#3 – The Civil Rights Act of 1866 (Section 1981)
The Civil Rights Act of 1866 (Section 1981) is a federal law that prohibits racial discrimination in the making and enforcement of contracts. See 42 U.S.C. § 1981. A plaintiff cannot state a claim under § 1981 unless he has (or would have) rights under the existing (or proposed) contract that he wishes ‘to make and enforce.’” See Domino’s Pizza, Inc. v. McDonald, 546 U.S. 470, 479-80 (2006). And the employment-at-will relationship is a contract for Section 1981 purposes. Common claims include Disparate Treatment, Hostile Work Environment, and Unlawful Retaliation.
(a) STATEMENT OF EQUAL RIGHTS
All persons within the jurisdiction of the United States shall have the same right in every State and Territory to make and enforce contracts, to sue, be parties, give evidence, and to the full and equal benefit of all laws and proceedings for the security of persons and property as is enjoyed by white citizens, and shall be subject to like punishment, pains, penalties, taxes, licenses, and exactions of every kind, and to no other.
(b) “MAKE AND ENFORCE CONTRACTS” DEFINED
For purposes of this section, the term “make and enforce contracts” includes the making, performance, modification, and termination of contracts, and the enjoyment of all benefits, privileges, terms, and conditions of the contractual relationship.
(c) PROTECTION AGAINST IMPAIRMENT
The rights protected by this section are protected against impairment by nongovernmental discrimination and impairment under color of State law.
#2 – Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (hereinafter, “Title VII”) “makes it illegal to discriminate against someone on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, or sex[;] … makes it illegal to retaliate against a person because the person complained about discrimination, filed a charge of discrimination, or participated in an employment discrimination investigation or lawsuit[;] … and requires that employers reasonably accommodate applicants’ and employees’ sincerely held religious practices, unless doing so would impose an undue hardship on the operation of the employer’s business.” (“Laws Enforced by EEOC”) (emphasis added). Retrieved from https://www.eeoc.gov/laws/statutes/index.cfm.
Note that Title VII only covers race, color, religion, national origin and sex. Two other federal anti-discrimination laws broaden the protected classes as follows:
(1) Age Discrimination In Employment Act (ADEA) which protects people who are 40 or older from both discrimination on account of age and unlwaful retaliation against a person “because the person complained about discrimination, filed a charge of discrimination, or participated in an employment discrimination investigation or lawsuit”; and
(2) Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) that prohibits discrimination and unlawful retaliation against a qualified person with a disability. The ADA also “makes it illegal to retaliate against a person because the person complained about discrimination, filed a charge of discrimination, or participated in an employment discrimination investigation or lawsuit.” Further, the ADA requires that “employers reasonably accommodate the known physical or mental limitations of an otherwise qualified individual with a disability who is an applicant or employee, unless doing so would impose an undue hardship on the operation of the employer’s business.”
#1 – The Washington Law Against Discrimination
In the state of Washington, the right to be free from discrimination because of race, creed, color, national origin, sex, honorably discharged veteran or military status, sexual orientation, or the presence of any sensory, mental, or physical disability or the use of a trained dog guide or service animal by a person with a disability is recognized as and declared to be a civil right. RCW 49.60.030(1). This right includes, but is not be limited to the right to obtain and hold employment without discrimination. RCW 49.60.030(1)(a).
The Washington Law Against Discrimination is a broad and powerful remedial statue that was originally enacted in 1949 as an employment discrimination law. See Fraternal Order of Eagles v. Grand Aerie of Fraternal Order, 148 Wn.2d 224, 237, 59 P.3d 655 (Wash. 2002) (internal citations omitted); Laws of 1949, ch. 183. Remarkably, Washington State enacted WLAD 15 years before the Civil Rights Act of 1964.