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05/20/2024 04:33 AM
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
https://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/Legis/CSM/showMemoPublic.cfm?chamber=H&SPick=20230&cosponId=42245
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House Co-Sponsorship Memoranda

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House of Representatives
Session of 2023 - 2024 Regular Session

MEMORANDUM

Posted: March 6, 2024 12:59 PM
From: Representative Greg Scott and Rep. Maureen E. Madden
To: All House members
Subject: Strengthening Protections Against Workplace Discrimination
 
The Pennsylvania Human Relations Act protects Pennsylvanians from discrimination based on a host of factors, such as race, color, religion, ancestry, age, sex, national origin, familial status, and disability. This extends to protection from discrimination in the workplace, including harassment and retaliation.
 
Unfortunately, in 2022, Pennsylvania had the fifth-highest rate of workplace discrimination in the country according to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). This ranking is based only on incidents reported to the federal government, but studies estimate that up to 90 percent of discrimination goes unreported.
 
These statistics are staggering. While the Human Relations Act promotes equal opportunity for all Pennsylvanians, it is clear we must work to enhance its protections for workers in the Commonwealth.
 
We will be introducing two bills to strengthen the act by expanding its protections to more workers and ensuring employers have policies and procedures in place to curb workplace discrimination.
 
The act currently lacks protections for employees working in agriculture and domestic service. Our first bill would remove these inherently discriminatory exemptions, as well as the exemption for workplaces with less than 4 employees, to ensure more workers are protected from discrimination at work.
 
Our second piece of legislation will ensure employers have written policies and procedures for preventing harassment, discrimination, and retaliation against employees. The EEOC has identified the following principles as generally proven effective in preventing and addressing harassment: strong and comprehensive policies; trusted and accessible complaint procedures; and regular, interactive training tailored to the audience and the organization.
 
The bill will also create the Human Relations Training Fund to ensure financial penalties collected under the act are used by the commission for training, education, and outreach. This will help employers comply with the law and help employees understand their rights.
 



Document #1

Introduced as HB2105

Description: Document #1 – (Rep. Scott) -This bill amends the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act to remove the exemptions from the act’s protections for employees working in agriculture and domestic service as well as workplaces with less than four employees.
 
 

Document #2

Introduced as HB2104

Description: Document #2 – (Rep. Madden)  This bill amends the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act to ensure employers have written policies and procedures for preventing harassment, discrimination, and retaliation against employees. It also creates the Human Relations Training Fund.