One potential source of protection for gig workers is a law originally passed over 150 years ago in the aftermath of the Civil War: 42 U.S.C. 1981 (commonly referred to as Section 1981). Section 1981 states in relevant part:
All persons within the jurisdiction of the United States shall have the same right in every State and Territory to make and enforce contracts, to sue, be parties, give evidence, and to the full and equal benefit of all laws and proceedings for the security of persons and property as is enjoyed by white citizens, and shall be subject to like punishment, pains, penalties, taxes, licenses, and exactions of every kind, and to no other
Title VII and Section 1981 have many similarities and both are intended to prohibit employment discrimination. And courts often analyze cases brought under these two laws using the same legal principles. Significant differences exists, however, between Title VII and Section 1981, many of which will be important to gig workers. For example,
- Section 1981 may provide a legal remedy for discrimination suffered on the job even if the individual is not considered an “employee”
- However, the discrimination must relate to race or ethnicity to be covered by Section 1981’s protections against discrimination. So, for example, gender or disability discrimination is not covered by Section 1981.
- With Section 1981, it is not necessary to file a Charge of Discrimination with the EEOC before filing a lawsuit in court
- A longer statute of limitations may apply in a Section 1981 lawsuit versus Title VII
- Unlike Title VII, no cap on compensatory and punitive damages exists under Section 1981
Read the full story at Do Gig Workers Have Any Protection From Discrimination On The Job?