The right to receive equal treatment under the law, regardless of skin color or other arbitrary classifications, is referred to as civil rights. Laws meant to protect civil rights are enforced by a combination of federal and state laws. Civil rights statutes are primarily focused on protecting minorities, the disabled, women, and other historically marginalized groups of people from being treated unequally. Civil rights laws pertain to employment, public access, and housing.
Washington, D.C. Civil Rights Laws at a Glance
In addition to the federally recognized classifications -- such as race, national origin, and disability -- the District of Columbia also prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, and political affiliation. While the district allows private lawsuits for most claims, disability claims are typically filed through the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
Contact the District of Columbia Office of Human Rights to learn more about how to file a discrimination complaints.
Additional details about Washington D.C.'s civil rights laws are listed in the following table. See FindLaw's Discrimination section for more articles and resources.
|Code Section||2-1401.01, et seq. (Generally); 7-1001, et seq. (Handicapped)|
|Discrimination on the basis of the actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, marital status, personal appearance, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, family responsibilities, genetic information, disability, matriculation, or political affiliation of any individual.|
|Agency||Generally: Commission on Human Rights; Handicapped: None|
|Private Action Permitted?||Generally: Yes; Handicapped: No|
|Attorney Fees Recoverable by Plaintiff?||Generally: Yes; Handicapped: No|
|Statute of Limitations||Generally: 1 yr.; Handicapped: Not specified|
Note: State laws are subject to change at any time through the enactment of new legislation, decisions from higher courts, and other means. You should consider contacting a District of Columbia civil rights attorney or employment law attorney, or conducting your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
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District of Columbia Civil Rights Laws: Related Resources