employment - PHRC - settlement agreement - enforcement
Blue Comet Diner v. PHRC - Commonwealth Court - July 28, 2006
In a 5-2 decision, the court held that a predetermination Settlement Agreement could not be enforced by the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission without the PHRC having held a hearing and having made a finding that the employer had actually violated the PHRA, 43 P.S. 951 et seq.
The dissents argued that there was a valid regulatory procedure under 16 Pa. Code sec, 42.73 to cover this situation and that the majority's disposition would "adversely impact upon the Commission's ability to resolved discrimination complaints through conciliation and persuasion, " in addition to contravening the stated purposed of the statute. In addition, the dissents objected to the fact that the court had raised this issue sua sponte, arguing that it had been waived by the appellant, who had not raised it in proceedings below, and that the issue was not jurisdictional, citing Mechensky v. PHRC, 578 A.2d 589 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1990) and Reidel v. HRC of Reading, 739 A.2d 121 (Pa. 1999).
Reversed and remanded, http://www.aopc.org/OpPosting/Supreme/out/878mal2006.pdf - September 5, 2007, based on Reidel v. HRC of City of Reading, 739 A.2d 121 (Pa. 1999)