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Human Relations, Commission on

[Record group 148]
Alternative/Former Names
Fair Employment Practices Commission

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Agency Function
The Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations (PCHR) was established in 1952. The Commission is mandated by the Home Rule Charter to enforce the Philadelphia Fair Practices Ordinance. The Ordinance prohibits discrimination in the areas of employment, housing, public accommodations, and the provision of City services. It is unlawful to discriminate in these areas because of race, color, gender, religion, age (excluding public accommodations) sexual orientation, national origin, ancestry, and disability. In housing, it is also unlawful to discriminate because of marital status, the source of income, and the presence of children. In addition, the Commission reduces and prevents intergroup tension in Philadelphia, provides education on intergroup harmony and cultural diversity, and mediates disputes through its Disputes resolution program. The Commission has nine Commissioners appointed by the Mayor.

The Fair Housing Commission, (FHC) created by the Philadelphia Code, Regulation of Business, Section 9-802 et. seq. (1962), is empowered to enforce the City's Fair Housing Ordinance. The Ordinance prohibits landlords from engaging in unfair housing practices. These may include evicting a tenant or raising a tenant's rent if a property where a tenant is living violates the City's Housing Code. In addition, landlords may not retaliate against tenants who report violations to the City Department of Licenses and Inspections.

The Commission has five Commissioners appointed by the Mayor. The Commission on Human Relations staff began to provide support services to the Fair Housing Commission in of June 1993.

An Executive Director, appointed by the Mayor, is in charge of the Commission on Human Relations/Fair Housing Commission's administrative divisions.

Administrative Subunits
The Community Relations Division
Responsible for reducing and preventing intergroup tensions, as well as improving intergroup harmony and understanding. Also responsible for providing education on intergroup harmony and cultural diversity, and mediating disputes through the Commission's Disputes Resolution Program.
The Compliance Division
Responsible for investigating complaints of discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations, and the provision of City services. Conducts Equal Opportunity training for housing providers, employers and others, upon request. Manages testing programs to determine compliance with equal opportunity laws.
The Central Intake Division
Responsible for the initial contact with potential complainants resulting in the filing of a complaint or other appropriate action.
The General Support Division
Responsible for the preparation of the budget, personnel, payroll, purchasing, provision of information systems services, and public information.

Agency History
The Fair Employment Practices Commission was created by an ordinance on March 12, 1948, and composed of five members, three of whom were appointed by the Mayor and two by the President of City Council. Its duties consisted of enforcing the ordinance's provisions prohibiting discrimination in employment based upon race, religion, or country of origin and it was empowered to conduct investigations of all cases of such discrimination, to publish its determinations, and to order an employer to cease such unfair practices. In the event this order was not complied with the City Solicitor was directed to prosecute for the penalties provided by the ordinance. The Fair Employment Practices Commission was replaced under the provisions of the Philadelphia Home Rule Charter of 1951 with the present Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations composed of nine mayoral appointees who were vested with the powers and duties of the Fair Employment Practices Commission. In addition, the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations awas empowered to enforce all statutes and ordinances prohibiting discrimination in any area when such jurisdiction was not specifically vested in another governmental agency.

Archival Records
148.1 Annual Reports (1948-1951, 1953-1969, 1971, 1974-1980, 1987, 1992)

148.2 Files (1950-1971)

148.3 Closed Case Files (1948-1966)

148.4 Reports & Publications (1950-1988)

148.5 Division of Public Information. Files (1967-1971)

148.6 Non-Case Contacts (1965-1969)

148.7 Employment and Public Accommodations Division. Cases Closed (1967-1970)

148.8 Hearing Transcripts (1959-1981)

148.9 Housing Division. Case Files. Closed (1963-1970)

148.9a Housing Division. Consent Order Case Files. Closed. (1964-1969)

148.9b Housing Division. Reporting Regulation Case Files. Closed (1971)

148.10 Affirmative Programs. Closed Case Files (1966-1968)

148.11 Affirmative Programs. Employment Practices Files (1964-1966)

148.12 Affirmative Programs. Name Files (1970)

148.13 Affirmative Programs Division. City Employment Study. Papers (1970-1972)

148.14 Affirmative Programs Division. Job Bank Files (1972-1974)

148.15 Plant Inspections, Name Files (1966-1972)

148.16 Newsletters and Bulletins (1958, 1960, 1989)

Current Records
148.a Compliance / Employment Case Docket

148.b Compliance / Housing Case Docket

148.c Compliance / Public Accommodations Case Docket

148.d Fair Housing Commission / Central Intake / Fair Housing Docket Book

148.e Community Services / Liaison Services

148.f Community Services / Project Files

148.g Fair Housing Commission / Central Intake (Fair Housing Docket Book)

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Last updated on November 8, 2000