An individual’s civil rights are outlined in federal and state laws, as well as the Unites States Constitution or your state’s constitution. These rights are substantial and guarantee individuals protection from unfair treatment or discrimination in areas such as employment, housing, education, public accommodations, and more.
Characteristics protected from discrimination include race, religion, national origin, sex, gender, sexual orientation, age, and disability – among others.
There are many federal laws that have been passed to protect civil rights such as:
Some cities and municipalities also have their own laws and ordinances to protect civil rights.
It is important to distinguish between lawful and unlawful discrimination. Discrimination is only unlawful if a protected right was violated. For instance, if you apply to rent an apartment and are rejected because you own dogs, the landlord has not violated your civil rights by discriminating against you, based on the fact that you are a pet owner.
However, if your application to rent an apartment is rejected based on the color of your skin or your race, then the landlord has committed a civil rights violation. Federal law prohibits discrimination against housing applicants based on their color or race.
In addition to protection from discrimination, your civil rights extend to protection from the following:
If your civil rights have been violated, you may be entitled to compensation.
Some antidiscrimination laws require a claimant to file a complaint with the appropriate state or federal agency before going into court. Examples of government agencies that administer civil rights laws are the Department of Health and Human Services, Office for Civil Rights; the Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights; and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Working with an experienced civil rights lawyer can ensure that your complaint is heard by the proper authority.
Consult with a qualified civil rights lawyer to determine whether a protected right was violated, which laws apply to the circumstances of your case, and where you should file your complaint.
If you or someone you know has had their civil rights threatened or abused, contact the dedicated Philadelphia civil rights lawyers at Williams Cedar. Our experienced team will fight to obtain justice and compensation on your behalf. Call today at 215-557-0099 or at 856-470-9777 or contact us online. We provide free consultations at our offices located in Philadelphia and Haddonfield, New Jersey, where we represent clients in Southeastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and nationwide.