Friday, July 27, 2012

Discriminatory lending - Pa. Human Relations Act

Girard Finance v. Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission - Pa. Cmwlth. Court - July 27, 2012

The court upheld a PHRC order requiring respondents Girard Finance and Richter to

- cease and desist from unlawfully discriminating against individual and others because of their race and/or national origin

- pay substantial money damages

- pay a civil penalty

- provide employees with training regarding non-discriminatory practices

- develop and implement a recording system to track all of its transactions

- report to the PHRC the means by which it will comply with the order.

Respondents were found to have unlawfully discriminated against individual complainant an other similarly situated persons on account of their race in the terms and conditions of loans of money and in the terms and conditions of real estate-related transactions.

The state Human Relations Act expressly authorizes the PHRC "[t]o initiate, receive, investigate and pass upon complaints charging unlawful discriminatory practices." 43 P.S. § 957(f). Section 5(h)(8) of the PHRA makes it unlawful to "[d]iscriminate in real estate-related transactions." 43 P.S. § 955(h)(8). "[R]eal estate-related transactions" include "the making or purchasing of loans . . . for . . . commercial property." Section 4(y)(1) of the PHRA, 43 P.S. § 954(y)(1).