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Civil Rights Overview 1 15 2009
Civil Rights Overview 1 15 2009
Civil Rights Overview 1 15 2009
Civil Rights Overview 1 15 2009
Civil Rights Overview 1 15 2009
Civil Rights Overview 1 15 2009
Civil Rights Overview 1 15 2009
Civil Rights Overview 1 15 2009
Civil Rights Overview 1 15 2009
Civil Rights Overview 1 15 2009
Civil Rights Overview 1 15 2009
Civil Rights Overview 1 15 2009
Civil Rights Overview 1 15 2009
Civil Rights Overview 1 15 2009
Civil Rights Overview 1 15 2009
Civil Rights Overview 1 15 2009
Civil Rights Overview 1 15 2009
Civil Rights Overview 1 15 2009
Civil Rights Overview 1 15 2009
Civil Rights Overview 1 15 2009
Civil Rights Overview 1 15 2009
Civil Rights Overview 1 15 2009
Civil Rights Overview 1 15 2009
Civil Rights Overview 1 15 2009
Civil Rights Overview 1 15 2009
Civil Rights Overview 1 15 2009
Civil Rights Overview 1 15 2009
Civil Rights Overview 1 15 2009
Civil Rights Overview 1 15 2009
Civil Rights Overview 1 15 2009
Civil Rights Overview 1 15 2009
Civil Rights Overview 1 15 2009
Civil Rights Overview 1 15 2009
Civil Rights Overview 1 15 2009
Civil Rights Overview 1 15 2009
Civil Rights Overview 1 15 2009
Civil Rights Overview 1 15 2009
Civil Rights Overview 1 15 2009
Civil Rights Overview 1 15 2009
Civil Rights Overview 1 15 2009
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Civil Rights Overview 1 15 2009

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  • Other constructive eviction cases: Neudecker v. Boisclair Corp., 351 F.3d 361 (8 th Cir. 2003); Honce v. Vigil, 1 F.3d 1085 (10 th Cir. 1993)
  • Transcript

    • 1. January 15, 2009 Eric Dunn, Staff Attorney Northwest Justice Project 401 Second Ave. S., Ste. 407 Seattle, Washington 98104 Tel. 206-464-1519, ext. 234 [email_address] Civil Rights Law: A Brief Overview
    • 2.
      • Civil or human rights are a class of rights belonging to all individuals, and which protect such things such as:
      •  Life, health and physical integrity (including privacy)
      • Freedom of belief (expression, association, religion)
      • Political participation (voting, open government)
      •  Freedom to travel, settle, and live where one chooses
      •  Right to own property and make contracts
      •  Equal opportunity and freedom from discrimination
      •  Due process and access to justice
    • 3. Sources of Western Civil Rights Law
      • Historical
        • Magna Carta (England, 1215 A.D.)
        • Declaration of the Rights of Man & Citizen (France, 1789)
        • U.S. Constitutional Amendments I-X, USA 1791
      • International
        • UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948)
        • International Covenant on Civil & Political Rights (1976)
      • United States
        • Civil War Amendments (XIII, XIV, XV)
        • Civil Rights Act of 1871 (42 USC 1983)
        • Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 USC 2000e et seq.)
        • Fair Housing Act of 1968 (42 USC 3601 et seq.)
        • Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (12101 et seq.)
      • Washington
        • Washington State Constitution, Article I (1889)
        • Washington Law Against Discrimination (RCW 49.60 (1949))
    • 4. Key Civil Rights Protections (Federal)
      • Constitutional Rights of Individuals
        • 1 st Amendment (freedom of speech, press, association, petition, religion)
        • 4 th Amendment (privacy, security of person)
        • 5 th , 14 th Amendments (due process, equal protection, takings)
      • Statutory Rights
        • 42 USC § 1983
        • Anti-discrimination
        • Voting rights
    • 5. Key Civil Rights Protections (State)
      • Washington State Constitution, Art. I
        • Declaration of Rights
        • Due Process, Assembly, Petition, Speech, Privacy, Open Court, Free Exercise of Religion
        • State v. Gunwall, 106 Wn. 2d 54; 720 P.2d 808 (1986): Civil rights may receive more protection under State Constitution than Federal Constitution
      • RCW 49.60 :
        • Washington Law
        • Against Discrimination
    • 6. Spotting Civil Rights Cases
      • U.S. civil rights laws protect 3 basic things:
        • Life
        • “Liberty”
        • “Property”
      • Most civil rights only protect against “state action” (i.e., government involvement)
        • Private entities are sometimes “state actors”
        • Some civil rights protections extend to fully private actors, especially anti-discrimination laws
      Spotting Civil Rights Cases
    • 7.
