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Discrimination Laws in Pennsylvania

While Pennsylvania is an employment at-will state, that does not mean that an employer can discharge an employee in violation of a statute that prohibits discrimination.  The Pennsylvania Human Relations Act currently prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religious creed, national origin, ancestry (nationality or ethnic group from which a person is descended), age (over 40), sex, disability and familial status (housing only).

Filing A Complaint

If you feel that you have been the victim of discrimination and want to begin the complaint process, you need to file your complaint with the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission (PHRC).  You may file your complaint at one of the Commission’s three regional offices. The county is determined by the location of the alleged act of harm — NOT the county in which you live. For example, you live in Berks County, but you work in Montgomery County. Your complaint would be filed with the Philadelphia Regional Office.

You must file your complaint within 180 days of the alleged act of harm (e.g., a demotion, termination).  You may choose to be represented by an attorney, but it is not required.  In most instances the PHRC will cross file your complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

If your allegations are also covered by federal laws, the Commission will process your complaint with the appropriate federal agency.

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