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Crime, law & justice

File a complaint about public accommodations discrimination

Philadelphia law protects an individual’s basic right to fair and equal treatment by public accommodations. Examples of public accommodations include:

  • Hotels, motels, inns, and other places of lodging.
  • Restaurant, bars, and other places where food and/or drinks are served.
  • Casinos, theaters, and other places of entertainment.
  • Stores, banks, barber or beauty shops, and retail establishments.
  • Colleges, universities, and educational institutions.
  • Medical clinics, homeless shelters, and other social service providers.
  • Parks, health clubs, and other centers for recreation or fitness centers.
  • Museums and other places of public display.

Public accommodations discrimination may happen when services are denied outright, such as when someone is refused admission to a public place. It may also occur when someone is offered less favorable service than others, or when a physical barrier or other issue makes services inaccessible to someone who has a disability.

If you believe that you’ve experienced public accommodations discrimination, you can file a complaint with the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations.

How to make a complaint

1
Review the list of protected categories.

The law defines specific categories that are protected from public accommodations discrimination. While discrimination based on other factors may be unfair or unethical, it’s not currently illegal.

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Submit your complaint in person or by mail.

You must submit your complaint to:

Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations
The Curtis Center
601 Walnut St., Suite 300 South
Philadelphia, PA 19106

4
PCHR staff will review your intake form and meet with you about filing a complaint.

Protected categories

Ancestry

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Color

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Disability

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Domestic or sexual violence

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Ethnicity

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Familial status

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Gender identity

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Marital status

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National origin

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Race

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Religion

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Retaliation for prior complaint of discrimination

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Sex

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Sexual orientation

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