      • Is life, liberty, or property at stake?
        • Property interest : something to which a person has a “legitimate claim of entitlement,” more than a “unilateral expectation”
          • Board of Regents v. Roth , 408 U.S. 564 (1972)
        • Liberty interest : an expectation that government will not interfere in a certain thing except by procedural due process, and which arises “from the Constitution…created by state laws or policies..or from ‘guarantees implicit in the word ‘liberty’”
          • Wilkinson v. Austin, 545 U.S. 209 (2005)
      Spotting Civil Rights Cases
    • 8. Spotting Civil Rights Cases
      • Examples of Property Interests
      • Land (deed, lease, etc.)
      • Money (in hand or to collect)
      • Personal Items
      • Employment (Job, contract)
      • Food Stamps, TANF
      • Section 8 Voucher
      • Social Security Benefits
      • Bus ride (once fare paid)
      • Examples of Liberty Interests
      • Right to vote, advocate
      • Ability to enter/leave a place
      • Decision to have children
      • Religious practice/avoidance
      • Choice to speak/not speak
      • Ability to be left alone
      • Have/refuse medical care
      Most rights have both positive and negative forms (e.g., the right to do/not do something)
    • 9. Hypothetical #1
      • Norman, who has always wanted to get into the hotel business, was recently accepted into the Hotel Management MBA program at Washington State University. After receiving his notice of acceptance, Norman travels to Pullman, Wash., and rents a room at Bates Motel for a week. Norman meets with students and professors and is impressed with the program, so he decides to enroll. However, before sending in his enrollment forms and required fees, Norman receives a letter from WSU stating: “We regret to inform you that, because of funding concerns, our Hotel Management program will be reduced by 25% this upcoming academic year. As a consequence, we must withdraw your acceptance letter at this time and transfer you to our waiting list.”
      • What, if any, of Norman’s property interests or liberty interests have been affected here?
    • 10.
      • Who is responsible the life, liberty interest, or property interest being in jeopardy?
        • Government or government-affiliated entity?
          • Can only deprive a person of life, liberty, or property for a good reason and on fair procedures
          • As the importance of the right increases, so does the scrutiny of the government action (or inaction)
        • Private person or entity?
          • No general need to justify most actions…
          • But laws may prohibit otherwise lawful actions if motive or effect violates civil rights of others
      Spotting Civil Rights Cases
    • 11. Scrutiny:
      • Any government action must be justified by rational, legitimate reason
      • If the government’s action infringes on a “fundamental right,” then strict scrutiny applies
        • That is, government must have a “compelling interest” and the rule must be “narrowly-tailored” to it
      • If government action seems unfair, it could be a civil rights violation, especially if:
        • Fundamental right involved (speech, association, privacy, political participation, religion, etc.); or
        • Rationale is dubious (discriminatory, retaliatory, etc.)
        • Lack of fair procedures (notice, hearing)
    • 12. Hypothetical #1 (continued)
      • Let’s assume Norman has a property interest in attending the Hotel Management MBA program at WSU, and was deprived of it by the withdrawal of his acceptance letter. How might we scrutinize WSU’s actions?
        • Did WSU have an appropriate reason?
        • Was WSU’s action narrow enough?
        • Did WSU follow fair procedures?
