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California Civil Rights Laws

Last updated 11/18/2019

The rights of individuals to receive equal treatment under the law are collectively called civil rights. California civil rights laws generally mirror federal civil rights laws, with a few notable exceptions. For instance, California recognizes sexual orientation as a protected status. This means it is a violation of state (but not federal) law to discriminate against members of the LGBT community for purposes of employment or housing.

The following chart provides the relevant code sections and basic provisions of California's civil rights laws.

Code Section Civ. §§51, et seq. (Public Accommodations) Gov. §12940 et seq. (Housing & employment)
Agency Civ §§51: None; Gov. §12940: Dept. of Fair Employment and Housing
Administrative Preemption? No
Private Action Permitted? Yes
Attorney Fees Recoverable by Plaintiff? Yes
Statute of Limitations Civ. §51: 3 yrs.; Gov. §12940: 1 yr./agency

Note: State laws are constantly changing -- contact a California civil rights attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

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California Civil Rights Laws: Related Resources

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