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Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission

The Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission (Commission) has legislatively delegated authority to investigate whenever a complaint alleging the occurrence of unlawful discrimination in the areas of employment, housing and commercial property, education and/or regarding public accommodations has been filed. Additionally, the Commission has legislatively delegated authority to convene administrative hearings under a variety of circumstances. Most frequently, the hearings that we conduct are hearings conducted following completion of the investigative process when the investigation has resulted in a determination that probable cause exists to credit the allegations found in the complaint (we refer to these as “public hearings”). All hearings held involve the Commission’s authority to enforce the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act and/or the Pennsylvania Fair Educational Opportunities Act.
Public hearings convened by the Commission are adversary proceedings that are heard either by a panel of three Commissioners or by a permanent hearing examiner employed by the Commissioner. The hearings almost always last at least one day and frequently take two or more days to complete. There is both direct and cross-examination of all witnesses, introduction of documentary and other types of evidence and submission of post hearing briefs. Testimony is under oath and transcribed by a court reporter. The hearings may be held in any location throughout the Commonwealth, depending upon where the alleged act of unlawful discrimination occurred.
Both the Complainant and the Respondent are entitled to have counsel represent them. Respondents almost always are represented by private counsel. Complainants sometimes but not always are represented. The case in support of the complaint may be presented by a Commission attorney, by the Complainant’s attorney or by a designated agent of the Complainant.


James D. Holt, Ed. D.
Executive Assistant
Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission
301 Chestnut Street, Suite 300
Harrisburg, PA 17101