Philadelphia recently enacted a local ordinance that will make it easier for employees to collect small sums owed to them by employers. Employees owed from $100 to $10,000 can submit a claim to the new “Wage Theft Coordinator” in the city government. The Wage Theft Coordinator will have the power to review claims, make determinations, and impose substantial penalties including fines and revocation of city licenses or permits held by the employer.
In addition to ordering payment of the back wages, the Wage Theft Coordinator may impose a fine of up to $2,300 per violation. Each week that wages go unpaid is considered a separate violation. Like the Pennsylvania Wage Payment & Collection Law, the city ordinance provides for individual liability against company owners and persons in charge of the purse strings even in a corporation. Failure to pay the wages and fines after a violation is found may lead to even more severe penalties including publication in a list of non-paying employers, possible imprisonment of company officials, and revocation or suspension of city licenses or permits for up to one year.
The claim must be for work performed in Philadelphia or where the employment contract was created in Philadelphia. For companies with offices in Philadelphia, that may expand potential liability under the new ordinance to workers anywhere. Philadelphia employers are also required to post new notices in the workplace informing employees of their rights under the new ordinance.
If you are an employee who is owed back wages from your employer, or an employer wanting to stay compliant with wage laws, call Scott Fegley
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