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Criminal Justice Reform

Date Filed

December 12, 1995

In 1995, a prison inmate confined to Alabama's segregation unit filed a pro se complaint to protect his First Amendment rights to receive newspapers and magazines. The ruling lifted a statewide ban against segregated inmates receiving outside reading materials.

Immigrant Justice

Date Filed

May 14, 2008

Migrant farmworker Victor Marquez was traveling to his hometown in Querétero, Mexico, to pay for his new home, only to have his life savings seized by police who alleged it was drug money. During the May 5, 2008, traffic stop in Loxley, Ala., a police officer confiscated more than $19,000 from Marquez even though he earned a majority of the money by working the bean harvest in south Florida. Marquez was not charged. The Southern Poverty Law Center won the return of the money after the state refused to provide documents and information requested by SPLC lawyers representing Marquez.

Immigrant Justice

Date Filed

December 31, 1996

An Alabama tax assessor who used racial slurs denied tax exemptions to non-English speaking immigrant homeowners, and forced them to pay double the normal taxes. The Center filed suit, ending this discriminatory policy and securing reimbursements.

LGBTQ Rights

Date Filed

February 01, 2012

Tracey Cooper-Harris, an Army veteran, was denied disabled veteran benefits for her spouse, though her same-sex marriage was recognized by California. The SPLC filed suit on behalf of Cooper-Harris and her wife, charging that the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) discriminated against them by denying these benefits while granting them to spouses in heterosexual marriages. The lawsuit resulted in a historic ruling that declared unconstitutional sections of a statute that prevented the VA from granting benefits to her spouse.

LGBTQ Rights

Date Filed

April 13, 2015

Tristan Broussard, a young transgender man, was fired from his manager trainee position at Tower Loan, a Mississippi-based finance company with 180 locations nationwide, for not agreeing to dress and be treated as a woman. The Southern Poverty Law Center and allies filed a federal discrimination lawsuit alleging Tower Loans violated Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights by firing plaintiff Tristan Broussard. Title VII prohibits against employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex and national origin. 

Immigrant Justice

Date Filed

September 25, 2005

The lawsuit alleged five Haitian women working at Gargiulo Inc.'s tomato packinghouse in Immokalee were subjected to repeated, unwelcome sexual advances by their supervisor and then faced retaliation after they complained. The retaliation included the firing of three of the women.

Immigrant Justice

Date Filed

May 21, 2009

A Latina factory worker in North Carolina was brutally assaulted by the plant manager after she had earlier reported his sexual harassment to officials of the yarn company that employed her, according to a federal court complaint filed by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Immigrant Justice

Date Filed

October 22, 2012

In the spring of 2009, the U.S. Secretary of Labor suspended regulations for the H-2A guestworker program that would have slashed wages for guestworkers and U.S. workers alike. A federal court blocked the secretary’s suspension on the day it was to go into effect after a group of guestworker employers filed suit. The Southern Poverty Law Center intervened in the case on behalf of U.S. farmworkers and H-2A guestworkers to seek to recover the higher wages they would have earned under the suspension.

Immigrant Justice

Date Filed

May 04, 2016

Louisiana discriminated against naturalized citizens by requiring them to provide citizenship documents when registering to vote – a requirement that was not asked of other potential voters who were only required to swear that they are U.S. citizens. The SPLC filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of...

Children's Rights

Date Filed

May 17, 2012

African-American students and students with disabilities in Louisiana’s Jefferson Parish Public Schools were disproportionately referred to alternative school, where they often languish for months or even years before returning to regular classes. These students often were referred to alternative schools for minor misconduct, such as disrespectful behavior, use of profanity, disrupting class and horseplay.

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