    • 13. Hypothetical #2.1
      • Dick is a bartender at “Packers,” a local sports bar named after a football team called the Green Bay Packers. Bret, who owns Packers, institutes a new rule requiring that all employees must wear a Green Bay Packers jersey on Sundays during football season. Dick, whose favorite team is the Chicago Bears, tells Bret he will not wear the jersey. Bret replies that he will fire Dick unless he complies with the rules of the bar. Despite Bret’s warning, Dick wears a Chicago Bears jersey to work on the first football Sunday of the season
      • Can Bret lawfully fire Dick?
    • 14.
      • Dick is a police officer for the City of Green Bay, home of a football team called the Packers. Bret, the Chief of Police, institutes a new rule requiring all police officers to wear Green Bay Packers jerseys on Sundays during football season, so as to support the local team. Dick, who grew up in Chicago and doesn’t like the Packers, tells Bret he will not wear a Packers jersey. Bret tells Dick that if he does not comply with the rules of the department he will be fired. Despite the warning, Dick wears a Chicago Bears jersey to work on the first football Sunday of the season.
      • Now can Bret lawfully fire Dick?
      Hypothetical #2.2
    • 15.
      • Dick is a police officer for the City of Green Bay, home of a football team called the Packers. Bret, the Chief of Police, orders all officers to wear Green Bay Packers jerseys on Sundays during football season. The reason for the rule is to catch more crooks by blending in with fans attending the games. Dick, who grew up in Chicago and doesn’t like the Packers, tells Bret he will not wear the jersey. Bret tells Dick that if he does not comply with the rules of the department he will be fired. Despite this warning, Dick wears a Chicago Bears jersey to work on the first football Sunday of the season
      • Now can Bret lawfully fire Dick?
      Hypothetical #2.3
    • 16. Answer Key:
      • Scenario #1: Bret can probably fire Dick for insubordination. There is no state action, and Dick’s right to free speech is not likely to protect him against a private employer.
      • Scenario #2: Bret probably cannot fire Dick because there is state action, and the rule requiring Dick to wear the Packer’s jersey appears arbitrary and potentially infringes on Dick’s freedom of speech.
      • Scenario #3: Bret can probably fire Dick. Here there rule is imposed for a non-arbitrary reason, and although the rule potentially infringes on Dicks’s freedom of speech, the speech does not involve a matter of public concern.
    • 17. Equal Protection Clause
      • Origin: 14 th Amendment of U.S. Const. (1868)
        • Strict Scrutiny for “Suspect Classifications”
          • Discreet and insular minority, history of purposeful discrimination, politically powerless, immutable
          • Race, national origin
          • Narrowly-tailored to serve compelling interest
        • Intermediate Scrutiny for “Quasi-suspect”
          • Only some criteria met
          • Sex, alienage
          • Substantially-related to important interest
        • Otherwise, rational basis review applies
          • Rationally related to legitimate interest
      No State shall make or enforce any law which shall … deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
    • 18. Freedom from Discrimination
      • Discriminate: to treat two people differently
        • Discrimination is unlawful if the reason for the different treatment is prohibited .
      • Anti-Discrimination Principles:
        • All persons are equal under the law;
        • Equal means the same; thus, all people should be treated the same unless there is a good reason for treating people differently
        • Usually, a reason for different treatment is good enough if the majority of people think so
        • But civil rights laws must prevent majorities from exploiting power to dominate minorities unfairly
    • 19. Hypothetical #3.1
      • Albert Nuckolls of King County, Wash., enlists with the U.S. Navy. At boot camp, a drill sergeant accuses Albert of being a homosexual. Albert admits that his sexual preference is for men, but denies having engaged in any homosexual conduct. Albert’s court-martial finds that, because of his stated sexual preference, he is not fit to serve. Albert, dishonorably discharged from the Navy, returns to Kent and applies for a job with King County Metro Transit. His application is rejected “due to US Navy dishonorable discharge.”
      • Albert feels he has been unlawfully discriminated against on the basis of sexual orientation. What do you think?
