As a United States citizen or any other individual currently residing in the United States, you have certain civil rights. These are the rights the federal government deems all human beings to have. They ensure social and political equality among the people.
When an individual’s civil rights are violated, he or she can suffer physically, psychologically, and financially. If an individual feels his or her civil rights were violated, he or she can take action to correct the issue. The appropriate avenue for the wronged individual to take depends on the nature of the violation.
The First Amendment to the United States Constitution grants you and every other citizen the right to free speech. This means that in most settings, you have the right to express your thoughts and opinions without fear of retaliation.
Numerous federal and state laws protect Americans’ civil rights in the workplace. One of the most important workplace civil rights is the right to work without fear of discrimination based on one’s race, religion, national origin, sex, disability, or color. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 also makes it illegal for employers to retaliate against employees who exercise their civil rights, such as the right to file a discrimination claim or the right to take time off under the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993.
Workplace discrimination can take many forms, such as overlooking an individual for promotion, segregating employees based on one of the classes above, and permitting employees to face harassment.
The Fair Housing Act requires landlords, mortgage lenders, and realtors to treat all prospective borrowers, home buyers, and tenants equally without regard to their race, sex, religion, national origin, or family status. This Act also makes it illegal for any party to retaliate against another who exercises their rights under the Act, such as a tenant filing a discrimination claim against a landlord.
Law enforcement must follow specific guidelines to protect individuals’ civil rights during their interactions. Although police can use force to restrain arrested individuals, they must be conscious not to use excessive force. Officers must also follow the correct procedures to search homes, persons, and vehicles and to arrest suspects, which involves obtaining valid warrants for these actions. Otherwise, the officer loses his or her immunity and the suspect could have grounds for an unlawful search and seizure or false imprisonment claim.
During an interaction with police, you have the right to avoid answering any questions. You also have the right to consult with a lawyer before providing answers in an investigation.
When you are a victim of a civil rights violation, you have the right to pursue justice and sometimes, monetary compensation for your damages with an experienced civil rights lawyer. To learn more, contact our team at Marshall Forman & Schlein LLC today to schedule your initial consultation in our office.
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