No. 33 May Term, 1974, Appeal from the decision of the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania at No. 1300 C.D. 1972 Modifying the Order of the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission dated November 27, 1972 at Docket No. H-1657.
Sanford Kahn, Pa. Human Relations Com., Harrisburg, for appellant.
J. Stephen Kreglow, Easton, for appellees.
Eagen, C. J., and O'Brien, Pomeroy, Roberts, Nix, Manderino and Larsen, JJ. Manderino, J., filed a Concurring Opinion. O'Brien and Pomeroy, JJ., concurred in the result. Roberts, J., filed a Dissenting Opinion in which Nix, J., joined.
The sole question to be determined is whether the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission has the authority to award damages for mental anguish and humiliation which may arise as a result of unlawful discrimination. We answer in the negative.
The facts which give rise to this appeal are as follows: On February 15, 1972, George and Bessie Zamantakis placed an advertisement in a local newspaper offering to rent a four room apartment. Sylvester and Willis Thornton responded to the advertisement on that same day and were not permitted to rent the apartment. On February 16, 1972, the Thorntons, who are black, filed a complaint with the Commission charging that the Zamantakises, who are white, had refused to rent them the apartment because of the Thorntons' race. Pursuant to the procedures set forth in the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act,*fn1 the Commission found that the Zamantakises had denied the Thorntons the apartment because of their race, and on November 27, 1972, ordered, among other things, the Zamantakises to pay each Thornton $250.00 within 30 days in order to compensate them for mental anguish and humiliation.*fn2 An appeal from this order was taken to Commonwealth Court, which in an opinion written by the late and Honorable Harry A. Kramer and filed on August 14, 1973, held that the Commission had no authority to award damages for mental anguish and humiliation.*fn3 A petition for allowance of appeal to this
Court was then filed by the Commission. We granted that allowance on October 18, 1973.
The Commission asserts that its authority to award damages for mental anguish and humiliation is conferred by Section 9 of the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act. We disagree. The pertinent part of Section 9 is as follows:
"If, upon all the evidence at the hearing, the Commission shall find that a respondent has engaged in or is engaging in any unlawful discriminatory practice as defined in this act, the Commission shall state its findings of fact, and shall issue and cause to be served on such respondent an order requiring such respondent to cease and desist from such unlawful discriminatory practice and to take such affirmative action including but not limited to hiring, reinstatement or upgrading of employes, with or without back pay, admission or restoration to membership in any respondent labor organization, or selling or leasing specified commercial housing upon such equal terms and conditions and with such equal facilities, services and privileges or lending money, whether or not secured by mortgage or otherwise for the acquisition, construction, rehabilitation, repair or maintenance of commercial housing, upon such equal terms ...