The Basic Civil Rights Law
The basic civil rights law is legislation that has been set down to protect citizens from discrimination and harassment. Equality for all was the main content of the Civil Rights Act 1964 passed in America after many years of abuse of the African-American’s civil rights.
The Civil Rights Act 1964The Civil Rights Act 1964 has been called one of the most important pieces of legislation in America’s history. Finally, after many years of inequality towards African-Americans, legislation was passed that gave equal rights to all. With the passing of the Civil Rights Act 1964 discrimination due to race, religion, sex and colour was now an enforceable law. There would be legal consequences for those that practiced discrimination with regards to housing, employment, voting rights and the right to use public facilities.
Civil Rights in the UKIn Britain there is no actual civil rights law. Legislation was passed during the 1970s that banned discrimination much the same as was held in the American Civil Rights Act. Britain subscribes to the legislation set out in the European Convention on Human Rights which governs civil liberties, civil rights and human rights. When it comes to discrimination on the grounds of race, colour, religion, etc the basic civil rights law is that discrimination will not be permitted. Discrimination in Britain will have legal consequences for those who practice it.
DiscriminationDiscrimination on the grounds of race, religion, sex, age, disability, and sexuality can have legal consequences in the UK. Taking employment as an example, anyone applying for a job has the right to apply without fear of being discriminated against because of their race, sexuality, disability etc. There are a number of different environments where discrimination will be seen as unlawful and these will include:
- Employment training
- Equal rights to goods and services
- Services and activities carried out by public authorities such as the police and the government
Private Organisations and DiscriminationDiscrimination is still unlawful regardless of whether the organisations, such as schools, restaurants, housing associations, etc, are private or not. The discrimination will still be seen as unlawful and there can be legal consequences. However there are some exceptions to this rule. These particular exceptions will apply to employment, housing and certain facilities and services.
Discrimination ExceptionsThere are certain exceptions when it comes to discrimination, these exceptions are very few but they do exist. For example an Italian restaurant can advertise for Italian only waiters and chefs because it is a requirement in this particular setting. Private clubs set up for certain ethnic groups can also be exempt on the grounds of ethnicity but not colour. If a person works in a private household then the rules of race discrimination may also not exist.
Other DiscriminationAlthough race and colour discrimination was a big part of the changes made by the Civil Rights Act there are other forms of discrimination. Discrimination can also be unlawful if it used due to someone’s age or if they have a disability. If a person is discriminated against because of their religious beliefs then this can also be unlawful. Recent changes to the law were made in 2003 that tightened up the rights regarding unlawful discrimination in the workplace based on a person’s sexuality.
Discrimination rights have been in place in Britain for a number of years under the guidance of the European Convention on Human Rights. These rights are designed to make everyone equal when it comes to issues such as employment, housing, education, etc. No one should have to tolerate discrimination and harassment, and if it does occur then more advice on ways to proceed further can be found at any Citizen’s Advice office.