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Chapter 8 - Miscellaneous Anti-Discrimination Statutes

Listed below are additional civil rights provisions that you may find helpful.

Jury Selection

  1. Code of Civil Procedure section 203, subdivision (a)(6), provides that persons are not unqualified to be jurors solely because of loss of sight or hearing or any other disability which impedes the person's ability to communicate or interferes with the person's mobility.
  2. Code of Civil Procedure section 204 prohibits any person from being excluded from jury service because of occupation, race, color, religion, sex, national origin, or economic status.

Military

  1. Military and Veterans Code section 130 prohibits the segregation of members of the state militia on the basis of race, national origin, ancestry, or color. Moreover, discrimination on these bases is also prohibited in enlistments, promotions, or commissions.
  2. Military and Veterans Code section 394 makes it a misdemeanor for any person or public official or employee to discriminate against a member of the armed forces because he or she is a member of the armed forces. In addition, no person, public official, employer, corporate officer or agent, or company can discriminate against a member of the armed forces with respect to employment. Furthermore, no public place of entertainment or amusement can refuse entrance to a member of the armed services because that member is wearing a uniform. Finally, no employer of any company or corporation, or any other person, can discharge from employment any military person because he or she is required to perform military service, or hinder or prevent that military person from performing any ordered service. This statute also provides for monetary damages and attorney's fees, and violators may be guilty of a misdemeanor.

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Political Activities/Voting

  1. Education Code section 7052 makes it unlawful to place any restriction upon the political activities of any officer or employee of a local school agency.
  2. Government Code section 3203 makes it unlawful to place any restriction upon the political activities of any officer or employee of a state or local agency.
  3. Labor Code section 1101 prohibits an employer from making, adopting, or enforcing any rule or policy forbidding or preventing employees from participating in politics. In addition, an employer cannot control or direct the political activities or affiliations of its employees.
  4. Labor Code section 1102 prohibits an employer from coercing or influencing the political activities of employees.
  5. Elections Code section 2110 states that no county elections official may refuse to deputize any person to register voters because of race, creed, color, national origin, ancestry, sex, marital status, disability, religious or political affiliation, or age.
  6. Elections Code section 18540 prohibits the use of all types of intimidation to induce any person to vote or refrain from voting, or to vote or refrain from voting for any particular person or measure.

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Public Utilities

Public Utilities Code section 453 prohibits a public utility from engaging in any form of discriminatory rates, deposit amounts, charges, service and facilities because of race, religious creed, color, national origin, ancestry, physical handicap, medical condition, occupation, sex, marital status or change in marital status.

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State and Local Governmental Conduct

42 U.S.C. section 1983 creates a private right of action to redress deprivations under color of state law of any federal rights, privileges or immunities. The purpose of section 1983, according to the United States Supreme Court, was "to interpose the federal courts between the States and the people, as guardians of the people's federal rights-to protect the people from unconstitutional action under color of state law, 'whether that action be executive, legislative, or judicial.'" (Mitchum v. Foster (1972) 407 U.S. 225, 242.)

The challenged conduct must constitute governmental action. In other words, rather than regulating purely private actions, section 1983 regulates state and local governmental conduct. Thus, if you have been discriminated against by some form of government action in a manner depriving you of your federal rights, then a section 1983 action may be appropriate. For more information regarding a section 1983 action, you should contact any attorney as soon as possible after the alleged unlawful act has occurred.

Finally, a few important points concerning section 1983 should be considered. First, section 1983 permits relief in the form of nominal, compensatory, and punitive damages, and/or injunctive relief, depending upon the circumstances. Second, attorney's fees can be recovered by the prevailing party in a section 1983 action. Third, no federal statute of limitations applies to section 1983, so state statutes of limitation will generally control section 1983 suits. In California, there is a one-year period to file section 1983 actions. (111) Many cities have adopted their own ordinances to supplement state laws forbidding discrimination. You should contact your city attorney or a private attorney to see if your city has adopted such ordinances, and, if so, the procedures you must follow to assert your rights.

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Footnotes

  1. Ricotta v. California (S.D.Cal. 1998) 4 F.Supp.2d 961, 980, affd. (9th Cir. 1999) 173 F.3d 861, cert. den. (1999) 528 U.S. 864. Back to link 111

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