Full Merits Hearings by the Human Relations Commission In Settlement Agreements

Would Requiring the Human Relations Commission to Conduct Full Merits Hearings in Settlement Agreements Adversely Impact Its Ability to Resolve Matters and Disregard Legislative Purposes ? In Baker v. Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission, 507 Pa. 325, 489 A.2d 1354 (1985) the Supreme Court took judicial notice of the Commission's annual reports that were required to be filed with the legislature. The Commission refers to its annual report for the year ending June 30, 2005, showing that 1,387 discrimination claims (or 29 percent of the closed cases) were resolved through settlement agreements. Clearly, requiring the Commission to conduct full merits hearings in all 1,387 settlement agreements, if non-compliance was alleged, would adversely impact upon the Commission's ability to resolve discrimination complaints through conciliation and persuasion, would adversely impact upon the Commission's limited resources, see Baker, and more importantly would contravene legislative purposes.