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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: December 9, 2020 02:55 PM
From: Senator Christine M. Tartaglione
To: All Senate members
Subject: Expanding Protections for All Independent Contractors and Unpaid Interns
In the near future, I will be re-introducing legislation, formerly SB 503 in the 2019-20 session, that will amend the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act (PHRA) to expand protection from discrimination based on “race, color, religious creed, ancestry, age, sex, national origin or non-job related handicap or disability or the use of a guide or support animal because of the blindness, deafness or physical handicap” to all independent contractors and unpaid interns.

Current law only protects independent contractors that have a license from the Bureau of Occupational and Professional Affairs and provides no protections for unpaid interns, as they are not considered employees.
Our goal is to create safe, equitable, and accountable workplaces where jobs and opportunities for upward mobility are not leveraged for sex or where people are humiliated based on their background or identity. This legislation is part of a multi-bill package intended to address the all-to-common workplace harassment that continues to be a national issue. The #MeToo movement has fortunately provided many victims the opportunity to bring their stories forward and created momentum for action, but more needs to be done.

This bill will offer the protections afforded to most employees under the act to all independent contractors and unpaid interns. Please join me in supporting this legislation and help contractors and interns enjoy a discrimination-free environment like other protected workers.

Members who co-sponsored this legislation previously include Senators Fontana, Brewster, Leach, Costa, Muth, Farnese, Kearney, Hughes and Schwank.

Introduced as SB216