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CHR HISTORY

Our History

The City of Pittsburgh has long recognized the importance of combating discrimination and resolving tensions between racial, ethnic, religious groups and nationalities. The Pittsburgh Commission on Human Relations (PghCHR) is the official City agency that enforces laws prohibiting discrimination. What follows is a brief summary of our history defending civil rights in the City of Pittsburgh.

1955

The City of Pittsburgh enacts an ordinance establishing the Commission on Human Relations. This ordinance merges the city's two agencies administering the laws prohibiting discrimination in employment: the Pittsburgh Civic Unity Council (est. 1946) and the Fair Employment Practices Commission (est. 1952).

1959

The City of Pittsburgh enacts a fair housing ordinance for enforcement by the Commission.

1969

Sex is added by the City of Pittsburgh as a protected class.

1973

The U.S. Supreme Court upholds the Commission's ruling that employment / help wanted ads in The Pittsburgh Press, which separated job listings by sex, were violations of the anti-discrimination laws. The Court bans the practice.

1974

Pittsburgh voters pass a Home Rule Charter which establishes the Commission as an independent agency of city government.

1977

The Commission is designated as a "706" agency by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). This designation allows for the "dual filing" of complaints under federal and local law.

1980

Disability and age (40 and over) are added by the City of Pittsburgh as protected classes.

1990

Sexual orientation is added by the City of Pittsburgh as a protected class.

1992

The Commission settles a race discrimination housing case which it initiated against the National Apartment Leasing Company for more than $200,000, which was, at that time, the largest fair housing settlement in Pennsylvania.

1992

Familial status is added by the City of Pittsburgh as a protected class under the fair housing ordinance.

1997

The Commission is designated by the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) as a substantially equivalent agency to HUD regarding the rights and remedies available under the city's fair housing ordinance.

2004

The University of Pittsburgh agrees to provide health benefits to same-sex domestic partners of employees starting in January 2005. This decision ends a class action sexual orientation case originating the Pittsburgh Commission in 1996 by seven University of Pittsburgh employees.

2014

Gender identity and expression is added by the City of Pittsburgh as a protected class.

2016

Status as a victim of domestic violence is added by the City of Pittsburgh as a protected class under the fair housing ordinance.