Every U.S. citizen is guaranteed a certain set of rights and freedoms. When another person or entity infringes on those rights, it could be a civil rights violation. These violations can occur both at the federal and state levels. Every person has federal protections. Many states, including Virginia, have enacted additional protections for residents as well.
Civil rights litigation is a complex area of law, and it can be difficult to determine one’s rights and legal options. Knowing the most common causes of civil rights violations can help individuals better understand their legal rights. Listed below are common civil rights violations.
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination against people based on race, color, religion, sex, and national origin. Some people may experience discrimination during the hiring process when looking for a job. A person may not be chosen for a particular job, even though they have the skills required to handle the work.
The Age Discrimination Act of 1975 prohibits the federal and state governments from denying someone participation in a program or receiving financial assistance because of their age. For example, this civil right can be violated when a government agency denies someone state supplement assistance because of their age.
The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) prohibits employers of a certain size from discriminating against workers who are 40 years old or older. This may occur when a company chooses to hire a younger person over an older individual, despite the candidates being similar.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protects people with disabilities from discrimination in nearly all aspects of life. From employment, education, to access to public places, the ADA makes it illegal to discriminate against someone because of their disability. This may come in the form of choosing not to hire someone because they are in a wheelchair and would need accommodations to do the job, even though they are fully qualified and capable.
The Equal Pay Act of 1963 requires all companies to pay employees equal pay for equal work. Historically, women and minorities received less pay than white males for doing the exact same work. If an employer unfairly pays an employee less than another person, that could amount to a civil rights violation.
The Fair Housing Act (FHA) prohibits discrimination in the sale of real estate. In the past, minorities found it difficult to purchase a home once a real estate agent learned their race. The FHA prohibits this practice for the sale, rental, and financing of housing. People cannot be discriminated against based on their race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, or disability.
Sick Leave Violations
The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) requires companies to provide employees with job security during qualified leave. An employer must give an employee up to 12 weeks off of work, and the employee must have their job or a similar position waiting for them when they return.
The law does not require the employer to pay the employee on FMLA leave, it is based on job security. Qualified FMLA leave includes caring for a newborn or caring for an ill family member.
Voting Rights Violations
The National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) provides specific procedures and guidelines for people registering to vote. If a person is refused a voter registration form or their registration is denied, it may amount to a civil rights violation.
The Voting Rights Act (VRA) prohibits discriminatory practices in voting. Historically, minorities were refused the right to vote, and once that right was obtained, they faced intimidation and threats when they went to exercise their voting rights. The VRA attempts to prohibit this type of activity. Anyone who attempts to vote and is met with intimidation or threats may have a valid claim for a civil rights violation.
The Pregnancy Discrimination Act prevents businesses from discriminating against pregnant employees. This includes any employee who may become pregnant at a later date. Employers cannot discriminate during the hiring process, when deciding whether to promote an employee, or evaluating whether to terminate employment. If an employee is not hired because they are pregnant, that could amount to a civil rights violation.
The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act requires employers in Virginia to provide reasonable accommodations to pregnant and new mothers who are employees. For example, a new mother might reasonably request that their employer provide them with a quiet and private space to breastfeed several times each day. If the business does not make a reasonable accommodation, they may be subject to a civil rights violation lawsuit. Any business in Virginia with 15 or more employees is protected by the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act.
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 prohibits sex discrimination in schools that receive federal funds. The vast majority of school systems in the U.S. receive some level of federal funding, making them subject to Title IX restrictions. Title IX prohibits sex discrimination in schools for hiring of faculty, participation in sports and extracurricular activities, and sexual harassment between students.
Virginia Civil Rights
The U.S. Constitution lays out certain rights in the first 10 Amendments; these are the Bill of Rights. These rights are provided for and protected by the U.S. Constitution. Any entity that violates these rights is subject to a civil rights violation lawsuit.
Additionally, states are able to provide their citizens with additional civil rights as long as those rights do not contradict any federal civil rights. Virginia has recently done so with three new rights.
Virginia Values Act
The Virginia Values Act was enacted to strengthen the protections against discrimination in housing and financing in addition to public accommodations. Under this law, any business that opens itself up to the public cannot discriminate against any potential customer or employee based on that person’s race, color, religion, national origin, sex, pregnancy, medical condition, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, disability, or veteran status. Any company that violates these rights may be subject to a civil right violation lawsuit.
The CROWN Act is an acronym for Create a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair. This new Virginia law explicitly prohibits discrimination on the basis of a person’s hairstyle. Companies with 15 or more employees cannot discriminate against current or potential employees who have certain hairstyles, such as an afro, braids, locks, or twists. If an employee faces discrimination of this kind, they have the same legal rights as employees who face other types of discrimination.
Virginia Beach Civil Rights Lawyers at Anchor Legal Group, PLLC Help Clients Who Have Suffered From Civil Rights Violations
When a civil rights violation occurs, it can have lasting effects. To help you determine if your civil rights have been violated, speak to one of our experienced Virginia Beach civil rights lawyers at Anchor Legal Group, PLLC. Contact us online or call us at 757-LAW-0000 to schedule an initial consultation today and to learn more about your potential case. We will stand by your side throughout the entire legal process. We are conveniently located in Virginia Beach, Virginia, and we proudly serve clients throughout Chesapeake, Norfolk, Suffolk, Portsmouth, Newport News, Hampton, and Eastern Shore. We also serve our clients throughout the United States through our network of associated attorneys.