City of Philadelphia Passes an Anti-Wage Theft Law – Notice Required

Last year, former Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter signed the Wage Theft Law making amendments to Title 9 of The Philadelphia Code. Starting today, employers that violate the Pennsylvania Wage Payment and Collection Law or the Pennsylvania Wage Payment and Collection Law will receive higher penalties. If it is determined that wages are owed by the employer, he or she will be ordered to pay the employee. A separate violation may be imposed for each week wages are not paid. As provided under the law, the city “may deny, suspend or revoke any license or permit issued or pending” if the employer is found liable for a violation of the new law, the Pennsylvania Wage Payment and Collection Law, and the Pennsylvania Minimum Wage Act.

The party alleging a wage theft violation can file a complaint with the Wage Theft Coordinator less than three years from the date the wage theft occurred. A Wage Theft Coordinator is a new position designated by the Managing Director under the new law. The Wage Theft Coordinator will be responsible for reviewing each wage theft complaint, providing information regarding remedies and other assistance to the complainant, and making a formal decision. During the filing process, employers will have 30 days after receipt of the complaint to file an answer. The Wage Theft Coordinator will make a decision within 60 days of receipt of the employer’s answer, or within 110 days of receipt of the complaint, whichever is earlier. Employees may also file an action under the new law in court.

An employer cannot discriminate or retaliate against an employee for exercising his or her right under the Wage Theft Law. Employers will be responsible for providing a notice, which will be released by the Wage Theft Coordinator, to each employee regarding their rights under the law. The notice must be in English and in any other language spoken by at least five percent of the employer’s workforce. The posting requirement can be fulfilled by providing the notice to each employee or by displaying it in a conspicuous place. Violating the notice and posting requirements can result in a $100 fee for each separate offense. CPC will continue to monitor the release of the notice.

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