The growing diversity seen in today’s workforce presents employers with many exciting opportunities, but at the same time, poses increasing challenges, not the least of which is the danger of discrimination – real or perceived. Unlawful discrimination, often more subtle than it was in the not-too-distant past, continues to impact the lives of citizens throughout the Commonwealth.
Nationally, for example, the EEOC reported that in 2007 charges alleging racial bias rose 12% from the previous year, sex 7%, age 14%, and disability 12%. In Pennsylvania, race discrimination employment complaints constitute the largest share of all cases filed (32.5%), followed by sex (25%), disability (22%) and age (19%). Retaliation complaints in the last fiscal year rose by 12%. Housing and public accommodation are also areas that see significant discriminatory practices.
At the state level, these unlawful acts of discrimination are governed by the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act (PHRA), which is enforced by the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission (PHRC).
Whether you represent complainants or respondents, and whether your client is a private or public entity, effective representation requires an understanding of the PHRA and of the PHRC’s unique structure and procedures. Our experienced faculty members also update you on Pennsylvania law and discuss, compare and contrast the PHRA with various federal anti-discrimination statutes.
Understand the statutory process and the procedures used by the PHRC:
· The complaint, the answer, motions and rule to show cause proceedings
· Pre-determination settlement opportunities
· Fact-finding conferences
· Evidence gathering methods, including use of subpoenas and subpoena enforcement procedures
· Probable cause and no probable cause findings
· Public hearings and discovery mechanisms
· Preliminary hearing requests
· Filing in court
· The role of PHRC attorneys during an investigation, during public hearings and on appeal
Receive step-by-step guidance on the following subjects:
· Determining if you have a case – the complaint process and definitions
· Where to file, who to contact
· Understanding the PHRC’s unique rules of administrative practice and procedure, and the new Right to Know Law
· Presenting your case to the PHRC, from the initial filing of the complaint to the fact finding conference to the hearing