The Difference Between Basic Rights and Civil Rights

Karpe Litigation Group

If you think your rights may have been violated, the first question to ask your lawyer is whether it is a protected civil right under the law.

civil rights and anti-discrimination laws

If you ever feel as if your rights are violated, you may wonder whether you should take legal action against the perpetrators. However, only a number of basic rights are considered civil rights, protected under civil rights legislation and anti-discrimination laws. So, the first question to ask your lawyer is whether or not a “protected civil right” has been violated.

Types of Civil Rights Violations 

Police Misconduct

Police are granted broad powers to uphold the law, but there are restrictions on how far they can go for this endeavor. The videotaped beating of Rodney King by Los Angeles police officers is a prime example of police going too far. The victims of this type of misconduct have legal recourse through federal and state laws. The purpose of these laws is to protect citizens from abuses by government, including the police.

Police officers are immune to lawsuits resulting from conducting their jobs properly. Mere negligence, or the failure to exercise due care, is not enough to demonstrate liability. There must be willful, unreasonable conduct in order for a victim to support the claim of a civil rights violation.

Discrimination in the Workplace

Workplace discrimination happens on many levels. Discrimination can occur during the hiring process and during employment. There is direct discrimination, also called disparate treatment, where someone treats or causes others to treat an individual unfairly, usually due to stereotypes. There is also indirect discrimination, also called disparate impact, when a policy or condition is imposed that disadvantages a protected group.

Abuse in Schools and Nursing Homes

Elder abuse in nursing homes has been on the rise. Organizations such as Medicare say they will be looking into the matter, but many lawmakers like Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, do not think the action is quite enough. “A crime is a crime wherever it takes place,” Mr. Grassley says in a statement. “It’s unacceptable for more than one-fourth of potential crimes in nursing homes to apparently go unreported.”

While schools are required by law to report allegations of abuse, data shows that these cases are heavily underreported. As part of an ongoing investigation into sexual misconduct in public schools, educators and public officials who are required by state law to report the potential abuse of children to police or other law enforcement, such as child welfare authorities, did not fulfill those obligations.

Illegal Search and Seizure

An illegal search and seizure is a violation of the Fourth Amendment. According to Cornell Law School, “An unreasonable search and seizure is a search and seizure by a law enforcement officer without a search warrant and without probable cause to believe that evidence of a crime is present.” In Mapp v. Ohio, 347 U.S. 643 (1961), the Supreme Court held that the exclusionary rule applies to evidence gained from an unreasonable search and seizure.

ADA Compliance

Standards for the Americans with Disabilities Act apply to commercial and public entities that have “places of public accommodation,” which includes Internet locations. The Department of Justice recently says in a statement, “The Department is currently developing regulations specifically addressing the accessibility of goods and services offered via the web (such as Netflix) by entities covered by the ADA. The fact that the regulatory process is not yet complete in no way indicates that web services are not already covered by title III.”

Hiring Discrimination

According to Upcouncel, “Hiring discrimination is the refusal to hire a job applicant because of his or her race, nationality, gender, family status, age, disability, religion or sexual orientation.” While sometimes misconduct during the hiring process is blatant, it can also occur with less obvious of a bias. As a result, certain questions cannot be asked in an interview, as they are protected by discrimination laws. These topics include:

  • Current or future children
  • Marital status
  • Race
  • Religion
  • Sexual preference
  • Age
  • Disabilities
  • Citizenship status
  • Drug or alcohol use

Misconduct of Government Officials

Most members of government and law enforcement are honest and reliable but there are certain exceptions to that standard. The Innocence Project is dedicated to shining a light on the individuals who make up that exception. According to the Innocence Project, common forms of misconduct by law enforcement officials include:

  • Employing suggestion when conducting identification procedures
  • Coercing false confessions
  • Lying or intentionally misleading jurors about their observations
  • Failing to turn over exculpatory evidence to prosecutors
  • Providing incentives to secure unreliable evidence from informants

Housing Discrimination

Under Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968 (Fair Housing Act), as amended, discrimination is prohibited in the sale, rental and financing of houses, and in other dwelling-related transactions, based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status (including children under the age of 18 living with parents of legal custodians, pregnant women and people securing custody of children under the age of 18) and handicap (disability).

what are my rights

Citizen Actions You Can Take To Protect Civil Rights

The protection of civil rights, also known in the justice system as “civil liberties,” along with the protection of political rights are widely viewed as a protection of human rights, enforced by the Supreme Court and by the entire justice system. Become an advocate for your community. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU organizes letter-writing parties, protests and other grassroots campaigns to get involved and act against violations of civil rights.

Personal Attention from Professional Attorneys

If you believe your civil rights have been violated, talk to the professional attorneys at Karpe Litigation Group today. We are experts in police misconduct and civil liberties law, winning the most challenging cases and helping those in need for 20 years and counting. There is no fee until we win for you. Committed to making things easy for you, we are happy to meet by appointment on evenings and weekends, and travel to you when needed. Give us a call today at 1-888-228-7800 or fill out our contact form to schedule your free initial consultation.

Recommended Posts