You may have heard the term “civil rights” used in a wide variety of contexts. On a basic level, a civil rights violation is one that involves an individual who has been deprived of his or her rights that are constitutionally guaranteed, such as free speech.Civil rights violations can happen to anyone, at any time. Generally, these violations are committed by a governmental employee in some form, but frequently law enforcement.
If you’ve spoken with anyone about a civil rights case, you may have heard the term “Section 1983.”
The name comes from the section of the US Code (42 U.S.C. §1983) that details the denial of civil rights to a citizen. These cases can be filed against anyone who works for the state and denies someone their Fourth Amendment rights against unlawful seizures, including police officers. That’s why Section 1983 is the one most commonly statutes used for malicious prosecutions, wrongful arrests, and other police misconduct actions.But Section 1983 is not just for law enforcement—it can be used to file a claim against anyone who has deprived another of their right to free speech, right to vote, unfairly terminated from employment based on race or sex, among others.
Most Common Violations
These involve “color of law” violations. That is, an individual employee who uses (or misuses) their authority that is given to them by a governmental agency, such as law enforcement. They include:
- Wrongful arrest, police brutality, and other law enforcement transgression
- Unlawful searches and seizures
- Workplace discrimination
- First Amendment (free speech) retaliation
- Institutional transgression
- Housing discrimination
- Public accommodations This can include places like retail establishments, public buildings, educational institutions, and government buildings
This is just a partial list of a wide range of civil rights violations you could experience.For some types of violations, you must file a formal complaint with an overseeing governmental agency before filing a lawsuit, such as the EEOC for an employment discrimination claim. You may also be required to file a complaint with a state agency. Working with a civil rights attorney can help you make the right decisions at the right time, as well as avoid mistakes that could cost you.
The Missouri Human Rights Act
In addition to Section 1983, this statewide law prohibits discrimination against residents for housing, employment and public accommodations based on:
- National Ancestry
- Age (employment only)
- Disability (housing only)
- Association with a person in one of these categories
In 2017, the state updated the Act to include the Missouri Whistleblower Protection Act to protect employees from unfair discharges based on whistleblower activity.
Civil Rights Violations in Kansas City? Call The Popham Law Firm
You have civil rights that are guaranteed to you by the US Constitution, and the law prohibits anyone from depriving you of them. As a citizen, you also have the right to fight for your civil rights, in a court of law, if necessary.if you’ve been the victim of police misconduct or other types of violations at the hands of any governmental agency, call one of our civil rights attorneys immediately. We will defend you and ensure that your rights are protected. Call The Popham Law Firm today at (816) 221-2288, or use our online contact form.