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Arkansas Civil Rights Laws

What we collectively call civil rights are the rights of everyone in a particular jurisdiction (usually either state or federal) to be protected equally under that jurisdiction's laws. Civil rights violations, therefore, typically involve discrimination, retaliation, or other offenses in which an individual is treated unfairly on the basis of his or her race, gender, disability, or some other defining characteristic. These characteristics make up the various protected classes in civil rights law. For instance, a woman earning 70 percent of what her equally situated male colleague earns (with all other factors being equal) may be able to claim gender discrimination.

But even those who are merely perceived to be a member of a given protect class are protected. For example, someone who is treated unfairly because they appear to be older may be able to file an age discrimination claim even if they are not yet 40.

Federal civil rights protections extend to residents throughout the U.S., but some states also provide protections either for additional classes or to expand federal protections.

Arkansas Civil Rights Protections at a Glance

The Arkansas Civil Rights Act of 1993 prohibits a number of offenses also prohibited under federal law. For instance, hate offenses under state law include acts of harassment, violence, or vandalism that are "motivated by racial, religious, or ethnic animosity." The statute's employment discrimination provisions are similar to federal law, but cover workplaces with fewer than 15 employees (which is the cutoff for many federal protections).

Additional details about Arkansas civil rights laws are listed in the following table. See FindLaw's Discrimination section for more articles and resources.

Code Section 21-3-201, et seq. (Public Employment); 4-87-101, et seq. (Credit); 11-4-601 (Employment); 16-123-107, et seq. (Generally)
Agency Employment: Department of Labor
Administrative Preemption No
Private Action Permitted? Public Employment: No; Credit: Yes; Employment: Yes; Generally: Yes
Attorney Fees Recoverable by Plaintiff? Credit: Yes; Employment: Yes; Generally: Discretionary
Statute of Limitations Credit: 1 yr.; Employment: 2 yrs.; Generally: 1 yr.


Note: State laws are never entirely settled and may change through the enactment of new statutes, decisions by higher courts, or other means. Make sure you contact an Arkansas civil rights attorney or employment law attorney, or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

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