Nutter Expands on Fair Practices Legislation

This is good news for the LGBT community

Yesterday, Mayor Michael Nutter signed legislation introduced by Councilman Bill Greenlee to update and amend the city’s Fair Practices Ordinance, which prohibits discrimination in employment, housing, use of public accommodations and the delivery of city services. This is great news for Philly’s LGBT community as these changes provide greater protection from discrimination that may not currently be covered under federal and state law.

According to a statement from the Mayor’s Office, the legislation was passed by City Council unanimously. It’s the first time since 1963 that the law has been amended.

“I am honored to sign this legislation today,” said Nutter, “which extends protections and recognizes that all Philadelphian’s deserve to live and work without the threat of discrimination. Today’s bill signing is historic as we overhaul how Philadelphia fights discrimination for the first time since 1963.”

Councilman Greenlee, who introduced the new legislation, noted that new protection for gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people are significant. “This legislation allows a Philadelphian that experiences discrimination to have it addressed by a city agency,” he explained. “It is particularly noteworthy that the LGBT community’s civil rights are further protected under this law.”

What you should know about the new legislation:

-It streamlines the procedures at the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations (PCHR) for accepting, investigating and adjudicating discrimination complaints. The PCHR is better equipped to handle your complaints.

-It increases penalties for discrimination from $300 to the maximum allowance of $2,000. You could be awarded more money for wrongful and illegal discrimination.

-It expands remedies available to victims of discrimination. There are more ways the city can help you cope.

-It extends protections to cover discrimination based upon genetic information, domestic or sexual violence victim status or familial status. There are fewer loop holes for offenders to jump through.

-It provides greater protections for members of the LGBT community who lack protection under federal and state law. In some cases, The City of Philadelphia protects you from anti-gay bias more than the state and federal governments do.

-It extends existing housing protections to cover all property, including commercial uses. You should be able to live and work where you want without fear of bias.

-It provides greater consistency with federal and state anti-discrimination laws. Where federal and state laws do succeed, so does this amended city legislation.