A civil rights attorney focuses on cases involving issues such as equality, human rights, social freedom, and discrimination. Their job tasks may include conducting research on cases, drafting legal documents, arguing cases in court, and negotiating settlements. If you have a civil rights legal issue, contact us to protect your rights and to explore your legal options. Attorney Ramon A. Moore has the experience and skill to help you with your civil rights legal issue. Call us immediately at 312.332.5134.
Civil Rights Legal Issues
Civil rights encompass the basic human rights that all Americans are guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. Federal and state constitutional law, statutes, administrative regulations, and judicial interpretation have defined and expanded these civil rights over time.
Many civil rights, such as the right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure, are granted explicitly by the U.S. Constitution. Other civil rights have been created by statutes enacted by Congress or state legislatures, such as the right to be free from discrimination based on race, or the right to receive equal pay for equal work. Federal statutes in the area of civil rights law include the Civil Rights Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, and the Equal Pay Act, among others. Other federal laws, supplemented by court decisions, prohibit discrimination in voting rights, housing, public education, and access to public facilities.
The U.S. Supreme Court, along with its state counterparts, has played a critical role in helping to define civil rights law. The High Court has repeatedly ruled that civil rights imply a right to privacy, even though the U.S. Constitution does not explicitly grant this right.
The many sources of civil rights and the fact that courts often modify or clarify these rights make civil rights law one of the most complex areas of practice, and many civil rights lawyers spend years gaining experience to become effective advocates for your rights.
Related Practice Areas:
- Constitutional Law
- Criminal Law
- Sexual Harassment
- Employment Law — Employee
- Employment Law — Employer
Civil Rights Law
Civil rights law is the practice area of attorneys who advise individuals, businesses, and governmental entities about legal matters touching upon civil rights. Civil rights laws are varied, complex, and constantly evolving. Civil rights laws cover the diverse assortment of rights and freedoms recognized and guaranteed every United States citizen and resident by federal, state, and local laws and constitutions. For instance, citizens and residents have freedoms associated with their speech, assembly, association, and the right to practice a religion of their choice; to their life, liberty, and personal privacy; and to equal access to a public education, to the courts, to public facilities, services, and housing; equal and fair treatment by law enforcement and the courts; as well as the right to vote. The various civil rights include not only freedoms, but also the right to be free from discrimination in the availability and exercise of those freedoms.
“Discrimination” results when an individual’s, group’s, or a business or governmental entity’s preference or prejudice fosters conduct or a practice that obstructs or hinders another’s equal access or exercise of guaranteed civil rights or freedoms. Obviously, not every infringement of another’s civil rights or freedom amounts to illegal discrimination. The civil rights laws make it illegal to discriminate on the basis of one’s membership in a protected class. One may not discriminate or adversely impact another on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, age, disability, or national origin. As a rule of thumb, discrimination against a protected class of citizens that interferes with the exercise of voting rights, the right to assemble, freedom of speech, religion, or association or with equal opportunities to education or housing brings civil rights laws into play.
Despite the best efforts of individuals, businesses, and governmental entities to comply with the civil rights laws, lawsuits or administrative charges occur. Such charges and lawsuits can have significant consequences.
Civil Rights Law Glossary
Affirmative Action: an active effort (as through legislation) to improve the employment or educational opportunities of members of minority groups or women
AG: Short for “Attorney General,” usually referring to the U.S. Attorney General. The AG often becomes involved in civil rights and discrimination claims.
Age Discrimination In Employment Act: Federal legislation prohibiting unfair and discriminatory treatment in employment on the basis of age. The Act generally covers individuals at least 40 years of age. (29 U.S.C. Sec. 621).
Civil Right/ Civil Liberty: Any of the civil liberties guaranteed by the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments to the Constitution and by the Civil Rights Acts.
Civil Rights: Civil rights are the rights of individuals to be free from unfair or unequal treatment (discrimination) in a number of settings, when that negative treatment is based on the individual’s race, gender, or religious beliefs.
Civil Rights Act: Federal statutes enacted after the Civil War, intended to implement and give further force to basic personal rights guaranteed by the Constitution. Such Acts prohibit discrimination based on race, gender, or religious beliefs.
Civil Rights Act Of 1964: A landmark civil rights and US labor law in the United States that outlaws discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.It prohibits unequal application of voter registration requirements, racial segregation in schools, employment, and public accommodations.
Civil Rights Movement: Historically, the term “Civil Rights Movement” has referred to efforts toward achieving true equality for African-Americans in all facets of society, but today the term “civil rights movement”.
Criminal Civil Rights Violation: A criminal civil rights violation requires that the offender use force or the threat of force against the victim. An assault that is committed because of the victim’s race or sexual orientation.
Discrimination: Unfair treatment or denial of normal privileges to persons because of their race, age, sex, nationality or religion.
Disparate Treatment: treatment of an individual (as an employee or prospective juror) that is less favorable than treatment of others for discriminatory reasons (as race, religion, national origin, sex, or disability).
Equal Pay Act: Federal law which mandates the same pay for all persons who do the same work without regard to sex, age, etc. For work to be equal within meaning of Act, it is not necessary that jobs be identical.
Equal Protection Clause: The clause in the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that prohibits any state from denying to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
Hate Crimes: A crime that violates the victim’s civil rights and that is motivated by hostility to the victim’s race, religion, creed, national origin, sexual orientation, or gender.
Immunity: Exempt from public service, exempt, exemption from a duty or liability that is granted by law to a person.
Protected Class: A group of people intended by a legislature to benefit from the protection of a statute ;also : suspect class.
Same-Sex Marriage: The right of two people of the same sex to legally marry, and to enjoy the legal benefits conferred by marriage. Same-sex marriage has become a topical issue in the arena of civil rights.
Segregation: Separation of individuals or groups and especially racial groups compare desegregation de facto segregation; segregation of racial groups that arises as a result of economic, social, or other.
Title Vii: Part of the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964 that prohibits discrimination in employment on the basis of age, color, national origin, race, religion, or sex.