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The Benefit of Knowing Your Civil Rights

This content about civil rights was written by a third party and does not represent the views or opinions of Haddad & Sherwin LLP, nor should it be construed as a complete and accurate statement of the law or as legal advice.  For better information about this topic, please contact Haddad & Sherwin LLP.

Your civil rights are there to protect you from unfair treatment and discrimination in all facets of life, whether that be housing, employment, education, etc. Since these rights are at the core of our democracy, the laws that uphold those rights allow for certain actions to be taken when they are violated. Knowing your rights can help you identify situations of discrimination, abuse of power, and it can provide you guidance to take certain actions.

Civil rights in the U.S.

Though the term civil rights is strongly associated with the Civil Rights Movement, which fought for the equality of African Americans, it’s also used today when discussing the furtherance of equality for every individual, regardless of characteristics such as sex, age, disability, national origin, religion, and others. The laws that guarantee these rights exist through federal legislation and federal court decisions. Furthermore, states also pass legislation regarding civil rights, which tend to be more protective. The most common civil rights are enshrined in the U.S. Constitution.

Examples of core civil rights in the U.S. include the following:

  • Anti-discrimination rights: anti-discrimination laws act in the main categories of race, color, religion, sex, and national origin. There are also other laws that prevent discrimination based on other characteristics such as disability.
  • Freedom of assembly and protest
  • Freedom of religion
  • Freedom of speech
  • Right to equal protection under the law
  • Right against unreasonable search and seizure

Civil rights vs. civil liberties

It’s important to make a distinction between these two terms since they represent different concepts. Civil rights are centered around the concept of protecting individuals from unfair treatment based on protected characteristics. On the other hand, civil liberties are broader and refer to freedoms that protect individuals against government actions. Examples of civil liberties are the right to vote and the right to privacy.

Violations

Currently, color of law violations are at the center of police misconduct cases that have shocked the country. Other common civil rights violations include discrimination in education based on sex and gender, housing discrimination, and hate violence. California civil rights laws such as the Ralph Civil Rights Act protect individuals who are in protected classes from threats of violence and hate violence.

If you suspect your civil rights have been violated, you may be able to pursue legal action. However, the specifics will vary according to your case, as different laws may apply to the situation and who is considered liable. A civil rights lawyer is the ideal person to help answer any questions you may have about your case so that you can make an informed decision and get the best outcome.

Haddad & Sherwin LLP has a long, successful track record winning wrongful death and other serious civil rights claims for police and jail officer misconduct, throughout Northern and Central California.  Call or email us for a free consultation.

This content about civil rights was written by a third party and does not represent the views or opinions of Haddad & Sherwin LLP, nor should it be construed as a complete and accurate statement of the law or as legal advice.  For better information about this topic, please contact Haddad & Sherwin LLP.