The legal significance of civil rights has a long and storied history in the United States, and the 50 states as well. Since the beginning of this country, in fact, civil rights questions and disputes dominated the legal scene. From old but persisting issues of racism and gender discrimination, to more recent issues relating to disabilities and sexual orientation, civil rights remain a touchstone of our nation and its legal system.
Most claims of discrimination and a violation of civil rights proceed from an analysis of the protected class or condition that exists in the individual’s case. Race, ethnicity, religion, gender and sexual orientation are very common examples of protected classifications that enjoy special legal protections in certain circumstances.
The next critical question is the nature and extent of the alleged, discriminatory action or omission. This analysis is not as simple as it sounds. The activity or omission that gives rise to the complaint or issue may not create a legal claim at all. On the other hand, mere discriminatory effect—without any intended activity—may create a solid claim for recovery under the law.
An experienced civil right attorney—especially one with a depth of special experience with the particular condition or class in question (such as cases involving racial or gender discrimination)—can effectively assist you in understanding your rights and remedies.
Your attorney should also help you understand if any special laws exist in your case that create unique claims for recovery or relief. For example, an experienced attorney who thoroughly understands the American with Disabilities Act, or the Civil Rights Act, can often provide a prompt analysis of your claim and its validity.
The civil rights area often requires in-depth knowledge of, and experience with, state and federal administrative and judicial forums. For example, your attorney may need to prosecute your claim in the United States federal court, when the state courts do not for any reason offer relief.