Civil rights violations

Federal and Texas state law protect individuals from actions by others that violate the individual’s civil rights. Those rights include the rights not to be harassed or discriminated or retaliated against because of race, color, sex, creed, disability status, or because you have reported violations of law (“whistleblower”) or filed complaints of violations.

Local governments may also have ordinances and regulations that offer similar protections.

These protections are available in four major areas of activity: (1) housing, (2) public accommodations and facilities, (3) insurance coverage, and (4) employment.

Housing violations

When owners of homes, condominiums and apartments or anyone acting for them attempt to sell or rent their properties to others, Federal and state laws prohibit them from discriminating against others because of characteristics such as race, color, religion, disability, sex, family status, or national origin.

Federal and state laws prohibit discriminatory action based on any of those characteristics in any of the following activities or actions:

  1. refusal to deal with you
  2. renting or selling to you on different terms than they do for others
  3. advertising in a discriminatory manner
  4. falsely representing the availability of a dwelling for sale or rent
  5. making any statement, true or false, about whether persons of a particular race, color, religion, sex, familial status, disability, or national origin do or may live in a particular neighborhood

Public accommodation and facilities violations

Federal and state laws prohibit discrimination in offering and granting access to public accommodations such as hotels and restaurants, on the basis of race, color, religion, disability, or national origin. Establishments affected by these laws includes: hotels, inns, motels, restaurants, retail establishments, gas stations, and places of public entertainment such as theatres, concert halls, arenas, stadiums, or any other place where public entertainment or exhibitions are offered. For example, water parks, theme parks, and museums would also be covered.

Insurance coverage

Texas statutes prohibit anyone engaged in the business of insurance from unfairly discriminating against any person because of race, color, religion, national origin, age, sex, marital status, geographic location, disability or partial disability, or a diagnosis or history of fibrocystic breast condition.

This prohibition applies to most insurance companies, fraternal benefit societies, mutual aid associations, Lloyd plans, group hospital service corporations, insurance exchanges, risk retention groups, HMOs, agents, brokers, adjusters and life and health insurance counselors.

If you believe that any of these entities has done any of the following based on any of these reasons, you may be able to file a complaint with the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI), which may then file an enforcement action against the insurance company:

  1. refuse to insure or provide coverage
  2. refuse to continue to insure or provide coverage
  3. limit the amount, extent, or kind of coverage available
  4. charge an individual a rate that is different from the rate charged to other individuals for the same coverage

In the enforcement action, the TDI can impose penalties and order the company to cease and desist from conduct that violates the statutes.

To file a complaint with the TDI, follow this link:

Employment-related violations

Go here for more on employment-related violations: