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PA Human Resources Commission (PHRC) Acting Regional Director Morgan Williams will join our April 20, 2016 PALS meeting. The meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. at the Market District Cafe in the Waterworks Mall 933 Freeport Road Pittsburgh, PA 15211.

The presentation will focus on education, however as you will read below the PHRC enforces the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act and Pennsylvania Fair Educational Opprotunities Act. If you have a particular question regarding any aspect of these state laws, we invite you to comment below or send PALS an e-mail and we will make sure Morgan receives it prior to the meeting.

Below please find information about the PHRC taken directly from their website, phrc.pa.gov

The PA Human Relations Commission promotes equal opportunity for all and enforces Pennsylvania's civil rights laws that protect people from unlawful discrimination. As Pennsylvania's civil rights leader, it is our vision that all people in Pennsylvania will live, work, and learn free from unlawful discrimination.

The Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission, or PHRC, enforces state laws that prohibit discrimination: the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act, which covers discrimination in employment, housing, commercial property, education and public accommodations; and the Pennsylvania Fair Educational Opportunities Act, which is specific to postsecondary education and secondary vocational and trade schools.

In general, PA law prohibits discrimination based on race; color; religious creed; ancestry; age (40 and over); sex; national origin; familial status (only in housing); handicap or disability and the use, handling or training of support or guide animals for disability. Retaliation for filing a complaint, opposing unlawful behavior or assisting investigations is also illegal.

PHRC investigates employment discrimination complaints on behalf of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, or EEOC, and housing discrimination complaints on behalf of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, or HUD. These partnerships protect the rights of complainants under both state and federal law.

The law also empowers the commission to educate the public in order to prevent discrimination and foster equal opportunity; and to address incidents of bias that may lead to tension between racial, ethnic and other groups.

PHRC has administrative, legal and investigative staff, overseen by an executive director in Harrisburg and regional directors in Harrisburg, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.

Eleven commissioners, appointed by the governor and confirmed by the Senate, act as public liaisons, establish policies and resolve some cases that are not settled voluntarily. The commission is independent and nonpartisan, with no more than six commissioners from one political party. The chairperson is appointed by the governor, and a vice-chairperson, secretary and assistant secretary are elected by commissioners each year.

In the summer of 2014, PHRC adopted a three-year strategic plan to guide commission work and priorities and focus on the agency's mission, vision and values. Read about the commission's goals and objectives for enforcing non-discrimination laws and promoting equal opportunity in the 2014-2017 PHRC Strategic Plan (PDF).

The commission holds monthly public meetings, inviting the public to address issues of discrimination or civil tension in their communities. PHRC Public Meeting Schedule.

The PHRC Advisor Councils serve as liaisons in their communities and work to raise public awareness of civil rights issues. PHRC Advisory Council Information.

PHRC staff members do both in-depth training and brief presentations on topics including civil rights law & PHRC jurisdiction; cross-cultural communication; preventing discrimination in the school or workplace; conflict resolution; bias & hate crimes, and many more. Topics can be broad, such as a civil rights overview, or as specific as cyberbullying, sexual harassment, predatory lending, or making historic buildings accessible for people with disabilities. The goal of our presentations is always to promote equal opportunity, and to help communities, public agencies, businesses and schools prevent or eliminate illegal discrimination.

Presentations are tailored to the specific needs of your organization or community.

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