Penal Code section 186.21 declares that it is the right of every person, regardless
of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, gender, age, sexual orientation, or
handicap, to be protected from fear, intimidation, and physical harm caused by
the activities of violent groups and individuals. (This is part of the “California Street
Terrorism Enforcement and Prevention Act,” enacted in 1988.)
Penal Code section 1170.85 makes it possible to impose higher sentences for a
felony if the victim is particularly vulnerable, or unable to defend himself or herself,
due to age or significant disability. Penal Code section 667.9 provides specific term
enhancements for repeat offenders who commit certain crimes against persons whom
the perpetrator knows is disabled, persons 65 years or older, or persons under the age
Penal Code section 11410 (terrorism) expresses the Legislature’s intent that it is the
right of every person, regardless of his or her race, color, creed, religion, gender, or
national origin, to be secure and protected from fear, intimidation and physical harm
caused by the activities of violent groups and individuals. This section also contains
the Legislature’s express finding that the advocacy of unlawful violent acts by
groups against other persons or groups where death and/or great bodily injury is
likely, is not constitutionally protected, poses a threat to public order and safety, and
should be subject to criminal and civil sanctions.
Penal Code section 13023 requires local law enforcement agencies to report to the Department of Justice any criminal act where there is reasonable cause to believe the crime was motivated by the victim’s race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or physical or mental disability. The Department of Justice is required to issue an annual report on July 1 s tof every year concerning such crimes.
Penal Code section 13515.25, effective January 1, 2001, requires that the Commission on Peace
Officer Standards and Training establish a continuing education course relating to law enforcement interaction with developmentally disabled and mentally ill persons
California’s Victims of Crime Program
Under Government Code sections 13959-13969.4, some crime victims may be eligible
for financial assistance for unreimbursed expenses resulting from the crime.
For information and assistance, contact:
California Department of Justice
Attorney General’s Office
Office of Victims’ Services
1300 I Street
Sacramento, CA 95814
Toll Free Number: (877) 433-9069 (in California)
Title VII of the Federal Civil Rights Act of 1964
A key provision of federal law, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII) (42 U.S.C. §
2000e et seq.), also prohibits discrimination in employment.
Title VII prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin, in the classification, selection, hiring, promotion, compensation, or termination of employees, or any other discrimination in benefits or other conditions of employment. Title VII establishes a federal agency, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), to seek out and eliminate unlawful employment practices in accordance with the procedures prescribed by Title VII. Title VII covers state and local governments, private employers with fifteen or more employees, labor organizations, employment services and apprenticeship programs.
You must file your complaint with the EEOC within 300 days of the alleged discrimination or
within 30 days of termination of any state proceeding, whichever period expires first. Title VII
requires you to file your complaint with the DFEH before allowing you to lodge your Title VII
complaint. However, the EEOC and DFEH have a joint filing agreement so a complaint filed with one agency is automatically filed with the other as well.
Like the FEHA, Title VII provides for administrative investigations and a private right of action.
However, unlike awards given by the Fair Employment and Housing Commission under the FEHA, administrative findings of the EEOC are not enforceable in court. The EEOC may file a court action to enforce your rights under Title VII, or the EEOC will issue you a “right to sue” letter authorizing you to file your own action in court. If you file a private court action, you may recover back pay and other make-whole relief, injunctive relief, punitive damages, and reasonable attorney fees.
If you have been discriminated against in the area of employment, and want to bring a federal claim based upon Title VII, contact the nearest office of the EEOC. Listed below are the addresses and telephone numbers of the EEOC offices located throughout California:Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990
The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) (42 U.S.C. § 12101 et seq.) is a comprehensive federal statute aimed at eliminating discrimination against disabled persons in employment, public services (including transportation), public accommodations, and telecommunications.
The ADA prohibits employment discrimination against a qualified individual with a disability
because of that disability in job applications, hiring, advancement, discharge, compensation, job
training, and other terms and conditions of employment.47 An individual with a disability is one who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, who has a record of such an impairment, or who is regarded as having such an impairment. A qualified individual with a disability is one who, with or without reasonable accommodation, can perform the essential functions of the job.
