On January 23, 2017, a noteworthy and interesting bill was introduced in the Pennsylvania General Assembly. House Bill 38, which was introduced and sponsored by fifteen (15) State Representatives, is aimed at expanding the scope of the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act (“PHRA”) to preclude and protect individuals from workplace discrimination stemming from the lawful ownership, use, possession, transportation and storage of a firearm. In substances, the PHRA is a Pennsylvania state law that bars workplace discrimination based on various protected classifications such as race, color, gender, national origin, age and a physical or mental disability. Under the PHRA, an individual who has been subject to workplace discrimination due to one of the enumerated protected classification has the right to file a lawsuit against his or her current or former employer seeking to recover various damages including back wages, emotional distress and attorneys’ fees. Like employers in many states, Pennsylvania employers, regardless of merit, have seen an ever increasing number of employment discrimination lawsuit filed by current and former employees.
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