How do I file a claim with the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission?
In order to bring a claim for an alleged unlawful discriminatory practice, you should draft, sign, and file a verified written complaint with the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission (PHRC)1. Your claim must contain your name as well as the name and address of the person, employer, or organization alleged to have committed the discrimination. You cannot file anonymously.
The PHRC Process
What can I expect from the PHRC process?
Unless the PHRC dismisses your complaint, it will make your employer aware of the complaint and complete an investigation into the merits of the claim. If the PHRC finds that discrimination may have taken place, it will attempt to reach a settlement between you and your employer. If no settlement is reached, the PHRC may hold a hearing in which your employer must respond to the allegations contained in your complaint. 6 After the hearing, if the PHRC finds that discrimination has occurred, a number of remedies are available, including reinstatement, compensation for loss of income, and reimbursement for expenses accrued while pursuing the complaint. 7
What if the PHRC dismisses my complaint?
If the PHRC dismisses your discrimination claim, you may file independently in a Court of Common Pleas under the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act (PHRA). You must file this second complaint within two years of the date the PHRC complaint was dismissed. 8
Can I file a complaint on my own?
Pennsylvania courts have held that that the PHRC process is the only available channel for initiating a sex discrimination complaint. 9 However, if your PHRC complaint is still open after one year or if the PHRC dismisses your claim, you may file independently in court under the PHRA. 10
1 43 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 959 (West 2010).
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