Ralph Civil Rights Act

The Ralph Civil Rights Act (hate violence) prohibits violence or threats of violence based on an individualís 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 DFEH complaint. In cases alleging an Unruh Act violation, complaints must be filed with DFEH within one year from the date of the alleged discriminatory act. In cases alleging hate violence, complaints must be filed within one year of the day the victim becomes aware of the perpetratorís identity, butnot more thanthree 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 and you do not need a Notice of Right to Sue.

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:

  • Age
  • Ancestry
  • Color
  • Disability
  • Genetic Information
  • National Origin
  • Marital Status
  • Medical Condition (cancer and genetic characteristics)
  • Political Affiliation
  • Position in a Labor Dispute
  • Race
  • Religion
  • Sex (which includes pregnancy, childbirth, and medical conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth, gender, gender identity, and gender expression)
  • Sexual Orientation

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
  • Graffiti
  • Name-Calling
  • Swastika Paintings
  • Cross-Burning
  • Bomb Threats
  • Arson
  • Disturbance of Religious Meetings
  • Vandalism or Property Damage

Civil remedies

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 or the Fair Employment and Housing Commission may 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.

Civil Code, Division I, Part 2

Section 51.7††††Ralph Civil Rights Act