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PRINTER'S NO. 217
THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF PENNSYLVANIA
SENATE BILL
No.
235
Session of
2017
INTRODUCED BY LEACH, BLAKE, SABATINA, FONTANA, COSTA, SCHWANK
AND HUGHES, JANUARY 26, 2017
REFERRED TO LABOR AND INDUSTRY, JANUARY 26, 2017
AN ACT
Amending the act of October 27, 1955 (P.L.744, No.222),
entitled, as amended, "An act prohibiting certain practices
of discrimination because of race, color, religious creed,
ancestry, age or national origin by employers, employment
agencies, labor organizations and others as herein defined;
creating the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission in the
Governor's Office; defining its functions, powers and duties;
providing for procedure and enforcement; providing for
formulation of an educational program to prevent prejudice;
providing for judicial review and enforcement and imposing
penalties," further providing for findings and declaration of
policy, for right to freedom from discrimination in
employment, housing and public accommodation, for definitions
and for unlawful discriminatory practices.
The General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
hereby enacts as follows:
Section 1. Sections 2 and 3 of the act of October 27, 1955
(P.L.744, No.222), known as the Pennsylvania Human Relations
Act, are amended to read:
Section 2. Findings and Declaration of Policy.--
(a) The practice or policy of discrimination against
individuals or groups by reason of their race, color, familial
status, marital status, religious creed, ancestry, age, sex,
national origin, handicap or disability, use of guide or support
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animals because of the blindness, deafness or physical handicap
of the user or because the user is a handler or trainer of
support or guide animals is a matter of concern of the
Commonwealth. Such discrimination foments domestic strife and
unrest, threatens the rights and privileges of the inhabitants
of the Commonwealth, and undermines the foundations of a free
democratic state. The denial of equal employment, housing and
public accommodation opportunities because of such
discrimination, and the consequent failure to utilize the
productive capacities of individuals to their fullest extent,
deprives large segments of the population of the Commonwealth of
earnings necessary to maintain decent standards of living,
necessitates their resort to public relief and intensifies group
conflicts, thereby resulting in grave injury to the public
health and welfare, compels many individuals to live in
dwellings which are substandard, unhealthful and overcrowded,
resulting in racial segregation in public schools and other
community facilities, juvenile delinquency and other evils,
thereby threatening the peace, health, safety and general
welfare of the Commonwealth and its inhabitants.
(b) It is hereby declared to be the public policy of this
Commonwealth to foster the employment of all individuals in
accordance with their fullest capacities regardless of their
race, color, familial status, marital status, religious creed,
ancestry, age, sex, national origin, handicap or disability, use
of guide or support animals because of the blindness, deafness
or physical handicap of the user or because the user is a
handler or trainer of support or guide animals, and to safeguard
their right to obtain and hold employment without such
discrimination, to assure equal opportunities to all individuals
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and to safeguard their rights to public accommodation and to
secure housing accommodation and commercial property regardless
of race, color, familial status, marital status, religious
creed, ancestry, age, sex, national origin, handicap or
disability, use of guide or support animals because of blindness
or deafness of the user or because the user is a handler or
trainer of guide or support animals.
(c) This act shall be deemed an exercise of the police power
of the Commonwealth for the protection of the public welfare,
prosperity, health and peace of the people of the Commonwealth
of Pennsylvania.
Section 3. Right to Freedom from Discrimination in
Employment, Housing and Public Accommodation.--The opportunity
for an individual to obtain employment for which he is
qualified, and to obtain all the accommodations, advantages,
facilities and privileges of any public accommodation and of any
housing accommodation and commercial property without
discrimination because of race, color, familial status, marital
status, religious creed, ancestry, handicap or disability, age,
sex, national origin, the use of a guide or support animal
because of the blindness, deafness or physical handicap of the
user or because the user is a handler or trainer of support or
guide animals is hereby recognized as and declared to be a civil
right which shall be enforceable as set forth in this act.
Section 2. Section 4(t) of the act is amended and the
section is amended by adding a clause to read:
Section 4. Definitions.--As used in this act unless a
different meaning clearly appears from the context:
* * *
(t) The term "familial status" means one or more individuals
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who have not attained the age of eighteen years being domiciled
with:
(1) a parent or other person having legal custody of such
individual or individuals; or
(2) the designee of such parent or other person having such
custody, with the written permission of such parent or other
person.
The term includes an individual who is a provider of care, or is
perceived to be a provider of care, for a family member, whether
in the past, present or future. The term "family member" shall
include the employe's spouse, domestic partner, children,
including through adoption or other legal custodial
relationship, household members, parents and all other persons
related to the employe and the employe's spouse and children by
marriage, blood or consanguinity.
