Civil rights lawyers are lawyers who specialize in civil law. They work with clients on cases that involve human rights violations such as sexual harassment, discrimination and others. Such lawyers have education and experience similar to any other lawyer however they are more inclined towards a better knowledge of civil law. Civil rights lawyers defend their clients in a civil suit with the prime aim of winning monetary damages from the person, business or authority that violated laws on civil rights.
The job of a civil rights lawyer includes the following:
- Preparing and presenting the cases to the judges.
- Finding rules and laws applicable to the case.
- Finding out the precedents, if available.
- Formulating briefs.
- Filing appeals in courts.
The fact that violation of civil rights is an issue that gains huge publicity the moment it comes to light makes the lawyer also come to media attention. It is therefore necessary that the civil rights lawyer is well equipped to handle such media glare and handle high profile cases.
Here are few situations where a civil rights lawyer plays an important role:
1. Racial Profiling
Racial profiling is a violation of civil rights granted to a person. This includes harassment of individuals at the hands of police due to his or her race. In such circumstances, an individual has the right to file a suit against the officer or the agency that discriminated on the basis of race. Law mandates that a person may be detained by police for a justifiable and legal reason that does not include color of the skin. In such cases, a civil rights lawyer may be hired to prove that racism has occurred. He will be responsible to prepare the case, research precedents and argue on behalf of his client in the court of law.
2. Sexual Harassment
All men and women have been granted protection from sexual harassment by law. A civil rights lawyer is trained to protect the client under the Civil Rights Act. The lawyer will assist his client in proving that sexual harassment has taken place by providing documents and filing a civil suit against the employer. He will also make the client aware about the limitations on filing a sexual harassment case and the possible outcome depending upon the strength of the case.
3. Equal Pay Act
Under the Equal Pay Act, both men and women are to be given equal pay at the workplace. Everyone also has the right to ask the employer about the other gender’s pay for the same job. If it is found that the other gender is being paid more for the same job without any reason related to more experience or better education, the employer can be dragged to court under The Equal Pay Act and a civil rights lawyer will be able to help in this regard. He will be responsible to argue the case to prove the point that that the person has been discriminated against on the basis of gender.
Besides these there are numerous other situations where a civil rights lawyer has a lot of role to play. In situations where human rights have been infringed upon, it is wise to resort to the services of a civil rights lawyer because he will certainly have better knowledge and experience on the subject compared to any other lawyer.