Civil rights are the rights of individuals to be treated as equals under the law, which includes freedom from discrimination in employment. When most of us hear “civil rights,” we naturally think of Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King, Jr. or maybe the early women’s rights movement.
Today, civil rights laws can apply to racial discrimination as well as fair housing, equal opportunity hiring, and gay marriage. Most civil rights laws are federal, including those encoded in the Civil Rights Act of 1964, but states sometimes extend extra protections.
So what exactly do the First State’s civil rights laws cover? Where, and how, do they overlap federal civil rights statutes? And how can someone file a civil rights claim? This is a brief summary of civil rights laws in Delaware.
Civil Rights Laws
Most civil rights laws exist at the federal level and refer to the collective rights of citizens to receive fair and equal treatment under the law. While most civil rights laws are derived from the Civil Rights Act of 1964, state statutes can mirror federal civil rights regulations and in some cases will provide greater protections against discrimination.
Civil Rights Laws in Delaware
Delaware’s civil rights laws are highlighted in the chart bellow, including pertinent code provisions, various different contexts, whether private civil rights actions are permitted, and applicable statutes of limitations. Click on the links below for state-specific civil rights laws and visit the What Are Rights? article for more information.
|Code Section||Tit. 6 §4601, et seq. (Housing); Tit. 19 §710, et seq. (Employment); Tit. 6 §4500, et seq. (Public Accommodations)|
|Agency||Housing & Public Accommodations: Human Relations Commission; Employment: Dept. of Labor|
|Private Action Permitted?||Housing: Yes; Employment: Yes; Public Accommodations: No|
|Attorney Fees Recoverable by Plaintiff?||Housing: Yes; Employment: Yes; Public Accomodations: No|
|Statute of Limitations||Employment: 90/120 days; Housing: 1 yr.; Public Accommodations: 90 days|
Filing Civil Rights Claims
Each state’s civil rights protections are enforced by a state civil rights office. These commissions file lawsuits on behalf of citizens in an effort to or punish eliminate cases of discrimination under the state’s civil rights statutes. State commissions can handle complaints regarding discrimination in employment, housing, elder care, and more.
The Delaware Division of Human Relations can answer your questions relating to discrimination in employment, school, and public accommodations, and is able to provide forms and resources for filing civil rights claims as well. If you or someone you know has had their civil rights violated, you should be aware of your options as well as the legal requirements when it comes to filing a civil rights claim.
Related Resources for Civil Rights Laws:
Navigating state and federal civil rights laws and determining the kinds of cases they cover is not an easy task. If you think you need legal assistance with a civil rights matter, you can contact Delaware civil rights attorney near you and schedule a consultation to discuss your case. You can visit FindLaw’s Civil Rights section for more articles and resources on this topic.