As an individual living in the United States, you have certain civil rights. These are the rights that grant you social and political equality with every other person, regardless of your race, sex, religion, national origin, or disability. Civil rights are guaranteed by law.
Although civil rights are protected by law, they are violated every day. An individual’s civil rights protect him or her from discrimination and other types of mistreatment in the workplace, in interactions with law enforcement, while incarcerated, in schools, and in public spaces. When an individual’s civil rights are violated, he or she can seek compensation for any monetary damages he or she suffered as a result of the violation, like medical bills for the treatment he or she needed after being physically abused by law enforcement. There are strict requirements in place for pursuing this type of claim, so it is in the individual’s best interest to work with an experienced civil rights lawyer to pursue his or her claim.
Civil Rights Case Types
Because individuals have many civil rights, there are many different ways to violate these rights. Examples of civil rights violations include:
- Discrimination in the workplace;
- Discrimination against an individual attempting to rent or buy a home;
- Failure of law enforcement to discuss an individual’s civil rights related to an arrest and questioning, such as the right to request that a lawyer be present during questioning;
- Using unnecessary force to restrain an individual under arrest;
- Searching an individual’s person, home, or vehicle without a valid search warrant or probable cause to conduct the search;
- Arresting an individual without a valid arrest warrant or probable cause to arrest him or her;
- Denying a child with special needs the opportunity to receive an appropriate education in a safe school environment; and
- Subjecting individuals to discrimination and other types of mistreatment based on their status in protected classes, such as their race or religion.
The Importance of Protecting your Civil Rights
There are many ways a civil rights violation can hurt you now and in the future. Violations in the workplace, such as discrimination in hiring and promotion decisions and wrongful termination, can cause you to lose wages and miss opportunities to advance your career, potentially costing you hundreds of thousands of dollars over the course of your working years. A violation during or after your arrest can make it more difficult for you to defend your case against the charge you face, potentially landing you in prison or forcing you to pay steep fines for a crime you did not commit. Other types of civil rights violation, such as the use of unnecessary force during an arrest, can leave you physically injured, and violations of your right to fair housing opportunities and the right to vote without facing poll taxes and other discriminatory restrictions can leave you disenfranchised, or unable to access the opportunities you are legally entitled to access.
With any type of civil rights violation, you can also suffer emotional and psychological trauma. This trauma can have a severe impact on your life, limiting your ability to earn a living and impacting your physical health. Through a civil rights violation claim, you can seek compensation for the expenses associated with this trauma like your therapy bills. We can also seek changes to your workplace or another area where the violation occurred to ensure that you and others do not face civil rights violations in the future.
How We Defend Our Clients’ Civil Rights
Each civil rights case is unique. The right authority to handle your case depends on the nature of the violation. For example, workplace rights violations are handled by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
We ensure that the client’s claim is filed with the correct authority within the required time period for the type of claim he or she is pursuing. We also make use of every available piece of evidence to support the claim and if possible, we obtain additional evidence to support the claim. Often, the government authority works with the client and the party that violated his or her rights to facilitate an appropriate settlement. When this is not possible, the client can file a civil rights violation lawsuit. Our team is comfortably litigating civil rights violations cases when necessary. We work hard to prove that civil rights violations occurred and when the court mishandles a case, we work with our clients to appeal and overturn decisions made in error.
What you Can Do to Protect your Civil Rights
Your lawyer can fight to uphold your civil rights and help you seek justice and compensation following a civil rights violation, but you, too, play a role in protecting your rights. The most important action for you to take as a citizen is to know and understand your rights. Take the time to familiarize yourself with your rights in the workplace, such as those protected by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the Fair Labor Standards Act, and the Occupational Health and Safety Act. It is also important to know your rights in interactions with law enforcement. Knowing what to do, what not to do, and how to handle the situation when you are facing a civil rights violation can protect you from being treated unfairly and potentially jeopardizing your ability to file a civil rights violation claim against the perpetrator.
Work with an Experienced Oakland Civil Rights Lawyer
Our team of civil rights lawyers at Dolan Law Firm is here to protect you and your rights. If you feel your rights were violated or if you are currently experiencing a violation of your civil rights, speak up and start working with an experienced civil rights lawyer to rectify the issue. In addition to seeking justice for yourself, you can seek monetary compensation for your damages related to the violation and set a precedent in your workplace, your child’s school district, or your community that will protect others’ rights in the future.