The City of Pittsburgh has long recognized the importance of combating discrimination and resolving tensions between racial, ethnic, religious groups and nationalities. The Pittsburgh Commission on Human Relations (PghCHR) is the official City agency that enforces laws prohibiting discrimination. What follows is a brief summary of our history defending civil rights in the City of Pittsburgh.
The City of Pittsburgh enacts an ordinance establishing the Commission on Human Relations. This ordinance merges the city's two agencies administering the laws prohibiting discrimination in employment: the Pittsburgh Civic Unity Council (est. 1946) and the Fair Employment Practices Commission (est. 1952).
The City of Pittsburgh enacts a fair housing ordinance for enforcement by the Commission.
Sex is added by the City of Pittsburgh as a protected class.
The U.S. Supreme Court upholds the Commission's ruling that employment / help wanted ads in The Pittsburgh Press, which separated job listings by sex, were violations of the anti-discrimination laws. The Court bans the practice.
Pittsburgh voters pass a Home Rule Charter which establishes the Commission as an independent agency of city government.
The Commission is designated as a "706" agency by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). This designation allows for the "dual filing" of complaints under federal and local law.
Disability and age (40 and over) are added by the City of Pittsburgh as protected classes.
Sexual orientation is added by the City of Pittsburgh as a protected class.
The Commission settles a race discrimination housing case which it initiated against the National Apartment Leasing Company for more than $200,000, which was, at that time, the largest fair housing settlement in Pennsylvania.
Familial status is added by the City of Pittsburgh as a protected class under the fair housing ordinance.
The Commission is designated by the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) as a substantially equivalent agency to HUD regarding the rights and remedies available under the city's fair housing ordinance.
The University of Pittsburgh agrees to provide health benefits to same-sex domestic partners of employees starting in January 2005. This decision ends a class action sexual orientation case originating the Pittsburgh Commission in 1996 by seven University of Pittsburgh employees.
Gender identity and expression is added by the City of Pittsburgh as a protected class.
Status as a survivor of domestic violence is added by the City of Pittsburgh as a protected class under the fair housing ordinance.
Pregnancy is added as an protected class for employment. This legislation also includes partners of pregnant women.
Preferred Language, Citizenship Status, and Natural Hairstyle (CROWN Act) to the list of classes protected against discrimination.
Protections for Survivors of Domestic Violence are expanded to cover discrimination in employment.