Civil Rights and Discrimination

You should not face adverse actions at work because you have a legally protected trait.

Federal and state laws prevent property owners and agents from mistreating protected groups.

Educational institutions that get federal funding cannot discriminate against protected groups.

A citizen can hold police officers and other public officials accountable for abuses of power.

Frequently Asked Questions
  • What are civil rights and civil liberties?
    Civil rights and civil liberties are freedoms provided under the US Constitution and federal and state laws. These include freedom of speech, freedom of religion, protections against unreasonable searches and seizures by law enforcement, the right to vote, the right to privacy, and protections against discrimination based on a protected trait.
  • What is the difference between disparate treatment and disparate impact?
    Disparate treatment discrimination happens when a person or group with a protected trait faces an adverse action specifically because of the trait. Disparate impact discrimination happens when a policy or practice that seems to be neutral has a disproportionately negative effect on people with a protected trait.
  • What if I get fired for trying to protect my civil rights?
    If you get fired for trying to protect your civil rights, you can sue your employer for retaliation. You would need to show that you were fired for engaging in a protected activity. Even if you do not prove discrimination, you may be able to hold your employer liable for retaliation.
  • What are my remedies as a victim of discrimination?
    Remedies for a victim of discrimination often involve economic and non-economic damages, such as lost income and emotional distress. A court also may issue an injunction, which is an order designed to reverse the effect of a violation or prevent future violations.
  • Should I sue for discrimination under federal or state law?
    The answer depends on the specific facts of your case, but state laws are often more favorable. They may cover a broader range of protected traits, apply to smaller entities, provide less restrictive damages caps, or provide a lower threshold for when conduct is considered discriminatory.
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