    • 20. Hypothetical #3: Equal Protection
      • What level of scrutiny should apply?
      • Did the Navy discriminate? Basis?
        • Suspect or quasi-suspect classification?
          • Discreet & insular minority? Immutability?
          • History of discrimination? Political standing?
        • Evaluate: Reasons for rule? Narrow enough?
      • Did King County Metro Transit Discriminate?
        • Basis for discrimination?
        • How about RCW 49.60.030(1): “free[dom] from discrimination because of race, creed, color, national origin, sex, honorably discharged veteran or military status, sexual orientation, or the presence of [a] disability [is] a civil right.”
    • 21. Anti-Discrimination: Statutes Extend Civil Rights to Private Actors
      • Areas in which statutes apply:
        • Employment
        • Education
        • Housing (ownership, rental, services)
        • Public Accommodations
        • Contracts (goods & services)
        • Public Services
      • Protected Classes:
        • Differ at federal, state, local levels
        • May differs across subject areas
    • 22. Hypothetical # 3.2
      • Now Albert seeks assistance from Green Star, a temp agency that places unskilled workers into jobs in emerging “green collar” companies. GSV is a for-profit corporation that receives no government funding whatsoever. While filling out Green Star’s “Job-Match Worksheet,” Hal, the manger, asks Albert why he was in the Navy such a short period of time. Albert explains that he was discharged when his sexual preference became known. Over the next month, Albert is referred to only two temp jobs, each lasting three days, both doing office work for $9.00 per hour. Albert learns that Hal did not offer Albert several opportunities to work on outdoor, physical labor tasks paying $13.00 per hour. Albert calls Hal and asks why he wasn’t offered the outdoor labor tasks, and Hal replies that he “can’t afford to get a reputation of sending a bunch of gays to do a man’s job.”
    • 23. Protected Classes: Housing
      • Federal (Fair Housing Act, 42 USC § 3604)
        • Race, color, religion, sex, familial status, national origin, handicap
      • Washington State (W.L.A.D., RCW 49.60)
        • Race, creed, color, national origin, sex, honorably discharged veteran or military status, sexual orientation, disability/service animal, families with children
      • City of Seattle (O.H.O., SMC 14.08.020)
        • Race, color, creed, religion, ancestry, national origin, age, sex, marital status, parental status, sexual orientation, gender identity, political ideology, Section 8 participation, disability/service animal
    • 24. Hypothetical #4.1
      • Tony and Pete are 16-year-old, African-American twins. Both are straight-A high school students. Tony wants to be a doctor, and spends most of his afternoons volunteering at a local hospital. Pete is interested in politics and participates in the school debate team and forensics club. Neither have ever been in trouble with the law, but they do listen to gansta’ rap and like to use slang and “street” language between themselves. One day, Tony and Pete stopped at Bob’s Market on the way home from school, hoping to purchase Coca-Cola. However Bob, the proprietor, who had posted a sign above his cash register reading “We refuse the right to refuse service to anyone!!”, refused to permit Tony and Pete from entering the store. When Tony protested, Bob pointed to the sign and said, “No gang-banging in my store.”
      • Tony & Pete feel that Bob violated their civil rights. Do you agree?
    • 25.
      • What right(s) might Bob have violated?
      • What, if any, laws protect those rights?
      • What else would you like to know?
      Hypothetical #5
    • 26.
      • 42 U.S.C. § 1981. Equal rights under the law
        • (a) Statement of equal rights 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.
        • (b) “Make and enforce contracts” defined For purposes of this section, the term “make and enforce contracts” includes the making, performance, modification, and termination of contracts, and the enjoyment of all benefits, privileges, terms, and conditions of the contractual relationship.
        • (c) Protection against impairment The rights protected by this section are protected against impairment by nongovernmental discrimination and impairment under color of State law.
    • 27. Circumstantial Evidence
      • The McDonnell-Douglas Test:
        • Person belongs to protected class;
        • Person is qualified for the thing at issue; (job, housing, college, benefit, etc.)
