Regulations preventing LGBTQ+, hairstyle and religious discrimination now in effect in Pennsylvania

PENNSYLVANIA (WHTM) — New regulations to prevent LGBTQ+, hairstyle, and religious discrimination are now in effect in Pennsylvania.

The new regulations more clearly define the definitions of ‘sex,’ ‘religious creed,’ and ‘race,’ the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission, which enforces state laws that prohibit discrimination, explained.

Under the new regulations the protected class of ‘sex’ includes pregnancy status, childbirth status, breastfeeding status, sex assigned at birth, gender identity or expression, affectional or sexual orientation, and differences in sex development.

“Today represents an important day in the commonwealth,” the commission’s chair M. Joel Bolstein said. “These regulations now more clearly state what was already a fact, all discrimination in Pennsylvania is illegal. The PHRC wants our LGBTQ+ brothers and sisters, sons and daughters, and friends and neighbors to know that Pennsylvania is a safe, accepting, and welcoming place for you and everyone. It has been a long journey to get here, and I am proud of the hard work and dedication of the PHRC staff.”

The protected class ‘race’ includes topics associated with race, including hair texture and protective hairstyles.

The definition of ‘religious creed’ was updated to include all aspects of religious observance and practice, as well as belief.  

“Too often we hear of cases where people are discriminated against because of who they love, what religion they practice, what they look like, or how they wear their hair,” said the commission’s Executive Director Chad Dion Lassiter, said. “The Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission protects all commonwealth citizens from any form of discrimination and these regulations affirm that commitment. Our team worked hard to put together these regulations and we are pleased they are now effective.”

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The commission’s regulations were approved by the Independent Regulatory Review Commission in 2022, and by the Pennsylvania Office of the Attorney General in 2023. They were then published in the Pennsylvania Bulletin in June 2023. Regulations preventing LGBTQ+, hairstyle and religious discrimination now in effect in Pennsylvania

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