New York City civil rights attorneys at Leeds Brown see a growing number of cases each year in this complex area of law. Our dedicated civil rights lawyers are seasoned litigators who have a track record of successful verdicts in discrimination, harassment, and other civil rights cases. Our experience includes cases involving fair housing, lending, education, and police accountability. We also represent clients nationwide who have suffered discrimination and harassment based on race, religion, gender, national origin, and disability.
“Civil rights” is the term given to the fundamental protections and liberties that are deeply important to all Americans. These liberties include the right to be treated equally and the right to live free from overly intrusive acts by the government.
People expect and are legally entitled to be treated the same without respect to their race, religion or other similar attributes. The government is not permitted to deprive anyone of their life or property without due process. Acts that discriminate against an individual or deprive an individual of due process, violate that individual’s civil rights. When discrimination or any other civil rights violation takes place, the victim may choose to file charges or a lawsuit against the entity responsible for their mistreatment.
Civil rights law begins with the United States Constitution. The first ten amendments are called the Bill of Rights and set forth many activities prohibited by the government and protections of individual civil rights. For example, the first amendment states that no law shall be enacted that prohibits free speech or freedom of the press. The fourth amendment protects people from unreasonable search and seizure by the police. The sixth amendment states that accused criminals have the right to a speedy public trial and defense counsel.
There is plenty of other legislation protecting your civil rights. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 is a federal law that prohibits discrimination. The Voting Rights Act of 1965, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the Civil Rights Act of 1991. All states, including New York, have their own civil rights legislation to enhance existing federal protections.
Housing discrimination – The Fair Housing Act makes it illegal to discriminate against an individual in any housing related transaction on the basis of their race, religion, disability, color, gender, familial status or disability. For example, a landlord may not refuse to rent you an apartment because you have children under the age of 18. The Fair Housing Act also makes certain activities hate crimes. An example of a housing-related hate crime would be the act of someone vandalizing your property with racial slurs or making threats to the realtor who is trying to sell you a home.
Lending discrimination – The Equal Credit Opportunity Act and the Fair Housing Act both make discriminatory credit practices illegal. The Equal Credit Opportunity Act prohibits discrimination in any aspect of a credit transaction including residential and commercial real estate lending. The Fair Housing Act also makes it unlawful to discriminate in all real estate lending practices including granting mortgages, conducting appraisals, and approving or denying home improvement loans. For example, a bank cannot refuse to grant you a mortgage based on your religion. A bank cannot refuse to extend credit to your business because you are of a particular race.
Employment discrimination – Title VII of the Civil Rights act prohibits an employer from making an employment related decision based on any of the many protected categories. Title VII violations are investigated by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. An employer covered by Title VII may not consider race, religion or gender, for example, when deciding who to hire, fire or promote. If you asked questions about your race or religious practices in a job interview or are frequently passed over for a promotion despite your qualifications, you may be experiencing employment discrimination.
Education discrimination – The Civil Rights Act, the Equal Educational Opportunities Act, Title IX, and the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act all prohibit discrimination against students enrolled in public schools. For example, students may not be segregated into classes on the basis of race or gender and schools are required to provide free and appropriate education to students with disabilities.
Discrimination in places of public accommodation – The Civil Rights Act also prohibits discrimination because of race, color, religion, or national origin in certain places of public accommodation. This includes places such as hotels, restaurants, movie theaters, and other places of entertainment. For example, a hotel may not refuse to take a reservation from someone based on their race or gender.
Police accountability – The constitution protects certain fundamental rights of Americans that we have come to hold dear. While the police are charged with protecting many of our rights, they are often the one’s responsible for violating them. When the police use excessive force against a citizen or fail to read someone his Miranda rights during an arrest, they are committing a civil rights violation. When you are subject to an unreasonable search and seizure, your civil rights are being violated. If you are held in jail on excessive bail, your civil rights are being violated.
If you have experienced discrimination of any kind, your civil rights may have been violated. It is important to know that you have rights and they are worth protecting. We can help.
Have you been the victim of police brutality? Have your lost your job because your boss is sexist? Have you been denied a loan or lost a bid on your dream home because of your religious beliefs? If any of these things sound familiar, contact the New York City civil rights attorneys at Leeds Brown. You may be able to obtain monetary damages.
Our experienced attorneys can compassionately guide you through a civil rights claim. We understand all of the complex laws and procedural regulations that govern these types of cases and will zealously advocate on your behalf to get the compensation you deserve. Leeds Brown is the New York City civil rights law firm you want in your corner. We have proven time and time again that if you face unlawful discrimination, someone should be held responsible.
Contact our office at 1-800-585-4658 any time to speak with one of our New York City civil rights lawyers. We will gladly answer your questions and provide a free case evaluation.
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