Austin Section 1981 Civil Rights Lawyer
Congress passed the Civil Rights Act of 1866 as a way to combat “Black Codes.” These codes were discriminatory laws passed in southern and some northern states in protest of the Thirteenth Amendment, which abolished slavery in the US. Black Codes put severe restrictions on black Americans’ legal rights, making it very difficult for them to exercise their newly granted freedom. The Civil Rights Act of 1866 was passed in order to make Black Codes illegal and protect all citizens’ rights.
What the Law States
Section 1981 of the Act states that all US citizens have equal rights to enter and enforce contracts, benefit from the law, and sue if their rights are denied. It was amended by Congress in 1991 to clarify that discrimination is not illegal not only in the formation of contracts, but in all areas of the relationship formed when people enter a contract.
Naturally, Section 1981 applies to all employer-employee contracts as well. Even in states with at-will employment, such as Texas, Section 1981 applies to the relationship between employees and employers regardless of whether there is a signed, formal contract between them.
How Section 1981 is Used Today
Section 1981 is similar in many ways to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. However, it is unique in certain ways that make it relevant to legal matters today. For one thing, Title VII has a shorter deadline for filing complaints, so people who have missed it may have to file a complaint under Section 1981.
The older legislation has no limitation on the amount of money that can be awarded in a lawsuit, which makes it more appealing to people who have suffered significant damages. Section 1981 also protects people’s rights in at-will employment states, where certain types of cases may be harder to try under Title VII.
If your employer or potential employer is discriminating against you, experienced Austin employment lawyers The Melton Law Firm can help. Contact us at (512) 330-0017.