        • Person attempts to obtain the thing at issue;
        • Person is denied the thing at issue;
        • Thing at issue remains available to others
      • Unless other reason given, membership in protected class is explains the denial
        • Adverse party must offer “legitimate, non-discriminatory reason(s)” for the denial
        • Court will assess whether the proffered reason(s) is/are sincere, or a pretext for discrimination
    • 28.
      • Can Tony & Pete make out a circumstantial case?
        • Are they members of any protected classes?
        • What was the thing at issue? Were they qualified?
        • Did Bob serve or refuse service to others?
      Hypothetical #6
    • 29.
      • Bob’s Response:
        • “ I didn’t let those kids in because they looked like gang-bangers to me. I can tell by the way they look, the way they talk. Shoplifting’s a big problem in my business. Plus, you get the gangs in here, next thing you got drug deals on your doorstep, drive-by shootings, the whole nine. It don’ had nothing to do with race, color, nothing like that—I see two kids acting and talking the way they do, they don’t come in, end of story. I’ve kept out white kids, ‘spanic kids, Asian, it don’t make no difference to me. I got one rule: no gangs in my store, ever.”
        • How should a court evaluate Bob’s position?
      Hypothetical #4.2
    • 30. Discrimination 201: Disparate Impact
      • Facially neutral policy that causes disproportionately adverse effect on members of protected class
        • Often proven through statistics
        • Rule is not required by “business necessity”
    • 31. Hypothetical #5
      • Joe owns a studio unit at Immaculata Towers, a co-op project in Everett. Joe signs a contract to sell his unit to Yoon, a Korean-American woman. However, the contract falls through when Immaculata’s Co-Op Association denies Yoon permission to live in the building, on the grounds that Yoon was arrested in 2007 for burglary. The charges against Yoon were dismissed, but Immaculata’s resident policy prohibits anyone with “a felony arrest less than 5 years old” from living there. Snohomish County crime statistics show that for every white person arrested, 4 blacks, 2.5 Latinos, and 1.8 Asian-Americans are arrested. The same statistics show that only 1 woman was arrested for every 6 men in Snohomish County.
      • If Joe & Yoon challenge Immaculata’s policy on disparate impact grounds, how would a court evaluate their claim?
    • 32. Disparate Impact: Analysis
      • Step 1 : Identify the facially-neutral policy
        • Nobody with felony arrests in past 5 years allowed to live at Immaculata Towers
      • Step 2 : Identify protected classes to which the person affected by the rule belongs
        • Sex, Race, National Origin
      • Step 3 : Does rule causes a disproportionate (adverse) effect on the protected class:
        • Sex? No; Race? Maybe; National Origin? Yes
      • Step 4: Is the rule justified by business necessity?
        • Or, is there a way to accomplish the same objective through a rule with less-discriminatory effects?
    • 33. Hypothetical #6
      • After moving to his new house in Bellevue, Joao asks his girlfriend Bebel to call Bellevue Water Department and set up a residential water service account. Judy, a customer service representative, answers. Judy asks why Joao did not call himself, and Bebel explains that Joao only speaks Portuguese. Judy replies that, per department policy, only the account holder can establish the account, and since Joao is unable to speak directly with Judy, he cannot establish the account by phone. Bebel offers to interpret but Judy refuses. Joao and Bebel then travel to the water department in person, and ask to set up the account. There, another customer service representative, Jodie, states that because Joao does not speak English, he cannot establish a water service account until he provides “proof of being here legally.” When Joao presents his Lawful Permanent Resident card, his water service is finally activated, but he is required to pay a $150 “high-risk surcharge.” When Joao asks why the reason for the surcharge, Jodie replies that “we consider non-citizens ‘high-risk’ because if people are deported they usually don’t pay the water bill.’”
      • Might Joao have any disparate impact claims in this situation?
