Pennsylvania Statutes Title 43 P.S. Labor § 955. 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 or the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania:

(a) For any employer because of the 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 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.”  1  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 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, 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, 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, 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 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, 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, 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.

(d) For any person, employer, employment agency or labor organization to discriminate in any manner against any individual because such individual has opposed any practice forbidden by this act, or because such individual has made a charge, testified or assisted, in any manner, in any investigation, proceeding or hearing under this act.

(e) For any person, employer, employment agency, labor organization or employe, to aid, abet, incite, compel or coerce the doing of any act declared by this section to be an unlawful discriminatory practice, or to obstruct or prevent any person from complying with the provisions of this act or any order issued thereunder, or to attempt, directly or indirectly, to commit any act declared by this section to be an unlawful discriminatory practice.

(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, 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 cause to be published any advertisement which in any manner expresses a limitation or preference as to the race, color, 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.

(h) For any person to:

(1) Refuse to sell, lease, finance or otherwise to deny or withhold any housing accommodation or commercial property from any person because of the race, color, familial status, age, religious creed, ancestry, sex, national origin or handicap or disability of any person, prospective owner, occupant or user of such housing accommodation or commercial property, or to refuse to lease any housing accommodation or commercial property to any person due to use of a guide animal because of the blindness or deafness of the user, use of a support animal because of a physical handicap of the user or because the user is a handler or trainer of support or guide animals or because of the handicap or disability of an individual with whom the person is known to have a relationship or association.

(1.1) Evict or attempt to evict an occupant of any housing accommodation before the end of the term of a lease because of pregnancy or the birth of a child.

(2) Refuse to lend money, whether or not secured by mortgage or otherwise for the acquisition, construction, rehabilitation, repair or maintenance of any housing accommodation or commercial property or otherwise withhold financing of any housing accommodation or commercial property from any person because of the race, color, familial status, age, religious creed, ancestry, sex, national origin, handicap or disability of any person, 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 or because of the handicap or disability of an individual with whom the person is known to have a relationship or association.

(3) Discriminate against any person in the terms or conditions of selling or leasing any housing accommodation or commercial property or in furnishing facilities, services or privileges in connection with the ownership, occupancy or use of any housing accommodation or commercial property because of the race, color, familial status, age, religious creed, ancestry, sex, national origin, handicap or disability of any person, 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 or because of the handicap or disability of an individual with whom the person is known to have a relationship or association.

(3.1) Refuse to permit, at the expense of a person with a handicap, reasonable modifications of existing premises occupied or to be occupied by such person if such modifications may be necessary to afford such person full enjoyment of the premises, except that, in the case of a rental, the landlord may, where it is reasonable to do so, grant permission for a modification if the renter agrees to restore the interior of the premises to the condition that existed before the modification, with reasonable wear and tear excepted.

(3.2) Refuse to make reasonable accommodations in rules, policies, practices or services when such accommodations may be necessary to afford such person equal opportunity to use and enjoy a housing accommodation.

(4) Discriminate against any person in the terms or conditions of any loan of money, whether or not secured by mortgage or otherwise for the acquisition, construction, rehabilitation, repair or maintenance of housing accommodation or commercial property because of the race, color, familial status, age, religious creed, ancestry, sex, national origin or handicap or disability of any person, 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 guide or support animals or because of the handicap or disability of an individual with whom the person is known to have a relationship or association.

(5) Print, publish or circulate any statement or advertisement:  (i) relating to the sale, lease or acquisition of any housing accommodation or commercial property or the loan of money, whether or not secured by mortgage, or otherwise for the acquisition, construction, rehabilitation, repair or maintenance of any housing accommodation or commercial property which indicates any preference, limitation, specification, or discrimination based upon race, color, familial status, age, religious creed, ancestry, sex, national origin, handicap or disability or because of the handicap or disability of an individual with whom the person is known to have a relationship or association, or (ii) relating to the sale, lease or acquisition of any housing accommodation or commercial property which indicates any preference, limitation, specification or discrimination based upon 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.

(6) Make any inquiry, elicit any information, make or keep any record or use any form of application, containing questions or entries concerning race, color, familial status, age, religious creed, ancestry, sex, national origin, handicap or disability or because of the handicap or disability of an individual with whom the person is known to have a relationship or association in connection with the sale or lease of any housing accommodation or commercial property or loan of any money, whether or not secured by mortgage or otherwise for the acquisition, construction, rehabilitation, repair or maintenance of any housing accommodation or commercial property, or to make any inquiry, elicit any information, make or keep any record or use any form of application, containing questions or entries concerning 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, in connection with the lease of any housing accommodation or commercial property.

