What are civil rights? Civil rights are enforceable rights that entitle people to equality under the law. When civil rights are violated, the individual who has been harmed can file a lawsuit. Civil rights extend to many different areas of individual rights, including freedom of speech and assembly, freedom from discrimination at work and in public places, and the rights, in general, to be treated equally under the law regardless of race, sex, religion, and other characteristics.
The U.S. has a lengthy history of civil rights violations and the enactment of civil rights laws. Most notably, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 provided many federal protections to individuals, including the right to be free from discrimination and sexual harassment in the workplace, in housing, and in education.
Racial discrimination and racial profiling can result in severe civil rights violations against people who have allegedly violated criminal laws. For instance, racism and racial profiling can result in an illegal search and seizure or a false arrest. Worse yet, police brutality can lead to physical injuries resulting from excessive force. In some cases, the inappropriate use of deadly force can result in the death of an individual.
These are serious civil rights violations. At the Law Office of Mitchell A. Kline, we are committed to serving individuals and their families who have been victims of police misconduct and police brutality in Chicago.
Certain civil rights violations can result in physical harm. Other civil rights violations can result in psychological, emotional, intellectual, and financial injuries. The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees that the government will not infringe upon your right to speech, association, or religion. In general, these protections extend to the workplace for public employees, and in some circumstances private employees may also be able to allege that their speech is being stifled based on unlawful discrimination. To be clear, if you work for a government entity or another public employer (such as a school, or as a Chicago Transit Authority employee), your First Amendment rights extend to the workplace and your employer cannot infringe upon those rights.
If you work for a private employer, although that employer can make workplace rules that infringe upon First Amendment rights in certain cases, the employer cannot discriminate against you based on protected characteristics, such as race, sex, or religion. We often see civil rights violations at work when the employer discriminates against some employee speech but not other employee speech. For example, the following situations may be impermissible civil rights violations:
Despite the fact that we have laws in place to protect individuals, civil rights violations continue to occur in Chicago. If your rights have been violated, you should contact a Chicago civil rights attorney near you as soon as possible. Contact the Law Office of Mitchell A. Kline today.