Types of Cases We Handle
Our civil rights team can address the following types of cases. If you believe that you or someone you know has been the victim of any of the following forms of discrimination, please report it by filling out this form or call the CAIR civil rights line at 408.986.9874.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the California Fair Employment and Housing Act prohibit discrimination by an employer against employees on the basis of religion, race, sex or national origin, and also provides employees with reasonable religious accommodations at the workplace. Employees who have faced discrimination have faced such issues as hostility toward their religious beliefs, race, or national origin from co-workers or managers; retaliation after complaining about discrimination; and wrongful termination.
CAIR has received many complaints from community members who have been approached by federal law enforcement officials for voluntary questioning. Such cases are important to document to shed light on the subjective effect broad-based law enforcement investigations and profiling have on community members.
A hate crime is a criminal offense committed against a person, property, or society that is motivated, in whole or in part, by the offender’s bias against the victim’s race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, or ethnicity/national origin.
Hate crimes can take many forms and have included such acts as: vandalizing a mosque or place of worship, an office of a religious organization, or a person’s property; desecrating a religious symbol or property with the intent to terrorize; and acts of violence or threats of violence against a person due to their perceived race, ethnicity, religion or any other protected characteristic.
A hate incident is an action that is motivated by bias but that does not rise to the level of a crime. A common example of a hate incident is the distribution of flyers with a racist or otherwise hateful message. Another example commonly cited is of a woman wearing a headscarf who is subject to slurs and insults on the street. Although in many instances, the First Amendment protects the elements of hate speech involved in these incidents, by documenting them, CAIR-LA helps shed light on how easy and common it is to openly express hateful messages about Islam and Muslims. Documenting these incidents further illuminates the vitriol with which members of the Muslim community must contend from the general public.
The Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000 (RLUIPA) provides that the government may not impose a substantial burden on the religious practice of an inmate unless it demonstrates that the burden is 1) in furtherance of a compelling governmental interest and 2) is the most narrowly tailored means of achieving that interest. California law and the official policies of California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation also allow inmates access to meals that comply with religious dietary restriction, religious garb and religious articles. Additionally, complaints from inmates about behavior from guards and prison personnel which violates correctional policy and the civil rights of inmates are categorized as misconduct.
According to the Unruh Civil Rights Act, all residents of the state of California are entitled to equal access to places of public accommodation, including restaurants, clubs, retail shops, and other businesses. When members of the Muslim community are denied access to places of public accommodation, their complaints are categorized here.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services defines bullying as “unwanted, aggressive behavior among school-aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance.” California has especially stringent protections against bullying in general and biased-based bullying in particular. When Muslim youth report instances of teasing at school, pulling of headscarves, and ostracizing or physical violence from their peers, their complaints are categorized as school bullying.
Cases involving delays at the border, questioning about protected First Amendment activities, regular selection for secondary screening, and mistreatment from Transportation Security Administration or airline personnel are categorized here.
CAIR-SFBA refers individuals with questions in other areas including child custody and divorce, immigration, and landlord-tenant law by referring them to allied organizations and/or attorneys who can help them.