FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 29, 2023
PA Human Relations Commission Approves $155,000 Disability and Retaliation Settlement
HARRISBURG – The Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission (PHRC) announced today it has approved a $155,000 settlement over allegations that an Agency of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania discriminated and retaliated against the Complainant, who would like to only be identified as Stokes, by failing to provide a reasonable accommodation in the workplace. The settlement does not include any admission of liability or wrongdoing on the part of the agency. The case was prosecuted by Solomon Krevsky and Deborah Gearhart of Krevsky Bowser, out of Harrisburg, PA, and PHRC staff counsel John Brubaker, out of the PHRC's Philadelphia Regional Office.
"The PHRC is committed to fairly and impartially investigating complaints on behalf of Complainants and Respondents alike, and I applaud Stokes, the PHRC's staff, and the Commonwealth agency in this case for arriving at this resolution," said Chad Dion Lassiter, Executive Director of the PHRC. "Discrimination in all forms is not tolerated in Pennsylvania."
Meredith Millard, Chief Counsel to the PHRC added, "Reasonable accommodations allow individuals, who otherwise would be prevented from obtaining and/or maintaining gainful employment, to fully participate in our economy and apply their talents with only minimal adjustments on behalf of employers. As such, laws such as the PHRA are important tools to promote individual liberty, personal autonomy, and freedom in the workplace and beyond. Staff counsel Brubaker did an excellent job representing the PHRC's statutory mandate to defend against unlawful discrimination."
Stokes initiated a complaint with the PHRC, triggering an investigation, after which the PHRC found probable cause to credit Stokes's allegations. After conciliation talks failed, the PHRC's staff counsel joined Krevsky Bowser to present the case at a Commission hearing, as permitted by statute. The parties then settled the matter successfully prior to a hearing, and on August 28, 2023, the PHRC approved the agreement and entered it as a Final Order.
In addition to a monetary settlement, the Commonwealth agency has agreed to continue providing the annual disability and reasonable accommodation training it already conducts.
The PHRC, the state's leading civil rights enforcement agency, urges anyone who has not been granted a reasonable accommodation or has experienced acts of discrimination or retaliation to file a complaint with the PHRC by calling 717-787-4410. Information and resources are also available at www.PHRC.pa.gov.