Jan 14

FAQs ABOUT CIVIL RIGHTS

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FAQs About Civil Rights

Q. What are Civil Rights?

A. Civil Rights refer to a class of rights that concern protecting peoples’ constitutional rights and protecting people from discrimination based on their race, national origin, gender, religion, disability, age, or sexual orientation. Laws that deal with these protections are generally referred to as Civil Rights Laws, many of which are discussed below. Civil rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution include freedom of religion, freedom of the press, freedom of speech, freedom from unreasonable search and seizure, freedom to vote, the right to due process, and equal protection of the laws.

Q. What is Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964?

A.  Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, 42 U.S.C. §2000e, et seq., prohibits discrimination in employment on the basis of race, sex, national origin and religion. It also is unlawful under the Act for an employer to take retaliatory action against any individual for opposing employment practices made unlawful by Title VII or for filing a discrimination charge or for testifying or assisting or participating in an investigation, proceeding, or hearing under Title VII.

Q. Who is responsible for enforcing Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964?

A. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission(EEOC) enforces Title VII against private employers and the Employment Litigation Section, Civil Rights Division, U.S. Department of Justice enforces Title VII against state and local government employers. However, individuals who believe that they have been victims by any employer of discrimination prohibited by Title VII must file a charge of discrimination with the EEOC in order to protect their rights. The EEOC is responsible for investigating individual charges of discrimination alleging a violation of Title VII. For more information on filing a charge of discrimination, go to: http://eeoc.gov/

Q. What is Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act?

A. Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (the “ADA”), as amended, 42 U.S.C. §12111, et seq., prohibits discrimination in employment against a qualified individual with a disability because of the disability. It also is unlawful under the Act for an employer to take retaliatory action against any individual for opposing employment practices made unlawful by the ADA or for filing a discrimination charge or for testifying or assisting or participating in an investigation, proceeding, or hearing under the ADA. Title I of the ADA designates the EEOC as the federal agency primarily responsible for investigating individual charges of discrimination under the Act. If you believe that you have been discriminated against in employment in violation of the ADA, you should contact the EEOC. The Americans with Disabilities Act Home Page contains useful information about the entire ADA, as does the following number: 1-800-514-0301; 1-800-514-0383 (TDD).

Q.Who is responsible for enforcing Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act?

A. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) enforces Title I of the ADA against private employers and the Disability Rights Section, Civil Rights Division, U.S. Department of Justice enforces Title I of the ADA against state and local government employers. Title I of the ADA designates the EEOC as the federal agency primarily responsible for investigating individual charges of discrimination under the Act. If you believe that you have been discriminated against in employment by any employer in violation of the ADA, you should contact the EEOC.  Visit the Americans with Disabilities Act Home Page http://www.ada.gov/ for useful information or call toll free: 1-800-514-0301; 1-800-514-0383 (TDD).

Q. What can an individual do if s/he believes that s/he has been discriminated against in employment in violation of Title VII?

A. That individual should contact the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to find out whether s/he may file a charge. Congress has designated the EEOC as the federal agency responsible for investigating individual charges of discrimination under Title VII. Individuals who are federal employees, or applicants for employment with a federal agency, must file a charge with the equal opportunity office of the federal agency that engaged in the discriminatory conduct against the federal employee or applicant for federal employment. For more information about how a federal employee or applicant must file a complaint visit: http://www.eeoc.gov/facts/fs-fed.html

Q. Is there a time limit involved with respect to filing a charge of discrimination with the EEOC under Title VII?

A. Yes. Title VII imposes severe time limits for the filing of charges of discrimination. The EEOC can provide you with further information on this subject. In most instances, a charge must be filed within 300 days of the act of discrimination, including Colorado. In some states, however, the charge must be filed within 180 days of the act of discrimination. NOTE: Federal employees only have 45 days from the date of discrimination to contact an EEO Counselor at the federal agency that engaged in the discriminatory conduct. For more information about how a federal employee or applicant must file a complaint visit: http://www.eeoc.gov/facts/fs-fed.html

Q. If I have filed a charge with the EEOC and want a notice of right to sue, which agency will issue it to me?

A. The Employment Litigation Section, through its right to sue unit, issues notices of right to sue requested by charging parties, upon receipt of appropriate documentation from the EEOC, on charges that have been filed with the EEOC against state and local government employers under Title VII and the Americans with Disabilities Act, except in those instances in which the EEOC has dismissed the charge. If the charge has been filed against a private employer or a union, only the EEOC has authority to issue a notice of right to sue. Also, only the EEOC has authority to issue a notice of right to sue under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, regardless of whether the respondent named in the charge is a state or local government employer or a private employer or a union. If you have filed a charge under Title VII or the Americans with Disabilities Act against a state or local government employer and want a notice of right to sue, you may make your request in writing either to the office of the EEOC where you filed the charge or to the Employment Litigation Section.

