The Pennsylvania Human Relations Act prohibits employment practices that discriminate on the basis of sex, unless a bona fide occupational qualification (BFOQ) exception applies. Independent contractors as well as employees are protected from discrimination. The Act applies to all public employers and private employers with four or more employees (PA Stat. Tit. 43 Sec. 951 et seq.).
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has overruled a state court ruling that would have allowed an employer with fewer than four employees to be liable for sex discrimination under the state Human Relations Act (Weaver v. Harpster, 975 A.2d 555 (2009)). In its decision, the state Supreme Court concluded that the state legislature had limited the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act to employers with at least four employees and that it was not the role of the courts to expand the statute beyond its terms.
State agencies. Under an Executive Order, state agencies in Pennsylvania are prohibited from employment discrimination based on gender, sexual orientation, or gender identity or expression (EO 2016-04 (4/7/16)).
State contractors and grantees. Employers that are awarded state contracts or grants are prohibited from discriminating against applicants or employees on the basis of gender, sexual orientation, or gender identity or expression (EO 2016-05 (4/7/16)).
Maternity and pregnancy. The Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission considers discrimination on the basis of maternity or pregnancy to be a form of sex discrimination. An employment policy or practice that excludes applicants or employees because of pregnancy is a prima facie violation of the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act (PA Admin. Code Title 16 Sec. 41.102).
In addition, ...