Civil Rights Act of 1991 Law & Legal Definition


The Civil Rights Act of 1991 is a federal law that provides the right to trial by jury on discrimination claims and introduced the possibility of emotional distress damages, while limiting the amount that a jury could award.

The Act was passed in response to a series of U.S. Supreme Court decisions which limited the rights of employees who had sued their employers for discrimination.

The Act aims to:

a. strengthen and improve federal civil rights laws;

b. provide for damages in cases of intentional employment discrimination;

c. clarify provisions regarding disparate impact actions;

d. provide additional protections against unlawful discrimination in employment; and

e. deter unlawful harassment and intentional discrimination in the workplace.