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What Should I Do With Discrimination Outside of Work?

What Should I Do With Discrimination Outside of Work?

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What Should I Do With Discrimination Outside of Work?

Everyone has the right to be free from discrimination, whether in our outside of the workplace. Civil rights legislation generally prohibits discrimination in all spheres of public life, such as housing, healthcare, law enforcement, banking, and in other circumstances.

Knowing what you should do with discrimination outside of work can be tricky as there is no “one size fits all” process for filing a complaint or lawsuit. However, you do not have to work this out on your own. Morgan & Morgan can help. If you are the victim of illegal discrimination, our dedicated and committed discrimination lawyers are here to advise you. Contact us now to determine your options.

What Is a Protected Class?

Members of a protected class enjoy protection by federal and state laws designed to prevent them from being harmed by discriminatory policies or practices. Every person is a member of one or several protected classes such as age (40 or over), sex, or race. Illegal discrimination happens when an individual suffers disadvantages or is ill-treated due to:

  • Color
  • Race
  • Age 
  • Disability
  • Religion
  • Sex
  • National Origin
  • Genetic information

The Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice enforces federal laws that protect individuals from unlawful discrimination. In addition to this federal agency, states also have their own anti-discrimination laws and agencies. 

Laws Addressing Discrimination Outside of Work

The Civil Rights Act of 1964

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 makes it unlawful to discriminate against individuals based on their color, race, religion, national origin, or sex. The act is often mentioned in connection with employment laws but also covers discrimination legislation outside of work, in particular in regards to:

  • Housing
  • Federally funded programs
  • Voting rights
  • Education 

The Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA)

The ADA is a federal law prohibiting discrimination against individuals with disabilities. The act covers employment, transportation, public accommodations, access to state and local government programs and services, and many other areas of life. 

The Fair Housing Act

Under the Fair Housing Act, individuals should be treated equally regarding access to housing and must not be discriminated against due to their age, gender, color, race, or family status. 

Voting Rights Act

The Voting Rights Act of 1965 prohibits discriminatory voting practices and is designed to remove any potential barriers discouraging ethnic minorities from voting. 

Examples of Discrimination Outside of Work

It is a misconception that discrimination mainly occurs in the workplace. Discrimination can potentially happen anywhere and at any time, whether at the hospital, when applying for a mortgage, or when looking to rent an apartment. While there are clear procedures for those experiencing discrimination on the job, it can be tough to know what you should do with discrimination outside of the workplace. You may not even be sure whether you are experiencing illegal discrimination. 

Examples of illegal discrimination and civil rights violations can include but are not limited to:

Discrimination in Healthcare

Under the Civil Rights Act, all persons have the right to receive healthcare and medical treatments without discrimination. No individual should be denied any services based on their race, color, disability, sex, or national origin. For example, it would be discrimination to deny a disabled patient the same medical treatment as another patient.

According to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), potentially more than one in five adults in this country have experienced discrimination in healthcare. The most commonly reported type of discrimination was racial, followed by sex and age discrimination.  

Discrimination in healthcare is not only wrong and upsetting; it can also have devastating consequences on a person’s health and well-being.

Banking Discrimination

Every bank customer should receive the same treatment, regardless of their race, color, disability, or other protected class membership. However, the reality can look quite different. The simple act of cashing a check or opening a bank account can be problematic for African American and Latino bank customers. According to CNN, ethnic minority customers have had to endure racial profiling, racial slurs, refusals to cash their checks, and other instances of discrimination. Some even had the police called on them for no good reason. 

Mortgage Discrimination

According to the Chicago Tribune, blacks and Latinos continue to be denied mortgage loans at disproportionate rates compared to whites. The practice of “redlining”, which includes denying mortgages to creditworthy people of color based on where they live, started almost one hundred years ago. 

Some argue that redlining still influences banking today. These days, however, those suffering from banking discrimination or mortgage refusal could have legal recourse. You should consult with a discrimination lawyer if you:

  • Had your mortgage denied unfairly
  • Had to accept higher mortgage rates than other bank customers
  • Had your mortgage application denied for discriminatory reasons

Housing Discrimination

The Fair Housing Act was designed to protect individuals from discrimination in a variety of situations, including:

  • Buying a home
  • Renting a home
  • Getting a mortgage
  • Seeking housing assistance

Landlords are unlawfully discriminating against individuals if they deny a rental or sale to a member of a protected class. When dealing with protected classes, landlords  should not: 

  • Engage in discriminatory advertising
  • Charge additional fees
  • Change any contracts
  • Limit the use of facilities

Discrimination Against Voters

Discrimination even extends into the voting booth. Individuals registered to vote experience illegal discrimination when treated differently based on their race, national origin, or for other reasons. According to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), one in 13 African Americans cannot vote due to disenfranchisement laws in this country, contrasting with one in every 56 non-black voters unable to vote for the same reason. 

The American Bar Association (ABA) recently identified voter discrimination in Georgia’s “exact match” voter ID system. The program suspends an individual’s voting status if their Social Security record or driver’s license does not exactly match the name on their voter registration form. Of all individuals affected by this law, a staggering 80 percent were African Americans. 

