Employee Protections under Section 1981
As an Orange County employment attorney can explain, the Civil Rights Act of 1866, Section 1981, prohibits employers from discriminating against employees and prospective employees based on their color or race. According to Section 1981, all individuals within the U.S. have the right to enforce and make contracts, including employment contracts. Later, the Civil Rights Act of 1991 expanded the protections to include the modification, termination, and the terms, conditions, and benefits of contractual relationships.
The Supreme Court has interpreted Section 1981 to provide protection for racial groups, including Latinos, Native Americans, Asians, Caucasians and African-Americans. Following is a brief discussion of the various forms of employment discrimination that are prohibited by Section 1981:
Section 1981 protects employees from harassment by their employers based on the employee’s color or race. If you seek a claim regarding harassment in the workplace, you will need to provide evidence that demonstrates the following elements:
- That, because of your color or race, you were subjected to verbal or physical behavior;
- The behavior was not welcome; and
- The behavior was of such a nature that it created an abusive work environment that was pervasive and severe enough to change the conditions within your workplace.
If you file an administrative or statutory claim regarding racial discrimination, your employer is prohibited from engaging in retaliation against you, under Section 1981.
Discrimination Based on Association
An employer is not permitted to discriminate against you based on the race or color of someone that you either advocated on behalf of or associated with.
Citizenship and Alien Status
According to Section 1981, an employer is not allowed to discriminate against you based on your citizenship or alien status.
If you have been subjected to discrimination in the workplace based on your color or race and prevail in your case, you may be entitled to:
- Damages, including front pay, back pay, and additional compensatory damages,
- Lawyers costs and fees; and
- Punitive damages.
Consulting with an Orange County employment lawyer
If you would like to discuss an employment harassment case with an attorney, please call the office of Daily Aljian, LLP., at 949-861-2524.