Collectively, civil rights are the rights of all individuals to receive equal protection under the laws of a nation or a state. While federally guaranteed civil rights are extended to the states, such as the ban on racial discrimination, some states offer additional protections. Generally, civil rights laws are meant to prevent individuals from being treated unfairly (either discriminated against or receiving special privileges) on the basis of one's religion, skin color, ethnicity, gender, or any other such arbitrary characteristic. Laws that protect civil rights typically focus on various categories and characteristics that have been marginalized, such as women and minorities. These categories -- the disabled, for instance -- are referred to as protected classes.
For example, an African-American family has a credit score and financial profile equivalent to a Caucasian family. The first family's loan application is quickly rejected, but the second family's loan is not only approved but given a favorable rate. The African-American family may be able to file a discrimination lawsuit under state or federal law. Civil rights protections apply to the areas of housing, public accommodation, and employment.
Civil Rights Laws in New Hampshire at a Glance
The New Hampshire Commission for Human Rights enforces civil rights law, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, marital status, and sexual orientation in addition to federal protections. See the agency's How to File a Complaint section if you believe your rights have been violated.
Additional details about New Hampshire's civil rights laws are listed in the following table. See FindLaw's Discrimination section for more articles and resources.
|Code Section||Ch. 354-A:1, et seq.|
|Unlwaful Discriminatory Practices
Discrimination on the basis of age, sex, race, color, marital status, physical or mental disability, religious creed, national origin, or sexual orientation.
Some exceptions may apply (for example, a planned retirement community may discriminate on the basis of age).
|Agency||New Hampshire Commission for Human Rights|
|Private Action Permitted?||No|
|Attorney Fees Recoverable by Plaintiff?||Discretionary|
|Statute of Limitations||180 days|
Note: State laws are always subject to change at any time through the enactment of newly signed legislation, decisions from higher courts, and other means. You should contact a New Hampshire employment attorney or civil rights attorney, or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
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New Hampshire Civil Rights Laws: Related Resources