Pennsylvania workers will now get to sue their employers for medical malpractice if they get sick and they don’t receive a prompt medical response to their complaints, a bill approved Tuesday by the state’s House of Representatives.
The bill, HR 438, will be up for a vote Thursday.
The law also allows workers to sue for “mental health issues” such as PTSD and depression if they feel like they were fired unfairly.
Workers are also eligible to seek monetary damages for wrongful termination, which can be as much $1 million or more, and to recover wages from employers who fail to provide health care, including prescription drugs and medical equipment.
The Pennsylvania bill also gives the state attorney general the authority to sue in civil court for violations of workers’ rights, including wage theft and discrimination.
“In Pennsylvania, we’re looking at a situation where you have a lot of sick people who need medical care, who are being fired,” Rep. Rick Vos, D-Philadelphia, said of the bill, which would give employers the right to terminate workers without cause, but not to pay the full amount.
“We’re looking to hold employers accountable for their actions.”
The bill would also allow workers to file civil rights claims with the state Department of Human Resources and provide an attorney for workers who are suing their employers.
State Sen. Barbara Buono, a Democrat from Montgomery County, said she supported HR 437 but that it did not go far enough in protecting workers’ health.
“We have a law that protects us from retaliation for our health issues and we’re supposed to protect those from discrimination,” Buono said.
“This is a step in the right direction.”