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5 Signs You Need a Civil Rights Lawyer

Citizens of the United States are guaranteed a wide range of civil rights that protect people from being treated unfairly in their public and private lives. When these civil rights are violated, you may need a civil rights lawyer to rectify the wrong you have suffered.

What Are Civil Rights?

Civil rights are the basic rights that guarantee the ability of people within the United States to live safely and with freedom. They include the following:

  • Freedoms of speech, religion, and assembly
  • Freedom from discrimination for protected classes (such as sex, race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, physical ability, and national origin)
  • The right to procedural due process
  • The right to petition the government

When these rights are violated, it constitutes a grave offense against the individual along with our broader society. The continuation of these violations can severely impact the individuals directly affected and undermine the tenets on which our society is built. Unfortunately, both businesses and governments can commit civil rights violations. If you have experienced any of the following, you may require a civil rights lawyer to seek justice and compensation.

Workplace Discrimination

Workplace discrimination represents a violation of a fundamental civil right, which is for protected classes to be free from discrimination. In many instances, businesses that discriminate in hiring, firing, promotion, or other treatment of their workers based on a protected class commit systemic violations across their organization. These can prevent a victim from advancing their career, create a hostile atmosphere toward them, and may even prevent them from being hired in the first place.

In many cases, such discrimination is hidden behind a layer of plausible deniability, and a person’s protected status is rarely invoked. However, a civil rights lawyer will be able to determine if the business engaged in discrimination by examining the incident itself, the circumstances surrounding it, and the company’s wider business practices.

Unreasonable Search and Seizure

In order for your person or vehicle to be searched by police or your belongings taken into custody, police must have probable cause to do so. This must be supported by more than mere suspicion. In many cases, unreasonable search and seizure happen due to racial profiling, which can unfairly target individuals based on their race. This may turn deadly for the individuals profiled, especially if police are looking for a dangerous suspect.

If you believe you have suffered an unreasonable search and seizure, speaking with a civil rights lawyer can help you determine the best path forward. You may be able to obtain compensation and can prevent yourself and others from experiencing the same thing again.

Cruel and Unusual Punishment

If you are detained by police, you are protected from suffering cruel and unusual punishment. This can occur at any stage of your detention or arrest and may include rough handling by police, inhumane conditions within jail or prison, and sentencing that goes above and beyond what is a typical sentence for the crime in question.

Signs of cruel and unusual punishment include physical injuries due to police brutality. Higher rates of illnesses, hospitalizations, and even deaths in a jail or prison can also indicate cruel and unusual punishment. Any potential victims should seek the assistance of a civil rights lawyer.

Abuse By a Public Official

Public officials are held to certain standards of behavior and assume special duties when assuming a position of political power. This includes anyone who is employed by the state, including teachers, police officers, as well as politicians. Sometimes the victims are the most vulnerable, especially children with special needs who are neglected in schools.

Civil rights violations must be taken seriously, no matter who commits them. If you believe you’ve been the victim of one from a public official, a civil rights lawyer can help you determine your next steps.

Bottom Line

Your civil rights are foundational, and their violation represents a grave offense against you and society. Knowing what they look like and speaking with a civil rights lawyer if you believe you are a victim of one can help you seek redress, obtain compensation, and repair some of the damages you have suffered.