Monday, August 20, 2018

PHRC: Pennsylvania law prohibits sexual orientation discrimination

Here in Pennsylvania, we have a workplace anti-discrimination law called the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act (PHRA). It's a lot like the federal laws (Title VII, ADA, ADEA). One notable distinction is that the PHRA applies to employers with 4 or more employees, whereas the federal antidiscrimination laws generally require 15 (20 for the ADEA). One similarity is that the PHRA prohibits "sex" discrimination but not expressly "sexual orientation" discrimination.

Well, the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission recently issued some important guidance: PHRC Guidance on Discrimination on teh Basis of Sex Under the PHRA. A key takeaway:
The prohibitions contained in the PHRA and related case law against discrimination on the basis of sex, in all areas of jurisdiction where sex is a protected class, prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex assigned at birth, sexual orientation, transgender identity, gender transition, gender identity, and gender expression.
The PHRC will accept complaints from people alleging discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity/transition/expression. But, will evaluate them "using any and all legal theories available depending on the facts of the individual case."