Race Discrimination: Applicable Laws
Created by FindLaw's team of legal writers and editors | Last reviewed July 27, 2017
Historically, the United States government has practiced race discrimination in various forms. Many citizens suffer unequal treatment due to their race in various settings including: employment, credit, housing, public accommodations, and voting. To address the issue, law makers enacted several federal laws to combat discrimination. Many states have civil rights laws of their own which mirror those at the federal level, and many states extend these protections to LGBT individuals and other classes of individuals in addition to racial minorities. In addition, municipalities like cities and counties can enact ordinances and laws related to civil rights.
Below are descriptions of federal laws that prohibit discrimination based on race.
The Civil Rights Act of 1964: Title VII (Equal Employment Opportunities)
The Civil Rights Act was a very significant piece of legislation when it was enacted in 1964 and continues to protect individuals against discrimination. The Act has many anti-discrimination provisions including Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 ( Equal Employment Opportunities) which prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, and national origin (including limited English proficiency).
The Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA)
The Equal Credit Opportunity Act grants all applicants an equal opportunity to obtain credit through the anti-discrimination provision. The ECOA prohibits creditors from discriminating against credit applicants on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, familial status, age, and the applicant's use of public assistance.
U.S. Code Title 42, Chapter 21-Civil Rights
Title 42, Chapter 21 of the U.S. Code prohibits discrimination against persons based on age, disability, gender, race, national origin, and religion (among other things) in a number of settings - including education, employment, public accommodations, federal services, and more. Chapter 21 is where a number of federal acts related to civil rights have been codified - including the Civil Rights Act of 1866, Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act.
Fair Housing Act
The Fair Housing Act (FHA) prohibits discrimination in the sale, rental, and financing of housing on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, or disability.
Voting Rights Act of 1965
The Voting Rights Act of 1965 (VRA) bans the denial or restriction of the right to vote and forbids discrimination in voting practices on the basis of race and color nationwide.
Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act
The Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act provides for equitable and impartial relief operations, without discrimination on the grounds of race, color, religion, nationality, sex, age, or economic status during an official emergency or disaster.
Get Professional Legal Help with Your Discrimination Claim
Have you been treated unfairly based on your race? Did the mistreatment greatly impact your life? Whether it is discrimination in education, on the job, housing, public accommodations, or another area, anti-discrimination laws are here to protect you. However, the laws are complex. An experienced attorney can help you determine if you have a valid claim. You can check out FindLaw's attorney directory today for professional legal help with your claim.
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Contact a qualified civil rights attorney to help you protect your rights.