Philadelphia, Pa. – October 25, 2005 – LAWFUEL – The Law News Networ…

Philadelphia, Pa. – October 25, 2005 – LAWFUEL – The Law News Network – A team of lawyers from Pepper Hamilton LLP was honored by the Allentown Human Relations Commission at its 28th Annual Human Relations Awards Dinner on Tuesday, October 18, 2005. The group received numerous awards and citations for their work as members of the Allentown Human Relations Ordinance Legal Defense Team.

In an effort led by Pepper, the team successfully preserved the city’s anti-discrimination ordinance against a challenge by a small group of Allentown business owners. The ordinance bars various kinds of discrimination prohibited by the state Human Relations Act, and further bars discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation.

After extensive briefing efforts and oral arguments, the Commonwealth Court rejected the plaintiffs’ challenges, including an argument that a city could not provide more protection than provided by the Human Relations Act, and affirmed the validity of the Allentown ordinance.

The team worked for several years at no cost to the city.

Numerous awards were presented to the team, including a citation by the mayor of Allentown, a proclamation from the Allentown City Council, citations from members of the Pennsylvania Senate and House of Representatives and a letter from U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum. The Mayor’s citation thanked Pepper for its “work, over a number of years, at no cost, to defend successfully” the city’s anti-discrimination ordinance.

Dan Anders, an associate in Pepper’s Philadelphia office, led the team. Associates Christopher J. Huber and Michelle Marx also of the Philadelphia office, Thomas B. Schmidt III, of counsel in the Harrisburg office and Nathan D. Stump, an associate in Pepper’s Washington D.C. office, rounded out Pepper’s team.

Other members of the Legal Defense Team included the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission, the ACLU of Pennsylvania, the Office of the City Solicitor of the City of Harrisburg and several private law firms.

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