(7) Construct, operate, offer for sale, lease or rent or otherwise make available housing or commercial property which is not accessible.

(8) Discriminate in real estate-related transactions, as described by and subject to the following:

(i) It shall be unlawful for any person or other entity whose business includes engaging in real estate-related transactions to discriminate against any person in making available such a transaction or in the terms of conditions of such a transaction because of race, color, religious creed, ancestry, national origin, sex, age, handicap or disability, use of a guide or support animal because of a physical handicap or because the user is a handler or trainer of guide or support animals or familial status.

(ii) Nothing in this act prohibits a person engaged in the business of furnishing appraisals of real property to take into consideration factors other than race, color, religious creed, ancestry, national origin, sex, age, handicap or disability, use of a guide or support animal because of a physical handicap or because the user is a handler or trainer of guide or support animals or familial status.

(9) Nothing in this clause, regarding age or familial status, shall apply with respect to housing for older persons.  A person shall not be held personally liable for monetary damages for a violation of this act if the person reasonably relied, in good faith, on the application of the exemption of this subclause.  A person may only prove good faith reliance on the application of the exemption of this subclause by proving that at the time of the act complained of all of the following applied:

(i) The person had no actual knowledge that the housing was not eligible for exemption under this subclause.

(ii) The owner or manager of the housing had stated formally, in writing, that the housing complied with the requirements for exemption under this subclause.

(10) Nothing in this clause shall bar any religious or denominational institution or organization or any charitable or educational organization which is operated, supervised or controlled by or in connection with a religious organization or any bona fide private or fraternal organization from giving preference to persons of the same religion or denomination or to members of such private or fraternal organization or from making such selection as is calculated by such organization to promote the religious principles or the aims, purposes or fraternal principles for which it is established or maintained.  Nor shall it apply to the rental of rooms in a landlord-occupied rooming house with a common entrance, nor with respect to discrimination based on sex, the advertising, rental or leasing of housing accommodations in a single-sex dormitory or rooms in one's personal residence in which common living areas are shared.

(11) Nothing in this act limits the applicability of the Fair Housing Act and reasonable State or local restrictions on the maximum number of occupants permitted to occupy a dwelling or a reasonable restriction relating to health or safety standards or business necessity.  Owners and managers of dwellings may develop and implement reasonable occupancy and safety standards based on factors such as the number and size of sleeping areas or bedrooms and the overall size of a dwelling unit so long as the standards do not violate the Fair Housing Act or State or local restrictions.

(i) For any person being the owner, lessee, proprietor, manager, superintendent, agent or employe of any public accommodation, resort or amusement to:

(1) Refuse, withhold from, or deny to any person because of his race, color, sex, religious creed, ancestry, national origin or handicap or disability, or to any person due to 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, either directly or indirectly, any of the accommodations, advantages, facilities or privileges of such public accommodation, resort or amusement.

(2) Publish, circulate, issue, display, post or mail, either directly or indirectly, any written or printed communication, notice or advertisement to the effect that any of the accommodations, advantages, facilities and privileges of any such place shall be refused, withheld from or denied to any person on account of race, color, religious creed, sex, ancestry, national origin or handicap or disability, or to any person due to 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, or that the patronage or custom thereat of any person, belonging to or purporting to be of any particular race, color, religious creed, sex, ancestry, national origin or handicap or disability, or to any person due to 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 unwelcome, objectionable or not acceptable, desired or solicited.

(3) Exclude or otherwise deny equal goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, accommodations or other opportunities to a person because of the handicap or disability of an individual with whom the person is known to have a relationship or association.

(4) Construct, operate or otherwise make available such place of public accommodation, resort or amusement which is not accessible.

(j) For any person subject to the act to fail to post and exhibit prominently in his place of business any fair practices notice prepared and distributed by the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission.

(k) For any employer to discriminate against an employe or a prospective employe because the employe only has a diploma based on passing a general educational development test as compared to a high school diploma.  However, should vocational technical training or other special training be required with regard to a specific position, then such training or special training may be considered by the employer.

(l) To exclude or otherwise deny equal jobs or benefits to a person because of the handicap or disability of an individual with whom the person is known to have a relationship or association.

This section of the act shall not be construed to prohibit the refusal to hire or the dismissal of a person who is not able to function properly in the job applied for or engaged in.

1 43 P.S. § 90.1 et seq.




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