Discrimination in Law Enforcement

Incidents of police discrimination can encompass false arrests, racial profiling, improper search and seizures, police brutality, verbal and physical abuse, and many others. However, racial disparities can also surface during the sentencing for crimes. According to the ACLU, African Americans are almost four times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than whites, despite roughly equal use rates.

If you have been a victim of law enforcement discrimination, speaking to a discrimination attorney can help you learn about your legal rights and options for legal recourse. 

Discrimination in the Hiring Process 

According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), discrimination in hiring is illegal. Employers must not discriminate against a job candidate because of their color, race, sex, religion, national origin, age (40 or older), genetic information, or disability. The following examples can constitute hiring process discrimination:

  • Refusing to provide job applications to individuals of a certain race or color 
  • Mentioning a preference for a candidate of a certain sex, race, or age in a job advert, such as “females wanted”
  • Tests in the application phase excluding members of a protected class 
  • Not providing reasonable accommodation for a disabled applicant

Compensation for Discrimination 

Since the nature of discrimination lawsuits can vary immensely, there is no such thing as an average settlement. However, if you suffered financial and other losses due to illegal discrimination, you could potentially receive compensation such as: 

  • Wage losses
  • Out-of-pocket costs
  • Emotional distress
  • Humiliation
  • Attorney’s fees and court costs

In some cases, if the defendant’s conduct was particularly malicious, you could also recover punitive damages. A discrimination attorney from our firm can analyze your specific circumstances and assess the potential worth of your case. 

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FAQ

Discrimination Lawyer FAQs

  • How Can a Discrimination Lawyer Help Me?

    In the first instance, a discrimination lawyer can advise you and determine whether you have a case. While discrimination is always wrong and immoral, not all individuals who experience discrimination have legal recourse. However, you could potentially sue and recover damages. For example, you could sue a landlord if you are a victim of housing discrimination. 

    An employment attorney can also move your legal case forward and handle all aspects of a lawsuit, including:

    • Helping you understand your rights
    • Walking you through your legal options
    • Gathering evidence to support your case
    • Filing a discrimination lawsuit
    • Calculating your damages
    • Fighting for a fair settlement on your behalf

    Most of all, perhaps, having an experienced and tenacious attorney protect you and fight for your rights can give you peace of mind during an upsetting and stressful time. 

  • What Are My Next Best Steps After Experiencing Discrimination?

    Knowing what you should do with discrimination outside of work is not necessarily straightforward, as it depends on the type of case you have. If you suffered mistreatment or disadvantages by a human services provider, you could file a complaint with the Office for Civil Rights (OCR). If your rights to fair housing were violated, you could file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). 

    However, you could also file charges with the relevant agencies in your state. Since it can be confusing to know what to do for the best, consider speaking to a discrimination lawyer to find out about your next best steps. You could potentially have legal recourse against a company, government entity, or individual and qualify for damages. 

  • Can I Afford a Discrimination Attorney?

    Getting justice should not be a question of money. While attorneys work with various fee structures such as hourly fees and retainers, consider hiring an attorney who works with a contingency agreement. With a contingent fee, you would not be responsible for paying any upfront attorney’s fees. Importantly, if you lose your case, you do not have to pay any attorney’s fees at all and can simply walk away. 

    Morgan & Morgan does not charge anything upfront. Our motivated and experienced lawyers could start to work on your case right away without you having to spend a dime on fees or other legal costs. We only recover our fee if and when we win. 

  • How Long Do I Have to File a Discrimination Claim?

    Generally, the sooner you act after experiencing discrimination, the better. When filing a complaint with a federal agency such as the OCR, you usually have to do so within 180 days, although there can be extensions. 

    You could also file a discrimination lawsuit instead of a complaint or in addition to the complaint. If you intend to seek justice in court and file a lawsuit, the statutes of limitations in your state will determine the timeframe available for filing a suit. Missing the deadline could mean forfeiting your right to legal recourse and compensation. A discrimination lawyer from our firm can help you determine how much time you have for filing your claim and ensure that you are not missing any critical deadlines. 

  • Do I Have to Be in a Minority Group to Enjoy Protection From Discrimination?

    No. Generally, all individuals in the US enjoy protection under civil rights laws. Every person is protected from discrimination based on their race, color, national origin, and on many other grounds. Age, disability, and sex discrimination can affect all persons, regardless of their ethnicity. As such, our country’s civil rights and anti-discrimination laws protect each and every one of us. 

  • Contact Us Today for Help and Advice

    Discrimination, whether in or outside of the workplace, is always wrong and unacceptable. Victims of discrimination are entitled to have their complaints heard and seek justice. In some cases, victims of discriminatory actions could be entitled to damages for their financial losses, emotional anguish, and other losses they suffered as a result of unlawful discrimination.  

    If you have experienced discrimination, you can and should take action. Morgan & Morgan believes that any type of discrimination must be stamped out. We can be by your side every step of the way in standing up for what is right. We have the legal knowledge and resources to fight discrimination cases. Our motivated and compassionate attorneys want to help you get the justice and compensation that you deserve. Contact us today to schedule a free case review.  

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