Collectively, civil rights are the rights of all people to be treated and protected equally under the law, regardless of certain characteristics (such as gender or race) considered off limits for discrimination. Federal civil rights protections extend to residents of all states and provide a baseline of individual rights. Some states also provide protections either for additional classes (such as LGBT people) or to expand federal protections. Since federal anti-discrimination laws only apply to private employers with 15 or more employees, for example, some state laws provide protections for smaller employers.
Those with certain characteristics -- such as being older than 40 or having a disability -- are considered part of a protected class. Civil rights laws make sure these classes receive equal protection under the law. But even those who are merely perceived to have a disability or be of a certain ethnic group, for example, are protected.
Oklahoma Civil Rights Protections: The Basics
The Oklahoma Anti-Discrimination Act prohibits discrimination in the areas of employment, housing, and public accommodation. Generally, the state does not provide additional protections above and beyond that which is enforced at the federal level. However, the Oklahoma Office of the Attorney General investigates complaints alleging civil rights violations and provides the following complaint forms (PDF):
Additional details about Oklahoma civil rights laws are listed in the following table. See FindLaw's Discrimination section for more articles and resources.
|Code Section||Okla. Stat. tit. 25, §§ 1101-1706|
|Types of Discrimination Prohibited
||Under Oklahoma law, employers may not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, genetic information or disability, unless the employer can demonstrate that accommodation for the disability would impose an undue hardship on the operation of the business of such employer|
|Agency||Human Rights Commission|
|Private Action Permitted?||No|
|Attorney Fees Recoverable by Plaintiff?||Yes|
|Statute of Limitations||180 days|
Note: State laws are never set in stone and may change, often through new legislation or higher court rulings. Make sure you contact an Oklahoma employment law attorney or civil rights attorney, or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
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Oklahoma Civil Rights Laws: Related Resources