Let’s say you have been discriminated against based on your race, but either work for a company with less than 15 employees or are an independent contractor. You know that neither Title VII nor the Texas Labor Code applies to you. Is there any other protection? YES! The answer is 42 U.S.C. §1981.
Let’s say you are an employee of a company with 15 or more people, but that you didn’t hire a lawyer until well after the 300-day statute of limitations for Title VII to assert your race discrimination claim. Do you have any hope? YES! The answer is 42 U.S.C. §1981.
So, what is 42 U.S.C. § 1981?
42 U.S.C. § 1981 prohibits race discrimination and retaliation in the making and enforcing of contracts. It is meant to provide “broad and sweeping” protection against all race discrimination. Faraca v. Clements, 506 F.2d 956, 959 (5th Cir. 1975). According to the Supreme Court, the Civil Rights Act of 1866, from which § 1981 is derived, “was designed to prohibit all racial discrimination . . . with respect to the rights enumerated therein.” Jones v. Alfred H. Mayer Co., 392 U.S. 409, 422-36 (1968).