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Civil Rights Practice

Safeguarding what’s most precious to you.” At SKV this is both a motto and a promise. Which is why the areas in which we practice reflect a commitment to things of real significance and enduring value to our clients.

The right estate plan does more than merely protect and allocate wealth—it can provide peace of mind. A successful immigration petition is not just a legal victory—it often means continuity and togetherness for a real family. Perhaps most poignantly, a completed adoption does more than declare new legal obligations between parents and a child, it literally creates a new family and opens the door to the dreams and possibilities that come with it. These are all legal processes but might also be viewed as minor and not so minor miracles in the lives of those affected.


As of August 2021, SKV is pleased to expand our practice to include services aimed at protecting even more of these precious things: civil rights and liberties. Most of us take it for granted that we’ll go through our day, in our apartments, at work, on the bus, in the grocery store, or driving the freeways, without encountering discrimination. Most of us will never know what it feels like to be treated differently, badly and unfairly-- in a store, a bank, a leasing office, a restaurant, while getting a speeding ticket, or while working our jobs--- for no other reason than having brown skin or a ‘foreign’ sounding surname, or because we’re a woman or happen to use a wheelchair. Most of us will never know the fear, pain and humiliation that results from discrimination (which is what this kind of race/ color/ nationality/ religion/ gender/ sexual orientation/ disability based unfair & different treatment is called).


Most of us know that discrimination certainly seems morally “wrong” but may not be fully aware that it is also blatantly illegal in every state and violates some of our country’s most precious values and principles as expressed in our Constitution and civil rights laws. Even so, discrimination happens every day, in every city, and harms millions of Americans in obvious and not-so-obvious ways. Even though discrimination is severely underreported and often swept under the rug by society in general, there are government agencies, advocacy groups, and private attorneys and law firms who are willing and able to stand up for people who have experienced discrimination and who have been harmed in very real ways by that experience. Below, are some examples of discrimination that happen every day in our state, and legal resources available for those who have experience it, been harmed by it, and want to fight back:


Housing Discrimination


Housing discrimination can take many forms, but most commonly it is when a landlord treats a tenant (or prospective tenant) differently based on that person’s color, race, national origin, religion, gender, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, source of income (e.g., public assistance, church assistance, etc.), or familial status (whether they have children or not). This different/ discriminatory treatment might be in the rental application process (e.g., telling a prospective tenant who is black that an apartment isn’t available when it actually is); in the terms of a lease agreement (e.g., charging a higher-than normal deposit to a single mom with kids; charging an extra fee for a wheelchair-using tenant to have reserved disabled parking spot); or sometimes in how interactions are handled during the tenancy (e.g., Hispanic tenant written up for nuisance violations at a higher rate than his non-Hispanic neighbors). Even discriminatory advertising might be a Fair Housing violation (e.g., “LDS standards only,” or “this is a no children building”). If you feel that you have been discriminated against in the housing, real estate, or mortgage lending contexts, and want information about your legal rights, you can contact:


Utah Antidiscrimination & Labor Division (UALD) at 801-530-6800

https://laborcommission.utah.gov/divisions/utah-antidiscrimination-and-labor-uald/fair-housing/

U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) at 1-800-669-9777

https://www.hud.gov/program_offices/fair_housing_equal_opp/online-complaint


Fair Housing Team at the Disability Law Center (DLC) at 1-800-669-9777

http://disabilitylawcenter.org/housing/


Aaron M. Kinikini, Civil Rights attorney at SKV Legal at 801-259-3830

www.skvlegal.com

aaron@skvlegal.com



Employment Discrimination


Like Housing Discrimination (above), Employment Discrimination occurs when an employee is treated differently, badly, and unfairly (a.k.a., subjected to “adverse employment action”) by their employer based on their membership in a “protected class”: race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy, gender identity, and sexual orientation), national origin, disability, age (age 40 or older), or genetic information. The adverse action could come in several forms. Some of these are:

  • Unfair treatment because of your race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy, gender identity, and sexual orientation), national origin, disability, age (age 40 or older), or genetic information.

  • Harassment by managers, co-workers, or others in your workplace, because of your race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy, gender identity, and sexual orientation), national origin, disability, age (age 40 or older), or genetic information.

  • Denial of a reasonable workplace change that you need because of your religious beliefs or disability.

  • Improper questions about or disclosure of your genetic information or medical information.

  • Retaliation because you complained about job discrimination or assisted with a job discrimination proceeding, such as an investigation or lawsuit.

Employment discrimination can occur as early as the application or job interview process, at any time during employment, when termination occurs or even after an employee leaves the job if false and damaging information is conveyed by the ex-employer to a prospective future employer. Like Housing Discrimination, Employment Discrimination can be truly devastating to experience—all of us want to feel safe, valued and fairly treated in the places where we spend the most time and where our very identities are cultivated. When those places are threatened or taken away from us through discrimination, we are shaken to the core and often feel helpless. If you feel that you have been discriminated against in the workplace, and want information about your legal rights, you can contact:


Utah Labor Commission, Utah Antidiscrimination & Labor Division (UALD) at 801-530-6800

https://laborcommission.utah.gov/divisions/utah-antidiscrimination-and-labor-uald/employment-discrimination/


U.S. Equal Employment & Opportunity Commission (EEOC) at 1-800-669-4000

https://www.eeoc.gov/youth/your-rights

https://www.eeoc.gov/node/129986


Aaron M. Kinikini, Civil Rights attorney at SKV Legal at 801-259-3830

www.skvlegal.com

aaron@skvlegal.com


If you feel you have been discriminated against, don't waste any time. Call us today and schedule a free consultation.