What Are Some Examples of Civil Rights Violations?

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People often discuss civil rights as some concrete set of values and core principles that everyone must follow.  While there may be many human rights that we all share, whether a violation of those rights is illegal or not depends on the laws in place.  Each state and the U.S. as a whole have laws protecting people from certain types of violations of these rights, and violations of those rights usually allow victims to claim compensation or file complaints to get change to happen or to get compensation for the violation.  The civil rights violation lawyers at The Law Office of Andrew Shubin explain what some of these civil rights are and what violations of these rights look like.

Examples of Civil Rights in the U.S.

As mentioned, many rights are considered human rights – such as the right to life, liberty, and property.  When the government steps in and writes laws to protect these rights, we call them civil rights.  In many cases, civil rights are more expansive, creating additional protections and freedoms that we should all be able to count on living in a country like the United States.  For instance, while we might all have a human right to seek housing and shelter, the U.S. government has rules in place to help protect those rights by preventing discrimination in housing.  Other civil rights protect from other abuses or harms the government could cause, and most of the laws preventing these types of discrimination are enshrined in the Constitution.

Anti-Discrimination Rights

Most anti-discrimination laws in the U.S. protect against discrimination in 5 main categories:

  1. Race
  2. Color
  3. Religion
  4. Sex
  5. National origin

Some laws have traditionally expanded these categories to related categories of discrimination.  For instance, discrimination based on religion could include discrimination based on dress or expression related to that religion, and sex discrimination could include discrimination based on pregnancy, gender, gender presentation, sexual orientation, or other attributes.  Other laws prevent discrimination based on other attributes, such as age or disability.

These anti-discrimination laws generally protect people in the areas of education, housing, employment, and public accommodations.  The phrase “public accommodations” includes various facilities open to the public, such as stores, hotels, and restaurants.  If you are discriminated against, you may be able to file a complaint with a state or federal agency, but the laws on point might also allow you to sue a business or individual for discrimination and the damages it causes.

Other Civil and Constitutional Rights

Some of the other most common civil rights are contained in the U.S. Constitution.  State constitutions also have their own lists of rights and protections which might parallel the U.S. Constitution or create broader protections.  Some of the most common constitutionally protected civil rights include the following:

  • Freedom of religion
  • Freedom of speech
  • Freedom of the press
  • Freedom of assembly
  • Freedom of protest
  • Right against unreasonable search and seizure
  • Right to due process
  • Right to an attorney
  • Right to equal protection under the law

There are other rights enshrined in state and federal law, but these are the ones most commonly used in civil rights complaints.  Some civil rights complaints are often tied to criminal law issues, such as problems with your right to remain free of unreasonable search and seizure, the right against double jeopardy, or rights dealing with Miranda rights issues like the right to an attorney or the right to remain silent.  Other civil rights violations could be caused by police abuse or mistreatment.

Rights concerning free speech and expression are some of the most hotly contested issues.  These cases are often important in issues related to expression in schools, as students do not “shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate,” according to the Supreme Court.

What Qualifies as a Civil Rights Violation?

Civil rights are protected by the government.  In many cases, the laws contained in the Constitution and other laws protect the people from abuse by the government as well.  These rights, like the right to freedom of speech, are only enforceable against the government.  That means that it is not a violation of your civil rights for another private individual to silence your speech in the workplace, at church, or in a private club.  Instead, there needs to be state action that harms your rights for these civil rights to be violated.

Other protections are enforced against other private individuals.  Especially with regard to anti-discrimination laws, the statutes work broadly to protect people from violations by other people, such as their bosses, their landlords, store owners, and other individuals.  These issues reach the level of a violation if the conduct treats people differently and denies them benefits – or causes additional detriments – because of one of the protected attributes or features listed in the law.

Examples of Civil Rights Violations

Sometimes the best way to understand a violation is to see it in action.  The following are all examples of civil rights violations:

These are just a few of the types of civil rights violation cases we handle.  Call our law offices if you think you’ve been discriminated against or had your civil or constitutional rights violated.

Call Our Civil and Constitutional Rights Attorneys

If you or a loved one was subject to discrimination, harassment, or institutional sexual abuse, or if you had your right to freedom of speech, freedom of religion, or due process rights violated, contact The Law Office of Andrew Shubin today.  Our civil rights violation attorney is available to set up a free legal consultation today.  Call (814) 826-3586 to learn more.

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