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​Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission releases 2023 Annual Report

03/29/2024


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 29, 2024
Contact: Amanda Brothman, ambrothman@pa.gov

 
Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission releases 2023 Annual Report
 

Harrisburg, PA- The 2023 Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission (PHRC) Annual Report is now available. The PHRC is required by state law to release an annual report by March 31 of each year. The report includes statistics about the type and number of discrimination complaints filed in Pennsylvania each year, legal orders issued, information about promoting equal opportunity, and information about enforcing anti-discrimination laws.

"The work that PHRC does is vitally important, and everyone working at the PHRC including the staff and Commissioners understand that we stand firmly on the frontline of social justice even in difficult and perilous times," said PHRC Chair M. Joel Bolstein, Esq. "During the past year, the PHRC has been actively engaged in protecting the civil rights of Pennsylvanians just as it has done for the nearly seven decades it has been in existence. Each year, our dedicated staff investigates thousands of complaints alleging discrimination in employment, housing, education and public accommodations and this past year has been no different."

"I commend the efforts of my staff who diligently serve the citizens of the Commonwealth," said PHRC Executive Director Chad Dion Lassiter, MSW. "The work is not easy, but we are guided by our vision—that all people in Pennsylvania will live, work, and learn free from unlawful discrimination. However, enforcing the law is not enough. Pennsylvania currently ranks eighth in the nation for the number of hate groups. To truly manifest our vision, we need to build a Beloved Community, one that accepts all people regardless of their race, sex, gender, religion, age, or ethnicity."

PHRC was created in 1955 and enforces state laws that prohibit discrimination. These state laws include:

The PHRC administrative, legal, and investigative staff is led by an Executive Director in Harrisburg and Regional Directors in Harrisburg, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh. Eleven Commissioners, appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the state Senate, act as public liaisons, establish policies, and resolve some cases that are not settled voluntarily.

In 2023, the PHRC released new regulations, more clearly explaining the definition of 'sex,' 'religious creed,' and 'race.' According to the new regulations, '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; and 'religious creed' includes all aspects of religious observance and practice, as well as belief.

The PHRC, the state's civil rights enforcement agency, urges anyone who has experienced acts of discrimination or hate to file a complaint by calling 717-787-4410.  Information and resources are also available at www.PHRC.pa.gov. Follow the PHRC on X, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube, and subscribe to our monthly newsletter.

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