Civil Rights Issues

The Constitution of the United States, as well as numerous state and federal laws, provide for certain civil rights: freedoms that every person is entitled to and which cannot be infringed upon by governments, businesses, or private individuals.

The purpose of civil rights is to ensure that everyone has a fair opportunity to participate in civil society and go about their lives without fear of discrimination, repression, violence perpetrated against them, or undue burdens.

Any individual that has been singled out unfairly — such as by being turned down for a job, apartment, loan, or other opportunity — for no other reason than because of a protected personal characteristic has had their civil rights violated and may be entitled to file a legal claim and be awarded compensatory damages or other corrective actions.

Protected Characteristics

  • Employment
  • Housing
  • Government Benefits and Services
  • Lending and Credit
  • Health Care Access
  • Public Accommodations (e.g. Stores, Restaurants, Venues)
  • Education
  • Transportation
  • Voting
  • Land Use or Zoning

Civil rights are extended broadly throughout society, but several specific areas, particularly those that are essential to living a full and productive life, are given elevated protections under state and federal law.

Types of Civil Rights

There are numerous laws, many of which are enshrined in the Bill of Rights (the first ten Amendments to the U.S. Constitution), that protect civil rights. Many have also been established by state and federal statutes or determined to be constitutionally required by the Supreme Court.

Those rights include the right to privacy, freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of assembly, and freedom of movement. Americans also have political rights, such as the right to a fair trial, due process under the law (which means the government has to follow its laws correctly), and the right to seek legal remedies when an individual has been wronged. Additionally, eligible citizens have the right to vote without interference. Justified self-defense is also a civil right.

Common Civil Rights Violations

  • Police brutality: Excessive use of force such as a Taser, pepper spray, or other tools or techniques when subduing a suspect
  • Racial profiling: Targeting an individual specifically because of their race or ethnicity
  • False arrest and/or imprisonment: An arrest or imprisonment made under false pretenses or without probable cause, or an individual being overcharged for a crime
  • Abuse of government power: Denial of due process or abridgment of a protected right, such as the right to free speech
  • Unlawful restraint of a student by a teacher
  • Political firings: Retaliation by a political figure against an employee that expresses a differing political view
  • Workplace harassment based on a protected characteristic
  • Unlawful seizure of property: The taking or condemning of property by the government (especially a home) without fair notice and a fair hearing

Rely on an Experienced and Committed Civil Rights Team

The legal framework that protects civil rights is a complex patchwork that may involve several different federal agencies, including the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the U.S. Department of Justice, and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, as well as state agencies.

Pond Lehocky Giordano can help you navigate the daunting legal process of getting the redress you deserve if your civil rights have been violated. Our expert attorneys will investigate your case and assist you in winning compensation for medical bills, pain and suffering, and correct wrongs suffered in violation of your civil rights.

Your physical and emotional wellbeing, your safety, and your right to be an active and free member of society are protected by many civil rights in the United States. If you believe your rights were violated, please contact the experienced attorneys at Pond Lehocky Giordano at 1-800-568-7500 or by filling out the form on this page to see if you have a case.