House OKs Madden bill to require employers to post discrimination policies

HARRISBURG, May 2 – Employers would be required to have written policies and procedures for preventing harassment, discrimination and retaliation against employees under legislation that passed the state House of Representatives, according to the bill’s author Rep. Maureen Madden.

While the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act protects Pennsylvanians from discrimination in the workplace, including harassment and retaliation, Pennsylvania had the fifth-highest rate of workplace discrimination in the country in 2022, according to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

“This should be unacceptable to every business owner and employees should not have to tolerate such unwelcome circumstances in their workplace,” said Madden, D-Monroe.

Madden said the EEOC has identified the following principles as generally proven effective in preventing and addressing harassment: strong and comprehensive policies; trusted and accessible complaint procedures; and regular, interactive training tailored to the audience and the organization.

“By ensuring that policies are readily available for employees and supervisors to read, it is our hope that far fewer instances of discrimination and harassment will occur,” Madden said.

A person claiming a violation of their employer providing written policies and procedures may make a complaint with the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission. If after investigation, the commission determines that an employer is in violation, the commission may seek compliance and issue a citation and fine of between $500 and $5,000.

In addition to requiring the written policies, the bill would create the Human Relations Training Fund to ensure financial penalties collected under the act are used by the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission for training, education and outreach.

“This would help employers comply with the law and help employees understand their rights,” Madden said.

House Bill 2104 moves to the state Senate for consideration.