WHAT IS ILLEGAL DISCRIMINATION?
Discrimination comes in many forms. Some of them are illegal, and some are not illegal under current PA law. The law protects you from discrimination in five areas:
- Employment - getting a job or on the job
- Education - in school, whether it be public or private school, college, trade school or university
- Public Accommodations - access to public places or services
- Housing - in renting, buying selling or getting a loan for a home
- Commercial property - access to or the purchase, sale or lease of commercial property
PA law prohibits discrimination in employment based on race, color, age (40 and over), sex, ancestry, national origin, religion, familial status (housing only), disability and the use of guide or support animals for disability. Handling and training of guide or support animals for disability are also protected in public accommodations and housing. The law also prohibits employment discrimination based on holding a GED instead of a high school diploma, and refusal to participate in abortion or sterilization procedures. You are protected against retaliation for filing a complaint, assisting with a complaint investigation or opposing unlawful discrimination.
The law defines each of the areas in which discrimination is prohibited and the bases of illegal discrimination listed above, as well as others included in the law.
A job applicant is turned down because he is African-American. A woman is paid less than a man for the same work. Your boss or co-worker makes unwanted sexual advances. A student with disabilities is denied the use of a guide dog. Your city doesn't offer accessible parking for people with disabilities. You are offered one price for an apartment over the phone, then you arrive with children and the landlord quotes a higher price... All of these situations and many more can be illegal discrimination. Find out more below.
WHERE AND HOW TO FILE A COMPLAINT
If you believe you have experienced illegal discrimination, you have the right to file a complaint, and the PA Human Relations Commission will investigate.
Complaint forms can be found at the link below. Please fill out the form that best describes what happened to you, then mail it to the PA Human Relations Commission office serving your county* as shown on the map below. You may also visit an office during the hours listed, but we recommend calling for an appointment. Language translation and services for visual and hearing disabilities are available on request to those needing assistance filing a complaint.
Complaints must be filed within 180 days of the alleged act of harm (the discriminatory action or incident).
COMPLAINT FORMS Forms can be downloaded here, but cannot be submitted online. Mail your completed forms to the office in the county where the discrimination occurred. We will contact you if more information is necessary in order to complete your complaint.