PUBLICATIONS

Legal Questions



  • What is the difference between a basis of discrimination and an "act of harm."

    An act of harm is what happened to you. The basis (protected class) is the reason that the action may be unlawful, such as your race, sex, age, etc.


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  • What is the difference between unfair and unlawful discrimination?

    Unfair treatment is not necessarily unlawful. Unlawful discrimination is that which is prohibited under the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act and the Pennsylvania Fair Educational Opportunity Act.


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  • I'm going to be evicted (very soon!); can you please stop the eviction.

    The PHRC may or may not be able to stop an eviction. An injunction is very hard to get and should not be counted on. To get an injunction, you must present enough evidence for the Commission to convince a judge that you are being evicted because of your race, sex, religion, disability or other unlawful discriminatory reason and that you are being harmed in such a way that money will not make up for it. If the Commission decides to seek an injunction for you, it will do so as soon as possible.


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  • Is nepotism against the law?

    Nepotism is not addressed in the laws that PHRC enforces.

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  • How can I appeal a decision PHRC has made on my case?

    If you wish to appeal, you must do so in writing within 10 days after you receive notice that your case has been closed.

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  • Can I withdraw my complaint and when?

    Anytime you wish to do so, you may. If you do withdraw your complaint, however, you will probably not be able to refile it if you change your mind.

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  • Can I file in court? Which court...and when?

    You must file a complaint with the Commission to have a right to sue in a court of common pleas under the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act. You may file in a court of common pleas under the PHRAct if the Commission dismisses your complaint within one year of the date of filing or if the complaint is still open after one year. You also have two years from the date the Commission complaint is dismissed to file a complaint in a court of common pleas. If your complaint is also filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or Housing and Urban Development (HUD), you may have the right to file in federal court.



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  • Do I need a lawyer?

    No. You should be aware, however, that the Commission does not act as your lawyer unless the case goes to a public hearing. The Commission investigator must be neutral during the investigation and is not there to act as your legal representative.


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  • Can you refer me to a lawyer?

    The Commission is not permitted to provide any lawyer referrals.


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  • Is it best to hire a lawyer to represent my business after a complaint has been filed against me?

    An attorney may be helpful, especially if you think you might end up in court. You should always consider whether you should have one. The Commission cannot advise you on this matter.

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  • Where can we find the "PHRC Law" and "Rules and Regulations"?

    The Pennsylvania Human Relations Act may be found at 43 P.S. Section 951, et. seq. The Commission's Regulations may be found at 16 Pa. Code, Chapter 41. Or you can write or call to request a copy: PA Human Relations Commission, Communications Division, Pennsylvania Place, 301 Chestnut Street, Suite 300, Harrisburg, PA 17101-2702 or call (717) 772-2845 or (717) 787-4087 (TT).

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  • Can a complainant go to court and file against me or my company?

    Yes. A complainant may file in a court of common pleas under the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act if the Commission dismisses the complaint within one year of the date of filing or if the complaint is still open after one year. The complainant also has two years from the date the complaint is dismissed to file such a complaint.


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