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December 2022: Pennsylvania Advances LGBTQ and Hair Texture or Hairstyle Discrimination Protections

28 Dec

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Update Applicable to: 
All employers in the state of Pennsylvania.

What happened?
On December 8, new regulations were proposed by the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission (PHRC) regarding more protections for LGBTQ employees and hairstyle protections.

What are the details? 
The regulation is consistent with recent Supreme Court and other federal case laws holding the term “sex” includes protection based on one’s gender identity and sexual orientation, including being perceived, presumed, or identified by others as having such an affectional or sexual orientation. Further, the regulation provides a comprehensive and expanded definition of “race,” including traits historically associated with race. These include, but are not limited to, hair texture and hairstyles culturally associated with race, such as braids, locks, and twists. This definition is consistent with other state anti-discrimination laws, including laws in New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, and California.

Importantly, the regulation will affect employers, housing accommodations and commercial property entities, public accommodations, and educational institutions covered by the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act and the Pennsylvania Fair Education Opportunities Act.

The anti-bias regulation will proceed to the Pennsylvania Legislature for review. The regulation is set to take effect in 2023 unless state lawmakers vote to override the Commission in the 2023 session. 

For more information, please see the links below:

Article 1Article 2

What do employers need to do?
Employers should review the links provided above and do their best to ensure that all employees, regardless of identity and hair style and texture, are treated fairly and should be on the lookout for any more updates regarding these new regulations. Vensure will update more once more news has been received.

Need help understanding how changes to employment laws will affect your business?

Learn more about how Vensure's Pennsylvania PEO services can help you navigate complex employment laws and keep your business compliant.


This communication is intended solely for the purpose of conveying information. The present post might incorporate hyperlinks directing readers to websites managed by third-party entities. The inclusion of any links within this communication is meant to serve as points of reference and could encompass opinion articles from various law firms, articles from HR associations, official websites, news releases, and documents of government agencies, and other relevant third-party sources. Vensure has no authority over these external websites and bears no responsibility for their content. Furthermore, Vensure does not endorse the materials present on these websites. The contents of this communication should not be interpreted as legal advice or as a legal standpoint concerning specific facts or scenarios. Nor should it be deemed an exhaustive compilation of facts potentially pertinent to federal, state, or local laws. It is strongly advised that employers solicit legal guidance from an employment attorney when undertaking actions in response to any legal updates provided. This is due to the possibility of future alterations occurring in federal, state, and local laws, regulations, as well as the directives and guidelines issued by governing agencies. These changes may transpire at any given time, potentially rendering certain portions of the content within this update void or inaccurate.

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