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UNDERSTANDING YOUR RIGHTS

PA's Human Relations Commission goes ground level

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Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission staff members hosted a 2-hour walk-in session Aug. 3 at the LGBT Center of Central PA.

With regard to LGBT-based complaints, since 2017 the state-level commission has been following "guidance" issued by the Federal-level EEOC, or Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The federal commission enforces civil rights laws in the workplace.

Because Pennsylvania’s commission does not have the responsibility to offer protections, or review claims, based "sexual orientation and/or gender identity." In lieu of that circumstance, the state commission has been accepting complaints from the public under the regulations known as Federal Title VII.

The state General Assembly has before it two pieces of legislation, House Bill 1404 by Rep. Dan Frankel and Senate Bill 614 by Sen. Farnese, that would empower the state commission to add LGBT language to the scope of its work. Pennsylvania has had similar legislation introduced in 2011, 2013, 2016, and 2018. And that’s where all activity stopped. The Central Voice photo