Did you know that there is a law put in place to protect you from being discriminated against on the basis of several protected attributes in the making and enforcing of contracts? We always emphasize that you should not put up with any kind of discrimination because, while the law is in place to protect you, it is your right to enjoy equal rights, privileges, and benefits enjoyed by others even if you belong to a different race or ethnicity. Read on to learn more…

Section 1981 is a law that prohibits someone from purposefully discriminating against you based on ancestry, ethnicity, color, alienage, and race during the making and enforcing of private and public contracts. Through this Federal Law, all individuals within the U.S. jurisdiction are granted similar benefits, privileges, and rights as “enjoyed by white citizens,” specifically when it concerns contractual relationships. Thus, the law serves to protect individuals within the spheres of making and enforcing contracts.

Although the law protects whites and nonwhites by prohibiting racial discrimination in terms of contractual relationships, it is crucial to understand the extent of its protections, especially for those individuals with status as members of a protected class. By granting all individuals residing within the territories of the U.S. the right to make and enforce contracts regardless of ethnicity, color, and race, Section 1981 protects such persons against discriminatory treatment.

It is critical to be aware that the relationship between an employer and its employee(s) is considered “contractual,” even in the light of the concept of “At-will Employment.” This is why it is important to understand the law; not knowing it and what it says would not be an excuse. What does to “make and enforce contracts” mean? As per Section 1981, that encompasses the making, performance, modification, and termination of contracts, as well as the enjoyment of all conditions, terms, privileges, and benefits of the contractual relationship.

While most lawsuits regarding race or color discrimination claims are more often brought under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, bringing a racial discrimination claim under Section 1981 would also be a wise move since it is applicable to diverse aspects of the “contractual” relationship. For instance, unlike Title VII, which applies to employers with 15 or more employees, Section 1981 applies to employers regardless of size, allows for uncapped damages, has a longer statute of limitations, and provides for individual liability.

It would be advisable to seek the expertise of a Discrimination Law Attorney to help you in exploring the various options you may have on your table. This is especially critical following the recent decision by the United States Supreme Court that plaintiffs are obligated and required, at every stage of a lawsuit (even during the initial pleading stage), to meet the more stringent “but-for” causation standard for racial discrimination claims under Section 1981. Thus, as the plaintiff, you would be required to bear the burden of showing that your ethnicity, color, or race was a ‘but-for cause’ of suffering the loss of a legally protected right – being the discrimination you suffered during the making and enforcing a contract, where, as mentioned above, that you must continue bearing that burden throughout the lawsuit. This is why you need the help of such a Discrimination and Employment Law Attorney to assist you in meeting the requirements of making a Section 1891 claim, such as stating a claim pursuant to Federal Rule 12(b)(6).

Another thing to note is that while it may be analyzed just like a Title VII claim by courts, an employee may bring claims concerning hostile work environment harassment under Section 1981. Accordingly, Section 1981 includes a cause of action for retaliation and, thus, you should not fear standing up for your right of you feel retaliated against for exercising or protecting your right under this law.

Contact our office at (314) 648-2586 to learn more. We have a wide array of specialties to encompass all angles of the business world and protect our clients at all costs.

Still, as we continue dropping knowledge bombs every day, stay tuned for more educative, inspiring, and interesting posts. In the interim, if you have any questions or comments, please reach out to us through our Website and let us know at the Contact Us page!

Always rising above the bar,

Isaac T.,

Legal Writer, Author, & Publisher.