What Types Of Civil Rights Cases Does Your Firm Typically Handle?
Civil rights law is a body of federal, state and local laws that protect important and fundamental rights of equality and freedom from discrimination. Some of the cases our firm handles involve the Unruh Civil Rights Act, Section 1981, ADA, FEHA, Title VII, Title IX, Section 1983, and Section 1981.
The Unruh Civil Rights Act is a California law that protects people’s rights to be treated equally in the state of California regardless of gender, race, color, religion, and a variety of other protected characteristics. Beyond not excluding people because of race, gender or other characteristics, business establishments must provide full and equal service to everyone. This means, for example, that a business cannot charge one rate to a member of one race and another rate to a member of a different race, or provide different restaurant menus based on gender.
Section 1981 of the Civil Rights Act of 1866—or Section 1981—is a federal law prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race, color, and ethnicity when making and enforcing contracts. The law guarantees all individuals in the United States the same rights and benefits as any others. Section 1981 applies to businesses and employers.
The Americans with Disabilities Act—or ADA—is a federal law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities throughout society, including in housing, employment, education, transportation, telecommunications and all public and private places open to the public. It ensures that people with disabilities are afforded the same rights and opportunities as everyone else.
The Fair Employment and Housing Act—or FEHA—is a California law that protects employees from discrimination, retaliation and harassment in employment on the basis of protected characteristics, such as race, gender or sexual orientation. FEHA also prohibits discrimination, retaliation and harassment on these bases in housing.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is a federal law that protects employees against discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, or age. Title VII prohibits employers from discriminating on these bases in any term, condition, or privilege of employment, including when recruiting, hiring, promoting, transferring, training, disciplining, discharging, assigning work, measuring performance, or providing benefits.
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 protects students from discrimination based on sex. Title IX violations involve educational institutions, including any public or private school that accepts federal funding. Examples of Title IX cases include cases involving sexual assault on campus and equality in women’s sports.
Section 1983 refers to Title 42 of the United States Code. Section 1983 allows an individual to sue government employees and others acting “under color of state law” for civil rights violations. Examples of Section 1983 cases include police brutality and excessive force cases.
How Does Someone Pursue A Civil Rights Claim?
The way to pursue a civil rights claim depends on the details of the case at hand, but generally speaking, there are internal administrative remedies that are often available and required. For a student, this might mean reporting the incident to the Title IX coordinator. For an employee, it may mean reporting the incident to their union, a supervisor, or the human resources department.
Sometimes it means making an administrative claim with a government agency, like the Department of Fair Employment and Housing, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, or the Office of Civil Rights. Someone who is member of a union might be required to go through the union grievance process. The final step in that process is filing a lawsuit in state or federal court against the business, government agency, or employee that discriminated against the individual.
What Is The Statute Of Limitations For Filing A Civil Rights Complaint?
The statute of limitations for a civil rights complaint depends entirely upon what is dictated by the specific civil rights statute at issue. There is a three-year statute of limitations for cases involving violations of the Fair Employment and Housing Act. There is a two-year statute of limitations for cases involving violations of the Unruh Civil Rights Act (i.e., cases involving violations of basic rights on the basis of gender, religion, skin color, etc.). There is also a two-year statute of limitations for Title IX cases, and a 300-day statute of limitations on Title VII cases.
In civil rights cases, it is very important to file a claim with an administrative agency or a government agency within a very short period of time, sometimes just 180 days.
What Is The Burden Of Proof In A Civil Rights Case?
In general, the claimant must prove they were discriminated against or that their fundamental civil rights were violated by a preponderance of the evidence. The facts that must be proven will depending upon the type of claim and the specific laws involved. For example, in an employment case the claimant must prove the existence of an employment relationship. In an ADA case the claimant must provide they suffered from a disability. Under some laws the claimant must prove the discrimination was intentional while in others that type of proof is not necessary.
What Are Some Resolution Methods Commonly Used In Civil Rights Cases?
In some civil rights cases, a person will be required to file a claim with an administrative agency before filing a lawsuit. Some administrative agencies, such as the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, the Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and the Federal and State Department of Education Office of Civil Rights will attempt to mediate or arbitrate the case.
What Is The Difference Between Mediation And Arbitration In A Civil Rights Violation Case?
Both mediation and arbitration in a civil rights violation case involve having a neutral third party, who is typically a retired judge or expert in the field, help resolve the case. In the case of mediation, the idea is that the neutral party helps the parties come together and resolve the case amongst themselves in a friendly manner. Oftentimes, the resolution involves money, but sometimes it results in an agreement whereby the person who was wronged returns to their job and the person who was responsible for the discrimination is moved. In arbitration, the neutral party will typically make a binding and sometimes non-binding decision on the case, and most of the time that decision will involve a money judgment. Mediation typically has a lot more flexibility in terms of coming up with settlements.
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