Throughout your life, you may encounter many types of civil rights violations and discrimination. Discrimination is based on outdated or irrational beliefs that hold no basis in truth. Unfortunately, discriminatory events are common — more so than some people may be comfortable admitting. By recognizing discrimination and what is a violation of civil rights, we can take positive steps toward a more just society and protect those most at risk of injustice.
What Role Do Civil Rights Play in Implementing Civil Rights Laws?
Understanding the difference between civil liberties, civil rights, and human rights violations can be confusing. So, what is a violation of civil rights?
A civil right is a right or privilege that is enforceable. If another party interferes with your civil rights, you can take your civil rights violations case to court. Civil rights are legal provisions that have their basis in the idea of equality.
Civil rights are not enshrined in the U.S. Constitution's Bill of Rights. Civil liberties are. A civil liberty is a freedom shielded from state infringement. The Bill of Rights lists several civil liberties, such as:
- The right to free speech, First Amendment
- Freedom of religion, First Amendment
- The right to assemble, First Amendment
The law may take civil liberties away. However, before it can revoke your liberties, you must receive your due process rights, according to the Fourteenth Amendment.
The main difference between civil liberties and civil rights is that civil liberties are constitutional rights that protect you from government action, while civil rights stem from legislation and are positive rights the government should protect to ensure equality.
Some civil rights are also considered civil liberties, such as the freedom of religion. The First Amendment and various legislative actions, such as the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 and the Civil Rights Act of 1964, protect your freedom of religion.
The main difference between a civil right and a human right is that civil rights stem from your country's legal granting of that right. In contrast, human rights arise from your innate humanity, and no one has the right to take your human rights away.
Violations of civil rights can lead to legal action. If you believe your civil rights have been violated, a civil rights attorney can help. Your lawyer can help you lodge a civil rights complaint with the federal government via the Civil Rights Division.
Most Common Civil Rights Violations
There are many types of civil rights violations. However, the most common types of discrimination revolve around race, gender identity, national origin, disability status, and religion.
Other types of discrimination include employment discrimination, age discrimination, and discrimination based on pregnancy or parental status, which may all be committed by employment agencies or employers.
In some cases, discrimination can, unfortunately, be legal — for example, if a person discriminates against a class of persons that is not legally protected, such as people with green eyes.
You may encounter discrimination in many parts of daily life, including:
- During traffic stops
- In the education system
- In the corporate workplace
- In employment interviews
If you believe you have been a victim of discrimination, you should speak with an experienced lawyer. An attorney who is well-versed in civil rights and understands the different types of civil rights violations and their environments may be best suited to help you.
1. Discrimination Against People Based on Race
Everyone deserves to live their life with freedom from discrimination. Unfortunately, like many other types of discrimination, racial discrimination occurs far too often.
Racial discrimination occurs when someone mistreats a person because they are associated with or have characteristics associated with a specific race. These characteristics may include skin color, facial features, or hair texture.
Someone who is the same color as the victim can still commit an act of racial discrimination. For example, an employer discriminates if they refuse to hire the best candidate due to skin tone, even if the employer has the same skin tone as the candidate.
2. Discrimination in Employment Based on Gender Identity
Gender discrimination also occurs in employment environments. In 2020, the Supreme Court issued a landmark ruling, holding that the Civil Rights Act of 1964's prohibition against sex discrimination includes an individual's transgender status or sexual orientation.
Employers are not allowed to introduce gender discrimination into the workplace. As of 2020, discriminating against a person's sexual orientation or transgender status is also prohibited.
3. Discrimination in Education Based on National Origin
National origin was one of the civil rights issues government officials enshrined in the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Discrimination against national origin applies to schools and higher education that receive financial assistance and funding from federal agencies such as the Department of Education.
The caveat is that if the school does not receive federal funding, these protections will not apply to them.
4. Discrimination Against People With Disabilities
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protects people with disabilities from discrimination in the workplace. It guarantees equal opportunities for people with disabilities in the following areas:
- State and local government services
- Public accommodation
ADA Title I: Employment pertains to employer discrimination in work-related activities, such as pay, hiring, firing, promotions, and benefits.
ADA Title II: Public Services pertains to discrimination in state and local government activities, programs, and services.
5. Intentional Discrimination on the Basis of Religion
Section 12 of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) protects people from discrimination based on their religion. It applies to the following:
- EEOC staff
Patterns of discrimination may include the following:
- Treating applicants differently
- Taking adverse action based on the knowledge or suspicion of someone's religious beliefs
- Intentionally classifying, segregating, or limiting employees based on religion
- Harassing employees based on their religious beliefs
Have Your Rights Been Violated? Talk With Us Today!
You are not alone if you have encountered these types of civil rights violations. We must fight against corporations and institutions that continue to perpetuate the outdated beliefs their discrimination is based on. Many organizations may be violating the law with their discriminatory actions.
Taking action against discrimination can feel like an uphill battle. Fortunately, you do not have to take on this battle alone. An experienced and savvy civil rights lawyer can help you with your claim. The legal team at McEldrew Purtell is ready to help you in the fight for justice and equality. Contact us today to discuss your case.