Human Relations Commission of the City of Allentown
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Human Relations Commission

About the Commission and Filing a Complaint

In the 1960s, Allentown City Government passed Allentown’s anti-discrimination ordinance to promote mutual understanding and to prohibit discrimination; the legislation created the Allentown Human Relations Commission empowering it to implement the ordinance.

Under this ordinance all persons in Allentown, regardless of race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry or place of birth, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, marital status, age (over 40), family status in housing, handicap or disability, or use of a guide or support animal because of blindness, deafness or physical disability enjoy the full benefits of citizenship and are afforded equal opportunities for employment, housing, and use of public accommodation facilities.

The ordinance establishes this list of characteristics to define who is protected from discrimination; these are called protected classes. If you live or work in the City of Allentown and feel you have been discriminated against based on any protected class, you can contact the Mayor's Liaison to file a complaint.

Your first step is to call the Human Relations Office and speak to the Mayor's Liaison by calling 610.437.7743

The Mayor's Liaison will discuss your concern with you. If you want to file a formal complaint, the Mayor's Liaison will set up an appointment for you to come into the office in Allentown City Hall at 435 Hamilton Street.

   Discrimination Complaint Form (formulario de quejas de discriminación)

   Submit Complaint Form Online

You should bring to your appointment with the Mayor's Liaison information about when the discrimination took place, who was involved, what happened, and the basis on which the complaint will be filed. If this is an employment complaint, bring the full name and address of the employer and the approximate number of people employed at the business. If it is a public accommodation complaint -- which means denial or unfair treatment in a business, agency or service provider – you will need to have the address and name of the business or agency.

For a housing complaint, have the name and address of your landlord and a copy of your lease. If you aren’t sure what to bring, ask when you call. The Human Relations Commission investigator will be nonjudgmental. Investigators who speak both English and Spanish are available. Be sure to give all the facts and details to the Investigator. Answer all questions fully. Provide any witnesses or documents, such as a payroll slip or rent receipts, and be sure to keep your investigator advised of any change in your address or phone number. The investigator will determine if more information is needed and will help you to prepare a statement you can sign. The officer is compelled to deal with housing complaints within 100 days. Complaints regarding employment and public accommodation can take longer.

If you wish to become a member of the Allentown Human Relations Commission, please click here to download an application.

Scheduled Meetings

The Commission meets the 1st Thursday, monthly at 7:00 pm at Allentown City Hall. 435 Hamilton Street, 5th-floor conference room. Committee meetings are usually held at 6:00pm, just prior to the regular meeting.   For all commission inquiries please contact Ismael Arcelay at 610.437.7743 or


Patrick Palmer

Shalon Buskirk
   Vice Chair

Inga Williams
   Treasurer & Secretary

Daniel Benitez

Donna Forrester

Janet Morillo

Tracie L. Springer

Hamp Smith

Wendy Escarfullery

Scotty G. Smith

Cheryl Johnson-Watts
  School Board Member

Student Commissioners
Alaa Jaber
   William Allen H.S.

Loretta Washington

   William Allen H.S.

Shardanay Buchanan
  Building 21

Nicholas Cruz
  Building 21

Jaliya Beard
  Dieruff High School

Dayani Rohan
  Dieruff High School
City Representatives
Ismael Arcelay, MBA
   Mayor's Liaison

Dr. Cynthia Mota 
   City Councilwoman