Lehigh County Passes Human Relations Ordinance

Lehigh County, Pennsylvania has passed a Human Relations Ordinance. The ordinance prohibits employers from engaging in discrimination based on “actual or perceived race, ethnicity, color, religion, creed, national origin or citizenship status, ancestry, sex (including pregnancy, childbirth, and related medical conditions), gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, genetic information, marital status, familial status, GED rather than a high school diploma, physical or mental disability, relationship, or association with a disabled person, source of income, age (35 years of age and older), height, weight, veteran status, use of guide or support animals and/or mechanical aids, or domestic or sexual violence victim status.”

Regarding an applicant’s criminal history, the ordinance prohibits employers from: asking whether the applicant has ever been convicted of a crime; requiring an applicant to disclose prior criminal convictions until after an initial interview; and considering conviction records that do not relate to their suitability for employment. Employers may also not ask an applicant for salary history information. Finally, employers may not ask applicants questions concerning a protected class of the applicant (e.g., the applicant’s age).

All employers with one or more employees are covered by the ordinance. The ordinance takes effect on June 1, 2024.