Pennsylvania Aliens and Immigration laws & HR compliance analysis

Pennsylvania Aliens and Immigration: What you need to know

The Pennsylvania Human Relations Act prohibits employment practices that discriminate on the basis of national origin. Practices that discriminate against immigrants who are legally eligible to work may constitute national origin bias within the meaning of the Act.
The Act applies to employers with four or more employees (43 PA Stat. Sec. 951 et seq.).
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Citizenship requirements that are made a condition of employment discriminate on the basis of national origin in violation of the state law. Inquiries about a person's citizenship or country of birth are unlawful and imply discrimination on the basis of national origin.
The Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission enforces the Human Relations Act. The Commission is authorized to initiate, receive, and investigate discrimination complaints; issue subpoenas; hold hearings; issue administrative decisions and orders; and enforce its orders in state court. Discrimination complaints must be filed within 180 days after the alleged act of discrimination.
Remedies may include hiring, reinstatement, or promotion; back pay; actual damages; and civil penalties. A person alleging illegal discrimination may also, in certain circumstances, file a private lawsuit in state court to enforce rights under the Act (PA Stat. Tit. 43 Sec. 959).
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The federal Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA) requires employers to verify the legal status and right to work of all new hires. To satisfy verification requirements, employers should ask all new hires for documents establishing both identity and work authorization.
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