Civil Rights

Civil Rights & Discrimination Lawyers in Pennsylvania

The Constitution of the United States guarantees certain rights and protections to every citizen. State and federal laws allow for recovery of damages when these rights are violated. View our Civil Rights Video and News & Successes pages and the Civil Rights Blog.

civil-rights-lock-upTYPES OF CASES

Claims may be brought in the event of:

  • excessive use of police force (police brutality)
  • false arrest
  • malicious prosecution
  • Title IX Claims
  • wrongful conviction
  • wrongful termination of public sector employment
  • violation of First Amendment (free speech) rights

Williams Cuker Berezofsky’s civil rights litigation team has successfully fought for the rights of individuals and groups in a wide range of civil rights matters, from corporate whistleblowers to students and children who’ve been victimized and abused.

An important federal statute, the Civil Rights Act of 1871, 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1983, provides for the recovery of damages-as well as attorney fees and expenses-by individuals who have been deprived of a Constitutional right “under color of state law.”  This applies to a broad array of civil rights violations, including the use of excessive force by police officers, false arrests, criminal convictions secured by the suppression or falsification of evidence by law enforcement officials, and the deprivation of necessary medical care to prisoners with serious medical conditions.  Sec. 1982 may also protect public employees from retaliation for engaging in legally protected speech or activity.

“Not a lot of firms do civil rights work because it’s very difficult. Particularly when you have clients from the prison population, for instance – there are a number of factors that make them harder to represent, including the fact that they are often not sympathetic plaintiffs. But that’s especially why they need a voice, to be treated with respect, and to have the protection of the Constitution.”
– Beth Cole

We also represent employees who are victims of discrimination. Under federal and state law, it is illegal for an employer to discriminate based upon race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age or disability. In addition to these protected immutable characteristics, anti-discrimination laws forbid sexual harassment, and require female employees doing the same job as male counterparts receive equal pay.   This includes all areas of employment including wages, compensation, hiring and firing, assignment, or classification of employees; transfer, promotion, layoff, or recall; job advertisements; recruitment; testing; use of company facilities; training and apprenticeship programs; fringe benefits; pay, retirement plans, and disability leave; or other terms and conditions of employment.

Anti-discrimination laws cover most private employers, state and local governments, and educational institutions including employment agencies, labor organizations, and joint labor management committees controlling apprenticeship and training.

Victims of employment discrimination may be entitled to back pay, reinstatement, or other compensatory actions, and may also include attorney’s fees, expert witness fees, and court costs.

For more information call our experienced Pennsylvania civil rights and disrimination lawyers at 215-557-0099 or 856-667-0500, or contact us online to request a free consultation.

“People who have been the victims of governmental misconduct can feel overwhelmed – like the system is so much bigger than they are, and they don’t stand a chance of anyone taking their word over the government’s. When they come to us, they get that sense of hope back – because someone believes in them, and they just might get vindicated in a court of law.”

– Christopher Markos