New Ordinance Gives Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations Power To Shut Down Businesses That Violate Anti-Discrimination Laws

On May 17, 2017, the Mayor of Philadelphia signed an Ordinance giving the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations the power to order any business to cease operating in the City of Philadelphia if that business is found to have violated Philadelphia’s anti-discrimination laws. The Commission is permitted to take this step in the event of severe or repeated violations for which the business has not taken “effective efforts” to remediate the violations.  The Ordinance states that a business may be closed down “for a specified period of time,” but does not place any limitations on that time period.   The Ordinance is also silent as to what constitutes a repeated violation and what constitutes and “effective effort.”  These vague terms leave businesses vulnerable to understanding what steps must be taken to avoid such a punishment.

The Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations enforce Philadelphia’s Fair Practice’s Ordinance, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, national origin, ancestry, age, disability, marital status, familial status, genetic information, or domestic or sexual violence victim status.

For more information, or if you have any questions regarding your employment issues that you may have in the City of Philadelphia, please contact Archer at (215) 963-3300 and ask to speak to Howard A. Rosenthal, Esquire or one of our other experienced labor attorneys.