Civil law covers disputes and cases where an individual, public body, or organization has violated the rights of another person. Examples include personal injury claims, contractual breaches, employment tribunals, or negligence.
If you believe that your constitutional freedoms have been disregarded, a lawyer for civil rights can guide you through the steps to file a lawsuit or claim compensation.
Civil Rights in the Workplace
US anti-discrimination laws mean that employers cannot treat staff unfairly based on five primary characteristics:
Other factors such as sexual orientation, disability, familial circumstances, and veteran status are also protected from discrimination.
How did the Civil Rights Act affect employment? The Civil Rights Act introduced safeguards against discrimination, ended segregation, and created a set of legal statutes whereby employers or businesses can be held responsible for civil rights violations.
Claiming Compensation for a Civil Rights Breach at Work
Contrary to common misconceptions, you can file a claim for any discriminatory practices–your civil rights are protected in many instances, not just if you are unfairly dismissed.
What is considered unfair treatment in the workplace? A workplace civil rights breach includes any negative employment outcome based on a protected characteristic such as:
- Unfavorable transfers or changes to your duties
- Being demoted or given lower levels of responsibility
- Receiving less pay than coworkers
- Being passed over for a pay rise, promotion, or extra task
If there is a link between the outcome and your gender, religion, ethnicity, or any other factor, you may have a valid civil rights claim.
Examples of Civil Violations
Civil rights breaches are not confined to the workplace and can occur across the spectrum of our daily lives and interactions.
Housing Civil Violations
The Fair Housing Act (1968) makes it illegal to sell, rent, or finance a property based on gender, religion, race, or heritage. Successful civil rights housing lawsuits include cases against housing authorities or landlords who have excluded certain minorities from buildings or residences. Any discriminatory factor, such as refusing to let an apartment, charging a higher rent, or requiring a steeper deposit unfairly, can be considered a civil violation.
Education Civil Violations
Colleges, schools, and private educational establishments, including parochial schools, must uphold equal access to tuition.
The Civil Rights Act (Title IX) deals with discrimination in education and states that students must be treated fairly in regards to:
- Scholarships or grants
- Access to funding
- School sports
Gender discrimination in education is currently a huge area of contention. Certain state laws regarding transgender bathrooms or sports may contradict the inclusion of trans discrimination in Title IX, so state-specific legal advice is highly advisable.
Law Enforcement Civil Violations
Breaches of civil rights by law enforcement officers can include claims of:
- Excessive force
- Illegal search and seizure
- Infringement of rights to an attorney
- Violations of Miranda rights
The severity of these civil rights violations can vary widely. Police must adhere to rules around when they can perform an arrest, seize property, perform an interrogation, or conduct a search.
Anybody who is arrested and is not provided with access to an attorney, is interviewed without legal representation after requesting a lawyer, or is not read their Miranda rights while in custody may have a legal claim of a civil rights breach and should contact a lawyer at Strom Law as soon as possible.