West Virginia Civil Rights Laws

Many people may think about Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks, and marches in the 1960s when they hear the phrase “civil rights.” But civil rights laws are still at work today: combating racial and gender discrimination, ensuring equal opportunity hiring, and guaranteeing fair housing. And the legal theories that supported early civil rights movements in the past are being used to argue against bans on gay marriage today.

So how do the Mountain State’s civil rights laws work? And how do they work with federal statutes? Here is a quick introduction to civil rights laws in West Virginia.

Civil Rights Laws

The concept of “civil rights,” refers broadly to the rights of each citizen to receive fair and equal treatment under the law. Passed in 1964, the federal Civil Rights Act codifies the majority of our civil rights protections. State civil rights laws often duplicate these federal regulations, but in some cases can provide more stringent protection against discrimination.

Civil Rights Laws in West Virginia

The details of West Virginia’s civil rights laws are listed below.

Code Section

West Virginia Code 5-11-1, et seq.: Human Rights

Agency

Human Rights Commission

Administrative Preemption

No

Private Action Permitted?

Yes

Attorney Fees Recoverable by Plaintiff?

Yes

Statute of Limitations

1 yr. for agency actions;

2 yrs. for private action

Filing Civil Rights Claims

State civil rights offices are tasked with enforcing civil rights protections, normally by way of civil lawsuits on behalf of citizens. These suits are aimed at punishing cases of discrimination and hopefully deterring them in the future. These are several options and important legal requirements for filing a civil rights claim, due to the designation of which courts can hear a civil rights lawsuit and the overlap with state law and federal civil rights statutes. The West Virginia Human Rights Commission can give you information regarding many types of discrimination and civil rights cases, and can also provide resources for filing civil rights claims.

More Resources for Civil Rights Laws in West Virginia

State civil rights laws can be complicated, from the types of behavior they prohibit to the types of remedies they provide. FindLaw’s section on Civil Rights can provide you with additional articles and resources on this topic. You can also consult with a West Virginia civil rights attorney in your area if you would like legal help regarding a civil rights matter.