Civil Rights & Discrimination
The Constitution of the United States and various federal and state laws establish our society’s most basic rights. When these civil rights are violated by another citizen, an employer, or a governmental official, Williams Cedar is on the side of the victim, insuring their protection, and fighting for fair compensation for the violation of rights guaranteed to all of us.
Types of Cases
Claims may be brought in the event of:
- Excessive use of police force
- False arrest
- Malicious prosecution
- Police misconduct and brutality
- Racial profiling
- Title IX Claims
- Unwarranted search and seizure
- Violation of First Amendment (free speech) rights
- Wrongful conviction
- Wrongful termination of public sector employment
Williams Cedar’s civil rights litigation team has successfully fought for the rights of individuals and groups in a wide range of civil rights matters, from corporate whistleblowers to students and children who’ve been victimized and abused.
An important federal statute, the Civil Rights Act of 1871, 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1983, provides for the recovery of damages-as well as attorney fees and expenses-by individuals who have been deprived of a Constitutional right “under color of state law.” This applies to a broad array of civil rights violations, including the use of excessive force by police officers, false arrests, criminal convictions secured by the suppression or falsification of evidence by law enforcement officials, and the deprivation of necessary medical care to prisoners with serious medical conditions. Sec. 1983 may also protect public employees from retaliation for engaging in legally protected speech or activity.
“Not a lot of firms do civil rights work because it’s very difficult. Particularly when you have clients from the prison population, for instance – there are a number of factors that make them harder to represent, including the fact that they are often not sympathetic plaintiffs. But that’s especially why they need a voice, to be treated with respect, and to have the protection of the Constitution.”
– Beth Cole
We also represent employees who are victims of discrimination. Under federal and state law, it is illegal for an employer to discriminate based upon race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age or disability. In addition to these protected immutable characteristics, anti-discrimination laws forbid sexual harassment, and require female employees doing the same job as male counterparts receive equal pay. This includes all areas of employment including wages, compensation, hiring and firing, assignment, or classification of employees; transfer, promotion, layoff, or recall; job advertisements; recruitment; testing; use of company facilities; training and apprenticeship programs; fringe benefits; pay, retirement plans, and disability leave; or other terms and conditions of employment.
Anti-discrimination laws cover most private employers, state and local governments, and educational institutions including employment agencies, labor organizations, and joint labor management committees controlling apprenticeship and training.
Victims of employment discrimination may be entitled to back pay, reinstatement, or other compensatory actions, and may also include attorney’s fees, expert witness fees, and court costs.
“People who have been the victims of governmental misconduct can feel overwhelmed – like the system is so much bigger than they are, and they don’t stand a chance of anyone taking their word over the government’s. When they come to us, they get that sense of hope back – because someone believes in them, and they just might get vindicated in a court of law.”
– Christopher Markos