Q. What is the Age Discrimination In Employment Act?

A. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, as amended, 29 U.S.C. § 621, et seq. (the “ADEA”), prohibits discrimination in employment on the basis of age with respect to individuals who are 40 years of age or older. Congress has designated the EEOC as the federal agency responsible for investigating individual charges of discrimination under the ADEA.  If you believe that you have been discriminated against in violation of the ADEA, you should contact the EEOC to find out whether you may file a charge.

Q. What is Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964?

A. Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 2000d, et seq. (“Title VI”), prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color or national origin in any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance. Title VI confers primary responsibility for the enforcement of its provisions on those federal agencies extending financial assistance to the program or activity. The federal agency that extends the financial assistance can be contacted to find out how you may file a complaint under Title VI.

Q. What is the Rehabilitation Act of 1973?

A. Section 501 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, 29 U.S.C. §791, (“Section 501”), requires departments and agencies of the federal government to have an affirmative action program plan for the hiring, placement, and advancement of individuals with disabilities. The Department of Justice does not have authority under that Act to investigate the employment practices of other departments or agencies of the federal government. The procedure for filing a charge of employment discrimination against a department or agency of the federal government is to contact an equal employment opportunity officer at that agency who is authorized to receive and investigate such a charge. Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, 29 U.S.C. §793, (“Section 503”), requires contractors with the federal government to take affirmative action to employ and advance in employment qualified individuals with disabilities. The U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) is the federal agency responsible for investigating individual charges of discrimination under Section 503. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, 29 U.S.C. §794, (“Section 504”), prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance. Section 504 confers primary responsibility for the enforcement of its provisions on those federal agencies extending financial assistance to the program or activity.

Q. What is the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968?

A. Recipients of federal funding for law enforcement under the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968, as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 3789d, are prohibited by that statute from discriminating on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, or sex in any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance. Primary responsibility for the enforcement of the anti-discrimination provision of the Act rests with the Office for Civil Rights of the Office of Justice Programs in the Department of Justice. This office may be reached at (202)307-0690, or http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/about/offices/ocr.htm

Q. What is the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974?

A. Section 4212 of the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974, as amended, 38 U.S.C. §4212, (“VEVRAA”), requires contractors with the federal government to take affirmative action to employ and advance in employment qualified disabled and Vietnam era veterans. The U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) is the federal agency responsible for investigating individual charges of discrimination under the VEVRAA.

Q. What is the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994?

A. The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act seeks to ensure that members of the uniformed services are entitled to return to their civilian employment upon completion of their active duty military service. The National Committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) is an agency within the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs. It was established in 1972 to promote cooperation and understanding between Reserve component members and their civilian employers and to assist in the resolution of conflicts arising from an employee’s military commitment. Any questions regarding uniformed service employment rights should be addressed to the ESGR at (800) 336-4590 or http://esgr.org/

Q. Who is responsible for handling private pension plan complaints?

A. The U.S. Department of Labor’s Pension and Welfare Benefits Administration is responsible for regulating private pension plans. Q. Who is responsible for handling Workers’ Compensation complaints?

A. The U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs (“OWCP”) is responsible for regulating workers’ compensation issues involving federal workers. All other complaints are handled by the particular state involved.

Q. What is Executive Order 11246?

A. Executive Order 11246, as amended, prohibits discrimination in employment by contractors with the federal government on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, or national origin. The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) of the U.S. Department of Labor is the federal agency responsible for investigating individual charges of discrimination under Executive Order 11246. If your civil rights have been violated or you have an employment problem, contact a Denver Civil Rights Lawyer: http://denvercivilrightslawyer.com/

Gregory A. Hall
A Colorado Civil Rights Attorney
3570 E. 12th Avenue, Suite 200
Denver, CO 80206-3434
Phone: 303-320-0584
Email: gregory@federallaw.com

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Denver Lawyer Gregory A. Hall has represented injured persons since 1995 in the following areas: personal injury, employment, civil rights, wage and hour, insurance bad faith, OPM disability retirement, federal workers’ compensation, FLSA, FELA and business litigation.

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