RALPH CIVIL RIGHTS ACT
What is the Ralph Civil Rights Act?
The Ralph Civil Rights Act (hate violence) prohibits violence or threats of violence based on an individual’s race, color, religion, ancestry, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, political affiliation, or position in a labor dispute (Civil Code section 51.7).
Persons who believe they have been subjected to hate violence may file a complaint with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing or prosecute a civil case (private lawsuit) directly in court.
In cases alleging hate violence, complaints must be filed within one year of the day the victim becomes aware of the perpetrator’s identity, but not more than three years from the date of injury.
You may file a private lawsuit under the Ralph Act (hate violence). You are not required to file a complaint with Department of Fair Employment and Housing.
The Ralph Civil Rights Act, California Civil Code section 51.7, provides protection from hate crimes. It prohibits violence or threats of violence based on:
Who is Protected?
· Genetic Information
· National Origin
· Marital Status
· Medical Condition (cancer and genetic characteristics)
· Political Affiliation
· Position in a Labor Dispute
· Sex (which includes pregnancy, childbirth, and medical conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth, gender, gender identity, and gender expression)
· Sexual Orientation
Forbidden Acts Under the Ralph Act:
Some examples of bias-related acts that are forbidden by the Ralph Civil Rights Act are:
• Threats, Verbal or Written
• Physical Assault or Attempted Assault
• Swastika Paintings
• Disturbance of Religious Meetings
• Vandalism or Property Damage
Civil remedies available under the Ralph Civil Rights Act include:
Restraining Orders: After a restraining order is obtained from a court, violators of that court order can be fined or jailed.
Actual Damages: Damages of up to $150,000 may include the cost of the victim’s medical treatment, lost wages, property repair, or payment for emotional suffering and distress.
Punitive Damages: A court can order additional damages to punish violators.
Civil Penalties: A court can order a fine of up to $25,000 which would be awarded to the person filing the complaint.
Attorney’s Fees: A court may order the payment of the complainant’s attorney fees resulting from the lawsuit.
422.93. (a) It is the public policy of this state to protect the public from crime and violence by encouraging all persons who are victims of or witnesses to crimes, or who otherwise can give evidence in a criminal investigation, to cooperate with the criminal justice system and not to penalize these persons for being victims or for cooperating with the criminal justice system.
(b) Whenever an individual who is a victim of or witness to a hate crime, or who otherwise can give evidence in a hate crime investigation, is not charged with or convicted of committing any crime under state law, a peace officer may not detain the individual exclusively for any actual or suspected immigration violation or report or turn the individual over to federal immigration authorities.
(Added by Stats. 2004, Ch. 700, Sec. 20. Effective January 1, 2005.)