Employers are required to provide reasonable accommodation for known limitations of qualified
individuals with a disability, unless to do so would impose an undue hardship on the business. The procedures and remedies to redress ADA employment discrimination violations are those provided under Title VII, which, as discussed above, must begin with filing a complaint with the EEOC.
The Unruh Civil Rights Act
The Unruh Civil Rights Act76, or Unruh Act, as discussed in the housing chapter of this publication, applies to all business establishments of every kind whatsoever which provide services, goods, or accommodations to the public. Businesses subject to the Unruh Act include bookstores, gymnasiums, shopping centers, mobile home parks, bars and restaurants, schools, medical and dental offices, hotels and motels, and condominium homeowners associations.77 The Unruh Act prohibits all types of arbitrary discrimination, and not just discrimination based on sex, race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, age, disability or medical condition.78 The Unruh Act also prohibits discrimination based on personal characteristics, geographical origin, physical attributes, and individual beliefs. For example, the arbitrary exclusion of individuals from a restaurant based on their sexual orientation is prohibited.79
You can pursue an Unruh Act claim by filing a verified complaint with the Department of Fair
Employment and Housing (DFEH) or a private lawsuit. If a business establishment is engaging in a pattern or practice of discrimination, you can refer the matter to the Attorney General’s Office or to your local district or city attorney. Please refer to the housing chapter of this publication for the procedures to follow and remedies available in redressing your claim for a public accommodation’s violation of the Unruh Act.0See Title 42 of the United States Code, section 12101 et. seq. The ADA prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in employment, programs and services provided to the public by state and local governments, and goods and services provided by private companies and commercial facilities. It contains requirements for new construction, for alterations or renovations to buildings and facilities, and for improving full and equal access to the existing facilities of private companies providing goods or services to the public. In addition, the ADA requires effective communication with disabled individuals and modifications of discriminatory policies and practices.
81You may also visit the United States Department of Justice’s ADA Web site at
; (as of August 23, 2001).
82 See Title 24 of the California Code of Regulations.Protection Against Discrimination by Persons Licensed to Render Services
Business and Professions Code section 125.6 provides that any person who holds a license pursuant to the Business and Professions Code87 is subject to disciplinary action if that person discriminates
Professions and vocations covered include physicians, surgeons, chiropractors,
dentists, dental hygienists, clinical laboratory technologists and bioanalysts, podiatrists,
midwives, physical therapists, speech pathologists, optometrists, dispensing opticians, nurses,
psychologists, hearing aid dispensers, pharmacists, psychiatric technicians, veterinarians,
accountants, outdoor advertisers, architects, attorneys, barbers, engineers, collection agencies,
building contractors, those engaged in the selling or hiring of guide dogs, cosmetologists, private
detectives, funeral directors, cemeteries, embalmers, geologists and geophysicists, shorthand
reporters, structural pest control operators, social workers, construction inspectors, dry cleaners,
electronic and appliance repairers, automobile mechanics, tax reporters, real estate brokers and
salespersons, and holders of most liquor licenses. in, restricts the performance of, or refuses to perform the licensed activity because of a consumer’s race, color, sex, religion, ancestry, disability, marital status, or national origin.
In addition, Business and Professions Code section 726 bars the commission of any act of sexual
abuse, misconduct, or relations with a patient, client, or customer constitutes unprofessional conduct and grounds for disciplinary action for persons holding certain professional licenses.
Moreover, Business and Professions Code section 23438 prohibits certain private clubs and
organizations which hold liquor licenses from discriminating against certain groups. It also provides that expenditures at restrictive clubs are not tax-deductible.88
If you believe you have been discriminated against by a state-licensed individual or entity, you
should file a complaint with the state licensing board which regulates the profession, vocation, or
business involved. For information regarding what board has jurisdiction over a particular licensee contact:
California Department of Consumer Affairs
401 R Street
Sacramento, CA 95814
Telephone: (800) 952-5210
TDD: (916) 322-1700
Web Site: http://www.dca.ca.gov