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NATIONAL RAILROAD PASSENGER CORPORATION (AMTRAK) v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (11/18/82)

decided: November 18, 1982.

NATIONAL RAILROAD PASSENGER CORPORATION (AMTRAK), PETITIONER
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, PENNSYLVANIA HUMAN RELATIONS COMMISSION, RESPONDENT



Appeal from the Order of the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission in case of Houston Small v. National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak), No. E-12593.

COUNSEL

Theodore M. Kerrine, for petitioner.

Michael Hardiman, Assistant General Counsel, with him Robert S. Mirin, General Counsel, for respondent.

President Judge Crumlish, Jr. and Judges Rogers, Williams, Jr., MacPhail and Doyle. Opinion by Judge MacPhail. Dissenting Opinion by Judge Williams, Jr.

Author: Macphail

[ 70 Pa. Commw. Page 63]

The National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak) has appealed from an order of the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission (HRC). The HRC concluded that Amtrak had refused to hire Houston Small (Complainant) on the basis of a non-job

[ 70 Pa. Commw. Page 64]

    related handicap in violation of Section 5(a) of the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act (Act).*fn1 We reverse.*fn2

The findings of fact of the HRC, which are based on substantial evidence of record, establish that on or about July 19, 1977, Complainant applied with Amtrak for employment as a trackman. The duties of a trackman include repairing, replacing and maintaining railroad track and maintaining rights of way. At the time his application was filed, 100 to 150 positions for trackmen were available. Although Complainant's oral interview reflected his qualification for the work involved, a subsequent physical examination revealed that Complainant has an artificial right eye. As a result of Complainant's failure to meet Amtrak's vision standards, he was denied employment.

On July 28, 1977, Complainant filed a complaint with the HRC in which he alleged, inter alia, that Amtrak had rejected his employment application on the basis of his non-job related handicap and that such action constituted unlawful discrimination. Following a hearing, the HRC found that Amtrak had unlawfully discriminated against Complainant and ordered that he be offered the next available trackman position or any other position with comparable salary, benefits and promotional opportunities. It further ordered that Complainant be provided with retroactive seniority, back wages, and all other benefits to which he would have been entitled had he not been denied employment by Amtrak.*fn3 Amtrak subsequently perfected its appeal to this Court from the HRC's order.

[ 70 Pa. Commw. Page 65]

In this appeal our scope of review is to determine whether the HRC's adjudication is in accordance with law and whether the findings of fact supporting its conclusions are based on substantial evidence. Slippery Rock State College v. Pennsylvania Human ...


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