Under civil rights law, discrimination refers to unfair or unequal treatment of an individual -- or group -- based on certain characteristics, including age, disability, ethnicity, gender, race, religion, and sexual orientation.
Steps to take
Not all types of discrimination violate federal and/or state laws, but many categories of discrimination are legally actionable, including education, employment, housing, healthcare, transportation and voting.
- If you know or suspect that you have been discriminated against, act quickly. First, write down all the details of the incident. Seek out a qualified discrimination attorney to assist you.
- If you’ve been discriminated against at work, you can contact the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
- If you have been trying to buy or rent a home or apartment and you believe your rights have been violated, you can file a fair housing complaint.
- If you’ve experienced discrimination at school, you can file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education.
- Consider sharing your story with a relevant media outlet and/or organization tracking hate and intolerance, like Documenting Hate.
What more can I do?
Beyond government entities, a number of civil rights organizations are available to help and represent victims of discrimination, such as the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, the American Civil Liberties Union, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the Anti-Defamation League.