Appeals, Nos. 156 and 157, March T., 1962, from orders of Superior Court, April T., 1961, Nos. 57 and 58, affirming judgment of Court of Common Pleas of Washington County, Feb. T., 1960, Nos. 185 and 306, in case of Thelma Stollar, Virginia Heiney, Anna K. Heatley et al. v. The Continental Can Company, Inc., and Shirley Mae Blouir, Corothy Richardson, Martha J. Provance et al. v. Same. Order reversed.
George B. Stegenga, for appellant.
Charles C. Hewitt, with him James B. Hecht, Barron P. McCune, and Thorp, Reed & Armstrong, and McCune and Greenlee, for appellee.
Before Bell, C.j., Musmanno, Jones, Cohen, Eagen and O'brien, JJ.
OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE EAGEN
In these actions of assumpsit, the plaintiffs, female employees of the defendant-corporation, seek additional compensation allegedly due for work performed in the course of their employment. The court of common pleas sustained preliminary objections to the complaints in the nature of a demurrer and entered judgments for the defendant. On appeal, the Superior Court affirmed. We granted allocatur.
For the purpose of this decision, all well pleaded facts in the complaints must be accepted as true:
Sections 4(a) and 4(c) of the statute are separate and distinct. They apply to entirely different situations and are not inconsistent. The primary purpose of the act is to prevent discrimination in wage rates merely because of sex. Section 4(a) specifically states that "Any agreement between the employer and an employee to work for less than the wage to which such employee is entitled ... shall be no defense to such action." This provision was undoubtedly inserted with deliberate purpose and must be given effect.
We approve and adopt the following from the dissenting opinion of Judge MONTGOMERY of the Superior Court.
"The Statutory Construction Act, Act of May 28, 1937, P.L. 1019, art. IV, § 51, 46 PS 551, states in part: 'The object of all interpretation and construction of laws is to ascertain and effectuate the intention of the Legislature. Every law shall be construed, if possible, to give effect to all its provisions. ...'
"To fail to give effect to all of the provisions of a statute or to give them an unreasonable or absurd construction violates the fundamental rules of statutory interpretation. Sherwood v. Elgart, 383 Pa. 110, 117 A.2d 899. The legislature may be assumed to have intended the entire statute to be effective and certain. Every law must be construed, if possible, to give effect to all of its provisions. Sterling v. ...