July 2 was the 50-year anniversary of when the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was signed into law. This important law made racial discrimination illegal throughout the nation, including in Florida. It also made discrimination based upon religious beliefs, sex and national origin illegal. Its primary goal was to end racial segregation in schools, abolish unfair voter registration requirements and stop workplace discrimination. It also aimed to stop the discrimination of customers at hotels, restaurants and stores that catered to the public.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission was also born out of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC was designed to combat workplace sex and race discrimination. The law also allowed federal authorities to intervene to assist in the desegregation of parks, schools, swimming pools and public facilities. It also abolished literacy tests from being used during the voter registration process.

In addition to federal law, Florida law also protects individuals from discrimination based on color, race, religion, national origin and other types of discrimination. In Florida, the Commission on Human Relations looks into complaints of segregation to try to put a stop to the unlawful behavior. It is important for Floridians and the rest of the nation to remember the vital role that state and federal laws play in protecting workers from race, sex and religious discrimination.

Individuals who suspect that they have been victimized by discrimination at work may have claims for restitution and other relief under the law. Restitution in workplace discrimination claims can vary depending on the case. However, common types of damages that victims seek in such cases include money to compensate for lost income if terminated from the job, money for lost opportunity and a variety of other kinds of damages.

Source: MiamiHerald.com, “Celebrating 50 years of civil rights”, Michelle Wilson, July 3, 2014