The protections afforded against discrimination on the basis of
familial status shall apply to any person who is pregnant or is
in the process of securing legal custody of any individual who
has not attained the age of 18 years.
* * *
(bb) The term "marital status" means whether a person is
single, married, divorced, separated or widowed.
Section 3. Section 5(a), (b), (c), (f) and (g) of the act
are amended to read:
Section 5. Unlawful Discriminatory Practices.--It shall be
an unlawful discriminatory practice, unless based upon a bona
fide occupational qualification, or in the case of a fraternal
corporation or association, unless based upon membership in such
association or corporation, or except where based upon
applicable security regulations established by the United States
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or the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania:
(a) For any employer because of the race, color, familial
status, marital status, 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 of any individual or independent
contractor, to refuse to hire or employ or contract with, or to
bar or to discharge from employment such individual or
independent contractor, or to otherwise discriminate against
such individual or independent contractor with respect to
compensation, hire, tenure, terms, conditions or privileges of
employment or contract, if the individual or independent
contractor is the best able and most competent to perform the
services required. The provision of this paragraph shall not
apply, to (1) operation of the terms or conditions of any bona
fide retirement or pension plan which have the effect of a
minimum service requirement, (2) operation of the terms or
conditions of any bona fide group or employe insurance plan, (3)
age limitations placed upon entry into bona fide apprenticeship
programs of two years or more approved by the State
Apprenticeship and Training Council of the Department of Labor
and Industry, established by the act of July 14, 1961 (P.L.604,
No.304), known as "The Apprenticeship and Training Act."
Notwithstanding any provision of this clause, it shall not be an
unlawful employment practice for a religious corporation or
association to hire or employ on the basis of sex in those
certain instances where sex is a bona fide occupational
qualification because of the religious beliefs, practices, or
observances of the corporation, or association.
(b) For any employer, employment agency or labor
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organization, prior to the employment, contracting with an
independent contractor or admission to membership, to:
(1) Elicit any information or make or keep a record of or
use any form of application or application blank containing
questions or entries concerning the race, color, familial
status, marital status, religious creed, ancestry, age, sex,
national origin, past handicap or disability or the use of a
guide or support animal because of the blindness, deafness or
physical handicap of any applicant for employment or membership.
Prior to an offer of employment, an employer may not inquire as
to whether an individual has a handicap or disability or as to
the severity of such handicap or disability. An employer may
inquire as to the individual's ability to perform the essential
functions of the employment.
(2) Print or publish or cause to be printed or published any
notice or advertisement relating to employment or membership
indicating any preference, limitation, specification or
discrimination based upon race, color, familial status, marital
status, religious creed, ancestry, age, sex, national origin,
non-job related handicap or disability or the use of a guide or
support animal because of the blindness, deafness or physical
handicap of the user.
(3) Deny or limit, through a quota system, employment or
membership because of race, color, familial status, marital
status, religious creed, ancestry, age, sex, national origin,
non-job related handicap or disability, the use of a guide or
support animal because of the blindness, deafness or physical
handicap of the user or place of birth.
(4) Substantially confine or limit recruitment or hiring of
individuals, with intent to circumvent the spirit and purpose of
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this act, to any employment agency, employment service, labor
organization, training school or training center or any other
employe-referring source which services individuals who are
predominantly of the same race, color, familial status, marital
status, religious creed, ancestry, age, sex, national origin or
non-job related handicap or disability.
(5) Deny employment because of a prior handicap or
disability.
Nothing in clause (b) of this section shall bar any
institution or organization for handicapped or disabled persons
from limiting or giving preference in employment or membership
to handicapped or disabled persons.
(c) For any labor organization because of the race, color,
familial status, marital status, religious creed, ancestry, age,
sex, national origin, non-job related handicap or disability or
the use of a guide or support animal because of the blindness,
deafness or physical handicap of any individual to deny full and
equal membership rights to any individual or otherwise to
discriminate against such individuals with respect to hire,
tenure, terms, conditions or privileges of employment or any
other matter, directly or indirectly, related to employment.
* * *
(f) For any employment agency to fail or refuse to classify
properly, refer for employment or otherwise to discriminate
against any individual because of his race, color, familial
status, marital status, religious creed, ancestry, age, sex,
national origin, non-job related handicap or disability or the
use of a guide or support animal because of the blindness,
deafness or physical handicap of the user.
(g) For any individual seeking employment to publish or
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cause to be published any advertisement which in any manner
expresses a limitation or preference as to the race, color,
familial status, marital status, religious creed, ancestry, age,
sex, national origin, non-job related handicap or disability or
the use of a guide or support animal because of the blindness,
deafness or physical handicap of any prospective employer.
* * *
Section 4. This act shall take effect in 60 days.
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