    • 34. Persons with Disabilities
      • Reasonable Accommodations: change the rules
        • Unlawful: “[t]o refuse to make reasonable accommodation in rules, policies, practices, or services when such accommodations may be necessary to afford a person with the presence of any sensory, mental, or physical disability and/or the use of a trained dog guide or service animal by a person who is blind, deaf, or physically disabled equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling”
      • Reasonable Modifications: change the facility
        • Unlawful to “refus[e] to permit, at the expense of the person with a disability, reasonable modifications of existing premises occupied or to be occupied by such person if such modifications may be necessary to afford such person full enjoyment of the dwelling”
    • 35. Disabilities
      • Physical, mental, or sensory condition . . .
        • Or record of condition, or regarded as having
      • . . . that substantially impairs one or more major life activities . . .
      • . . . and which, in the instant case, is keeping a person from having equal access or enjoyment of housing (or services in connection therewith)
    • 36. Reasonable Accommodations: Interactive Process
      • Duty to offer reasonable accommodation arises when housing provider becomes aware of facts that would cause a reasonable person to believe that the tenant’s disability interferes with equal access or enjoyment of dwelling
        • Usually, when tenant requests accommodation
      • Housing provider must make accommodation or offer an alternative, unless no reasonable accommodation is possible
      • Accommodation is “reasonable” if”
        • “ Could plausibly” overcome the problem posed by the disability;
        • No “undue financial or administrative burden” on provider;
        • No “fundamental alteration in program or service”
      • Parties to engage in good faith dialogue to come up with a suitable accommodation
    • 37. Hypothetical #7
      • In 2003, Darrell experienced an acute depressive episode, as a result of which he paid his rent late several months in a row, and was sued in landlord-tenant court. The case was settled and Darrell resumed that tenancy after a conservator was appointed to manage Darrell’s finances and pay his bills on time. In 2008, Darrell applied for rental housing from Larry’s Apartments, but his application was denied based on “poor rent-paying history,” solely because of the late payments in 2003. Upon learning of the denial, Darrell informs Larry that he suffers from certain mental health disorders that make him unable to work, and that caused the late rent payments in 2003, but Darrell explains that has paid his rent on time ever since with the help of the conservator. Darrell asks Larry to reconsider the rental application in light of this new information. Larry’s reply letter states: “Application to denied for poor rent-paying history. All decisions are final. “
      • How might Larry’s decision have run afoul of fair housing laws?
    • 38. Retaliation/Reprisals
      • First Amendment prohibits gov’t retaliation
        • Pt. of Longview v. Interna’l Raw Materials, 979 P.2d 917 (1999)
        • “ Whistle-blower” statutes, RCW 42.40 et al.
      • Private retaliation prohibited by statute
        • Example: Retaliation in rental housing, RCW 59.18.240
          • Unlawful to take or threaten retaliatory action against tenant because of “good faith and lawful” complaint to landlord or gov’t
          • Retaliation presumed if LL takes adverse action against tenant within 90 days of complaint. RCW 59.18.250
      • Retaliation for making discrimination complaints,
        • RCW 49.60.210; also protects witnesses, etc.
      • Common law public policy arguments are possible where retaliation is not statutorily prohibited
    • 39. Remedies
      • Victim of prohibited discrimination may:
        • Lodge civil rights complaint with gov’t agency
          • Federal: EEOC, HUD, DOE, HHS, DOJ, etc.
          • State: WSHRC Local: SOCR, KOCR, et al.
          • Very short limitations periods (usually 180 days)
        • File civil lawsuit for discrimination
          • Must file administrative complaint to raise federal claims
      • Assert claims defensively
        • Example: as a defense to an eviction lawsuit
          • Josephinum Assoc. v. Kahli, 111 Wn. App. 617 (Div. 1, 2002)
        • Break lease & move (“constructive eviction”)
          • DiCenso v. Cisneros, 96 F.3d 1004 (7 th Cir. 1996) et al.
    • 40.
      • Eric Dunn, Staff Attorney
      • Northwest Justice Project
      • 401 Second Ave. S., Ste. 407
      • Seattle, Washington 98104
      • Tel. 206-464-1519, ext. 234
      • [email_address]

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