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§ 957. Powers and duties of the Commission

Purdon's Pennsylvania Statutes and Consolidated StatutesTitle 43 P.S. Labor

Purdon's Pennsylvania Statutes and Consolidated Statutes
Title 43 P.S. Labor (Refs & Annos)
Chapter 17. Pennsylvania Human Relations Act (Refs & Annos)
43 P.S. § 957
§ 957. Powers and duties of the Commission
The Commission shall have the following powers and duties:
(a) To establish and maintain a central office in the City of Harrisburg.
(b) To meet and function at any place within the Commonwealth.
(c) To appoint such attorneys and permanent hearing examiners and other employes and agents as it may deem necessary, fix their compensation within the limitations provided by law, and prescribe their duties. Permanent hearing examiners shall perform no duties inconsistent with their duties and responsibilities as permanent hearing examiners.
(c.1) To conduct mandatory training seminars on the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act and other applicable Federal and State law, procedures and rules for all investigative personnel.
(c.2) To afford complainants and respondents the opportunity for comments after the final disposition of a complaint. These comments shall be provided to the Commission members.
(c.3) To appoint attorneys to perform the following functions: (1) render legal advice to Commission members on matters appearing before it; or (2) give legal assistance to complainants appearing before the Commission or hearing examiners. These responsibilities shall require a separate staff of attorneys to perform each function.
(d) To adopt, promulgate, amend and rescind rules and regulations to effectuate the policies and provisions of this act.
(e) To formulate policies to effectuate the purposes of this act and make recommendations to agencies and officers of the Commonwealth or political subdivisions of government or board, department, commission or school district thereof to effectuate such policies.
(f) To initiate, receive, investigate and pass upon complaints charging unlawful discriminatory practices.
(f.1) To investigate where no complaint has been filed but with the consent of at least eight of the members of the Commission any problem of racial discrimination with the intent of avoiding and preventing the development of racial tension.
(f.2) On request of the Governor, to investigate claims of excessive use of force by police in civil rights protest activities.
(g)(1) To hold hearings, subpoena witnesses, compel their attendance, administer oaths, take testimony of any person under oath or affirmation and, in connection therewith, to require the production for examination of any books and papers relating to any matter under investigation where a complaint has been properly filed before the Commission. The Commission may make rules as to the issuance of subpoenas by individual Commissioners. In case of contumacy or refusal to obey a subpoena issued to any person any court of jurisdiction, upon application by the Commission, may issue to such person an order requiring such person to appear before the Commission, there to produce documentary evidence, if so ordered, or there to give evidence touching the matter in question, and any failure to obey such order of the court may be punished by said court as a contempt thereof.
(2) No person shall be excused from attending and testifying, or from producing records, correspondence, documents or other evidence in obedience to the subpoena of the Commission or of any individual Commissioner, on the ground that the testimony or evidence required of him may tend to incriminate him or subject him to a penalty or forfeiture, but no person shall be prosecuted or subjected to any penalty or forfeiture for or on account of any transaction, matter or thing concerning which he is compelled, after having claimed his privilege against self-incrimination, to testify or produce evidence, except that such person so testifying shall not be exempt from prosecution and punishment for perjury committed in so testifying. The immunity herein provided shall extend only to natural persons so compelled to testify.
(h) To inspect upon request such records of the Commonwealth or any political subdivision, board, department, commission or school district thereof as it may deem necessary or advisable to carry into effect the provisions of this act.
(i) To create such advisory agencies and conciliation councils, local or state-wide, as will aid in effectuating the purposes of this act. The Commission may itself or it may empower these agencies and councils to (1) study the problems of discrimination in all or specific fields of human relationships when based on race, color, familial status, religious creed, ancestry, age, sex, national origin or handicap or disability, and (2) foster, through community effort or otherwise, good will among the groups and elements of the population of the State. Such agencies and councils may make recommendations to the Commission for the development of policies and procedure in general. Advisory agencies and conciliation councils created by the Commission shall be composed of representative citizens, serving without pay, but the Commission may make provision for technical and clerical assistance to such agencies and councils, and for the payment of the expenses of such assistance.
(j) To issue such publications and such results of investigations and research as, in its judgment, will tend to promote good will and minimize or eliminate discrimination because of race, color, familial status, religious creed, ancestry, age, sex, national origin or handicap or disability.
(k) To submit an annual report for each fiscal year by the following March 31 to the General Assembly, the Labor and Industry Committee of the Senate and the State Government Committee of the House of Representatives and the Governor describing in detail the types of complaints received, the investigations, status of cases, Commission action which has been taken, how many were found to have probable cause, how many were resolved by public hearing and the length of time from the initial complaint to final Commission resolution. It shall also contain recommendations for such further legislation concerning abuses and discrimination because of race, color, familial status, religious creed, ancestry, national origin, age, sex, handicap or disability or the use of a guide or support animal because of the blindness, deafness or physical handicap of the user or because the user is a handler or trainer of support or guide animals, as may be desirable.
(l) To prepare and distribute fair practices notices.
(m) Deleted by 1991, Dec. 20, P.L. 414, No. 51, § 5, imd. effective.
(n) To notify local human relations commissions of complaints received by the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission involving persons within a commission's jurisdiction. The Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission may enter into work-sharing agreements with those local commissions having comparable jurisdiction and enforcement authority.
(o) To prepare and publish all findings of fact, conclusions of the law, final decisions and orders made after a public hearing by the hearing examiners, Commission panel or full Commission.
(p) To give public access to the commission's compliance manual.
(q) To preserve opinions rendered by the Commission for five years from the date of publication.


1955, Oct. 27, P.L. 744, § 7. Amended 1956, March 28, P.L. (1955) 1354, No. 428, § 1; 1961, Feb. 28, P.L. 47, No. 19, § 3; 1965, Dec. 27, P.L. 1224, No. 497, § 2; 1967, Oct. 11, P.L. 426, No. 191, § 1; 1969, July 9, P.L. 133, No. 56, § 3. Affected 1978, April 28, P.L. 202, No. 53, § 2(a)[1312], effective June 27, 1978. Amended 1978, Nov. 26, P.L. 1292, No. 309, § 2, effective in 60 days; 1982, Dec. 9, P.L. 1053, No. 247, § 2, effective in 60 days; 1986, Dec. 16, P.L. 1626, No. 186, § 8, imd. effective; 1991, Dec. 20, P.L. 414, No. 51, § 5, imd. effective.
43 P.S. § 957, PA ST 43 P.S. § 957
Current through Act 13 of the 2024 Regular Session. Some statute sections may be more current, see credits for details.
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