By: Barbara Hart, Principal in G&E’s Civil Rights Practice California is coming closer to becoming the first state to ban discrimination based on caste, as a new bill passed the California Senate Judiciary Committee in April 2023. The bill would add caste as a protected category under California’s anti-discrimination laws, aiming to eliminate bias, economic suppression, and violence Indian Americans often face. The caste system is an ancient system of social hierarchy that has existed in India for at least 3,000 years. The system had been used to oppress the lower classes. While the caste system is now illegal in India, casteism has infiltrated Indian communities across the globe, including in the United States. Seattle became the first U.S. city to ban caste discrimination in February 2023, following efforts by large universities which added caste to their policies surrounding anti-discrimination.

How Anti-Discrimination Laws Protect Your Rights

While the new bill is a commendable development in advancing the civil rights of Americans, individuals may seek redress for discrimination based on caste where a state does not have any similar specific statute in place.  State and federal laws prohibit discrimination and protect your rights in many contexts, including with regard to employment, education, health care, and other areas. Under U.S. anti-discrimination laws, you cannot be discriminated against on the basis of:
  • Age
  • Race
  • Gender/Gender identity
  • Religion
  • Disability
  • Pregnancy
  • National origin
  • Genetic information
  • Sexual orientation
  • Military status
If you believe you have been discriminated against, talk to a lawyer experienced in discrimination lawsuits to determine if you have a case.

Contact Grant & Eisenhofer Civil Rights Attorneys for a Consultation

Give our attorneys a call if you feel you were discriminated based on a protected class at (855) 244-2031, or contacting us online. Our legal team takes cases nationwide and can review your potential case during a free consultation.