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​​Policy and Law

The Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission (PHRC) enforces state laws that prohibit discrimination. These state laws include:

​New Regulations

The Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission (PHRC) is pleased to announce new regulations, more clearly explaining the definitions of 'sex,' 'religious creed,' and 'race,' are now effective in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

According to the new regulations the protected classes, 
  • 'Sex' includes:
      • pregnancy status
      • childbirth status
      • breastfeeding status
      • sex assigned at birth
      • gender identity or expression
      • affectional or sexual orientation
      • differences in sex development. 
  •  'Race' includes:
      •  traits associated with race, including hair texture and protective hairstyles.
  • 'Religious Creed' includes:
      • all aspects of religious observance and practice, as well as belief.  

Following the Independent Regulatory Review Commission's approval in 2022, the PHRC's final-form regulations were approved by the PA Office of Attorney General and published in the Pennsylvania Bulletin  in June 2023.

The PHRC enforces state laws that prohibit discrimination. These state laws include the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act (PHRA), which covers discrimination in employment, housing, commercial property, education, and public accommodations; and the Pennsylvania Fair Education Opportunities Act, which is specific to postsecondary education and secondary vocational and trade schools. Under the PHRA, Pennsylvania law prohibits discrimination based on race, color, age (40 and over), sex, ancestry, national origin, religion, familial status (only in housing), disability, use, handling, or training of service/guide animals for a disability, and retaliation.  

Resources

The following resources detail anti-discrimination laws, regulations, policies, procedures, and case histories:

Additional Law-related Resources