C.R.O.W.N.- Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair

In August 2023, the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission (PHRC) announced new regulations, more clearly explaining the definitions of 'sex,' 'religious creed,' and 'race,' that are now effective in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. PHRC is empowered to investigate complaints of discrimination on the basis of race, which includes: traits associated with race, including hair texture and protective hairstyles. 

Under the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act (PHRA), protections are available in employment, housing, commercial property, public accommodations and educational institutions. 
Under the Pennsylvania Fair Educational Opportunities Act (PFEOA), protections are available for most post-secondary schools. Coverage may otherwise be available under the PHRA, except those schools that are fully private. 

What do I do if I feel I have been discriminated against? 
    • If you feel you have been the victim of illegal discrimination, file a complaint or report a bias incident. Complainants can call (717) 787-4410, or visit one of our three regional offices. 
    • A dedicated, unbiased PHRC investigator will walk you through the process and help prepare your complaint.
    • Complainants do not incur any attorney fees during the investigation process from the PHRC. Complainants do have the right to obtain private legal services at their own expense, but this is not required.
    • Complaints must be filed within 180 days of the alleged act of harm.
    • Pennsylvania law also protects you from retaliation. This means no one is allowed to take any action against you for filing a complaint, opposing unlawful activity, or helping with an investigation.

Examples of Hair Discrimination
    • Firing a person because of their hairstyle.
    • Creating company policies requiring employees to alter their hair outside of safety codes.
    • Creating school policies restricting how students can wear or treat their hair.
    • Retaliation for filing a complaint or opposing unlawful behavior.