Fundamental protections against unequal treatment on the basis of skin color, gender, religion, and other legally recognized attributes are known collectively as civil rights. These are considered essential protections in a free society. Various federal and state laws address different kinds of discrimination and related civil rights violations within different realms of daily life, such as education or employment. The Civil Rights Laws and Resources section contains the full text of the Civil Rights Act of 1964; a list of the different federal laws addressing civil rights; a directory of civil rights enforcement offices, both state and federal; and links to related resources.
Federal Civil Rights and Discrimination Laws at a Glance
There are a number of federal laws addressing civil rights and prohibiting various types of discrimination. The most prominent of these is the Civil Rights Act of 1964, different sections of which are summarized below (as well as other federal laws). This is by no means a complete list of civil rights and discrimination laws.
State Civil Rights Protections
Many states offer additional civil rights and anti-discrimination protections, above and beyond what is offered at the federal level. For example, employees are federally protected from discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, religion, and other characteristics. States must adopt the protections established at the federal level, but the state of Oregon also prohibits discrimination on the basis of one's sexual orientation, marital status, family relationship, and association with a member of a protected class.
New York State law also protects people on the basis of their gender identity (transgendered individuals), military status, and source of income.
Please select a link below to learn more about the civil rights laws and protections in your state and across the nation, or to file a claim.