes months more often than not. They have also been reduced because the company fell on hard times due to the bad economy Is there any type of law in the state of Pennsylvania that prohibits this being as the commission makes up a large portion of our overall pay?

Amelia

July 19, 2010 at 4:00 pm

Hi Richard! There is no law that would prevent the employer from unilaterally reducing commissions.
However, the Pennsylvania Wage Payment Law requires the employer to pay commissions in a timely fashion, particularly if there is a written agreement or company policy regarding payment of commissions. If the agreement sepecifies a particular date for payment, in general the employer must pay within 10 days of that date. If no particular date is designated, then such “wage supplements” must be paid within 60 days after the employee presents a demand for them. Presumably, the employee would present the demand shortly after commissions were due. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Amelia

Read more at: http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt?open=514&objID=553002&mode=2

Christine

October 12, 2010 at 10:56 pm

My question is, I worked for a company here in the Wilkes-Barre area and was terminated because I was out with a back injury for six days. I had faxed over a note from my dr that stated I was totally incapacitated from 10/04 thru 10/08/2010. I have problems with my back and sciatic nerve. My sciatic nerve and my L4 and L5 were severely inflamed. I was unable to walk with assistance, and actually ended up in the emergency room on 10/03/2010. Can the employer actually fire me for this? Need an answer so I can figure out which direction to turn in, and if I need to consult with an attorney,

Amelia

October 13, 2010 at 6:50 am

Hi Christine! This depends upon how many employees the company has. Pennsylvania has no family leave law at the state level. If the employer has 50 or more workers within 75 miles, you are entitled to up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave under the federal FMLA. However, a smaller employer can fire you for missing 6 days due to illness, even with a doctor’s excuse, if that is the company policy.
If the employer has allowed employees of another race, sex, color, etc. to take more than 6 consecutive days off without being terminated, this may be illegal discrimination. If so, you should report it to the EEOC at http://www.eeoc.gov. Otherwise, your best bet is to focus your efforts on finding a new job. You may also qualify for unemployment benefits. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Amelia

Christine

October 15, 2010 at 9:32 am

Is there any way to find out how many employees a former employer has without calling them? I know for certain there is a woman who has been out more than 6 days, dont know her status yet, but she still isnt back to work. Is there any way you can help me with this?

Amelia

October 15, 2010 at 2:05 pm

Hi Christine! No, even the U.S. Department of Labor has to get a court order to review the employer’s records, to determine how many employees a company has.

Even if the company has fewer than 50 employees, they may be required to grant this employee unpaid time off as a reasonable accommodation for a disability under ADA, the Americans with Disabilities Act. Or, the company may choose to offer employees unpaid time off, even if they are not covered by a state or federal leave law. This is completely legal, as long as the employer does not illegally discriminate in offering this benefit. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Amelia

Megan

December 8, 2010 at 10:06 pm

I’ve been working for the same company for @9 months. My first paycheck was a week late. Since then several of my paychecks have been late. I was also written a bad check. I filed a complaint with labor and industry and my boss was very angry and basically threatened me. I’m trying to find out how this whole process works once a complaint is filed. I’m also trying to find out what is meant by “waiting time”. I tried calling labor law compliance but didn’t get any answers. In dec I was supposed to be paid the 3rd, 17th and 31st. Instead I’m getting paid on the 10 th and the 31st only. I also wasn’t given any notice that I would be paid late.

Amelia

December 9, 2010 at 7:25 am

Hi Megan! Okay, first you need to get back in touch with the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry at http://www.dli.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/community/l_i_home/5278 and tell them that your boss has threatened you (or threatened your job) because you filed a wage complaint. This is called retaliation, and it is illegal. You will file a separate complaint about retaliation and they will investigate that.

(If the employer threatened you with bodily harm, then you should also file a police report about it.)

By law, an employer must pay wages on time. Issuing a bad payroll check to an employee is not paying the employee at all. The employer could permanently change the payday to the 10th and 31st, but then you must be paid on those dates and the employer has to establish a regular schedule of paydays — not just pay when he feels like it. If you were not informed before the 3rd that the paydates this month had changed, then you are owed your paycheck from Dec. 3rd, and you should file another wage complaint about that. (It is easier for L&I to take action when you are actually owed money.)

Once a wage complaint or retaliation complaint is filed, the PA L&I investigates. They will require the employer to show his payroll records to them. By law, he must keep payroll records and they must be accurate. If the L&I finds that the employer owes you money, they will force him to pay, even taking him to court if necessary. However, this entire process can take weeks or months.

The L&I will also investigate if the employer is retaliating against you, and either force him to stop or if you are fired, return you to your job.

Waiting time does not relate to waiting for your payroll check. It is time that an employee is required to wait for work on the business premises. Suppose a bike messenger has to report to the office at 8 am and wait around to see if they have any messages for him to deliver. At 10 am, they do have a message for him to deliver. He is entitled to payment from 8 am to 10 am as waiting time, even though he did not perform any work during that time. Basically, if the employer requires him to stand around and wait on the premises, he must be paid for it. It doesn’t sound like this applies to your situation.

We will also say this: you need to launch an all-out effort to find a different job. Normally when an employer starts paying employees late or bouncing checks, it’s because the business is having financial problems. (It is possible for the owner to be wealthy personally, but the business to be broke.) Often when this happens, the employer goes out of business and in some cases the employees never receive all the wages they are owed. So in addition to filing complaints with L&I, you need to try to find another job. Feel free to post any additional questions you might have — we’re here to help. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Amelia

Read more about this at: http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt?open=514&objID=563209&mode=2

terri

January 21, 2011 at 10:43 am

i work for a non-profit organization that deals with mentally disabled..i am the supervisor and about $1000 of receipts are missing which i am responsible for..they are conducting an investigation and my day to meet with them is mon., today was pay day and the took my check to remit missing funds. No notification was given to me and the investigation is not yet complete…my question is are they able to do that? i spoke with my lawyer and he informed me they cannot, but not sure where to go from here

Amelia

January 21, 2011 at 11:10 am

Hi terri! You can file a wage complaint with the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry at http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt?open=514&objID=553573&mode=2. They will investigate and if they find you are owed wages, they will force the employer to pay you.

Obviously, missing receipts is a very serious situation. To the employer, this looks like you have committed theft. If their investigation reveals misuse of funds, they may very well offer you the choice between paying the money back and being prosecuted for theft. If that occurs, you may be able to negotiate a neutral reference, no prosecution and even ability to collect unemployment, if you repay the funds. For this reason, it may be better to wait until the end of the investigation to file a wage complaint. Don’t wait too long, though — you have a limited time, usually 3-6 months, to file the wage claim. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Amelia

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