Lancaster Civil Rights Attorney
Your civil rights are the rights that grant you political and social equality with others. You do not have to be a United States citizen to have civil rights – these rights are shared by all people currently in the country.
When one or more of your civil rights are violated, you can suffer financial, emotional, and physical damages. If this happens, you have the right to pursue compensation for these damages and justice for yourself by taking action against the party that committed the violation. The right legal action to take after a violation depends on the type of violation that occurred. For example, issues related to workplace misconduct are handled by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and when a police officer violates an individual’s rights, the individual can file a police misconduct claim.
Know your Civil Rights
It is important that you know your civil rights in all situations. These include, but are not limited to:
- Your right to free speech;
- Your right to freely assemble;
- Your right to avoid making statements that incriminate yourself during interactions with law enforcement; and
- Your right to be treated fairly in the hiring process and the workplace.
The Right to Free Speech
The First Amendment to the United States Constitution grants individuals the right to free speech, which means that the government cannot prohibit an individual from openly expressing him- or herself in most situations. The First Amendment also prohibits the federal government from establishing a state religion or prohibiting individuals from practicing their religions and expressing their religious beliefs.
The Right to Fair Treatment by Police
Although officers may use force to restrain individuals under arrest, they cannot use excessive force. Excessive force is defined as physical force that goes beyond what is necessary to restrain the individual, which depends on the details of the situation. For example, using a taser on a peaceful demonstrator may be deemed to be excessive force, whereas using the taser on a violent individual believed to be a hazard to others generally would not be.
Other civil rights regarding police interactions include the right to refuse to comply with a search if the officer does not have a valid search warrant, the right to refuse to answer an officer’s questions, and the right to seek legal counsel before interacting with police.
Discrimination and Civil Rights
Discrimination is the unfair treatment of an individual based on his or her race, sex, religion, ethnicity, national origin, or disability. In the workplace, this means employers cannot overlook an individual for employment or promotion based on one of these factors, nor can they terminate or segregate employees based on them.
The Fair Housing Act also makes it illegal for landlords, realtors, and mortgage lenders to discriminate against prospective buyers, borrowers, and tenants based on these factors.
Work with an Experienced Lancaster Civil Rights Attorney
Protect your civil rights by working with an experienced civil rights attorney to take action after a violation. To learn more and start developing your case, contact our team at Marshall & Forman, LLC today to schedule your initial consultation with us.