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Preventing whistleblower litigation in Pennsylvania

As an employer, it is important that you prevent any disputes with employees from arising. It is possible to do this successfully by staying aware of the rights that your employees have under the law in Pennsylvania. This is especially true when it comes to whistleblower laws.

Whistleblower laws are in place in order to protect those who have made a complaint. The complaint made could be an employee's experience of harassment, or it might be that he or she believes that the work environment is unsafe. Whatever the complaint is, the employee is protected from direct retaliation for a certain amount of time. This is done in order to protect the worker but also to avoid disincentivizing workers in general from making complaints.

What does the law say in Pennsylvania?

In the state of Pennsylvania, the law specifically says that the employer is prohibited from threatening retaliation or retaliating through means of discharge or discrimination in relation to an intent to report a complaint or from reporting a complaint.

What can be the consequences of retaliation?

An employee can file for damages within 180 days after their alleged experience of retaliation. If an employee is successful in his or her claim, they may be awarded back pay, attorney's fees, a reinstatement of their position or actual damages that resulted from the retaliation.

If you are an employer in Pennsylvania, it is important that you take all complaints made internally in a serious manner. In order to avoid litigation, it is a good idea to analyze the full situation before taking disciplinary action on any employee.

Source: FindLaw, "Pennsylvania Employment Laws," accessed June 14, 2018

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