Advocates have fought since the establishment of the United States for civil rights protections for specific groups and actions. This fight continues today, and advocates must also seek justice on behalf of their clients when their civil rights have been violated. As a society, we have slowly grown into accepting others and ensuring civil rights protections through statutes, both state and federal, but violations still take place. Civil rights are part of our country’s foundation and violation of them is a direct attack on the basic rights we possess. In this blog, we will dive into what civil rights are and what kinds of violations can occur, signs your civil rights have been violated, and what your legal options are following a civil rights violation.
What are Common Civil Rights Violations?
Civil rights are guaranteed to all people in the United States and protect from discrimination because of one’s race, skin color, country of origin, gender, sex, age, and disability, among others. Civil rights violations are committed when one entity discriminates against another because they fall into a protected class, or one entity restricts or takes away another’s ability to exercise a guaranteed right, such as the right to petition the government, the right to due process, or the right to assembly.
Common civil rights violations can include:
- Housing Discrimination
- A public housing company not allowing any women over the age of 25 to be residents.
- Wrongful Termination/Denial of Employment
- Termination or denial of employment for any applicant who is over 55 years old.
- Use of Excessive Force by Police
- Unjustified use of a weapon by police while peaceful protesters exercise their First Amendment rights.
- Denial of the Right to Vote
- Voter intimidation tactics can be used to scare or dissuade citizens from voting.
While these only scratch the surface of potential civil rights violations, a broad understanding of what is protected and what is not under civil rights legislation is important to know when your rights are being violated.
Signs Your Civil Rights Have Been Violated
Legislation, including the Civil Rights Act of 1964, details the groups that are federally protected from discrimination. Of note, in many cases, the discriminatory act must be made solely or in part due to inclusion in a certain protected group. For example, rejection of a worker’s application for employment due to their lack of higher education is acceptable but stating that they do not have the level of education needed and their gender bars them from employment is unacceptable and can be argued as a civil rights violation. As participants in our democracy, we must study and understand the inherent rights we hold. We have a right to due process, right to assemble and petition, and the right to be in a protected group without discrimination. If you are excluded or dismissed for reasons including your inclusion in a certain protected group or if your fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution are restricted, it is likely your civil rights have been violated.
Legal Remedies for Civil Rights Violations
Following a civil rights violation, anger, sadness, and fear are likely to consume you, but it is important to take careful note of the situation, what was done that you found to be a violation of your civil rights and to notify the appropriate parties. In many cases, civil rights violations carry civil and criminal penalties, so reporting the violation to the proper authorities, whether it be the police, federal law enforcement, or a state or federal oversight agency is appropriate. For civil redress, contacting an attorney who is experienced in civil rights cases is imperative. Civil rights law, although relatively new, is incredibly complex and requires intense focus, understanding, and resources. Your attorney should listen to your story, collect all appropriate information, and complete the required legal research to determine whether your civil rights were violated and what course of action is most appropriate. They can also counsel you during a criminal investigation against the violator.
St. Louis Civil Rights Attorneys
The civil rights attorneys at The Simon Law Firm, P.C. have decades of experience fighting for those who have been stripped of their most fundamental rights. From housing and employment discrimination to use of excessive force and wrongful arrest, The Simon Law Firm’s attorneys are always ready to stand up to the biggest corporations and governments to ensure proper compensation for our clients. If you or a loved one believes your civil rights have been violated, contact The Simon Law Firm, P.C. today for a free, confidential consultation.