By Bryan A. Chapman, Esquire
Originally included as part of the Civil Rights Act of 1866, Section 1981(a) states in relevant part:
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
Race and ethnicity based discrimination claims, as well as, retaliation claims, brought under 42 USC Section 1981 have advantages over similar claims brought under Title VII.
Under Section 1981:
- Plaintiffs are not required to submit their claims for review by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
- Employer are exposed to unlimited damages.
- The statute of limitations can be as long as four years.
- Both employers and individual employees can be named as defendants.
- Employers with fewer than fifteen employees can be held liable for damages.
Under Title VII:
- Plaintiffs must submit their claims for review by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and EEOC must issue a “Right to Sue” letter.
- Employers are exposed to a maximum of $300,000 in compensatory and/or punitive damages.
- The statute of limitation for filing a complaint with EEOC is generally 180 days.
- Only employers can be named as defendants.
- Employers with fewer than fifteen employees cannot be held liable for damages.
Law Office of Bryan A. Chapman
Bryan A. Chapman, Esquire
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