Civil Rights

Generations of Americans have fought for civil rights laws at the state and federal level to protect people from discriminatory treatment in the workplace and elsewhere. Unfortunately, innocent people still face discrimination every day, from employment and housing discrimination to police brutality, all on the basis of their race, sex, religion, or another characteristic. Some victims of civil rights violations may be hesitant to fight their abusers for fear of even worse retaliation, but there are laws in place to help hold wrongdoers accountable.

At Harman Law, we are committed to fighting for the civil rights of all North Carolinians. While we are known for our work with employment law, we are happy to provide our services to clients who have had their civil rights violated anywhere, including outside the workplace. Our civil rights lawyers can help residents of the Greater Charlotte and Lake Norman areas whose rights have been violated.

Civil rights in the Workplace: Who’s Protected?

From the Civil Rights Movement to the present day, the federal government has enacted many laws to protect various classes of people from discrimination in the workplace, including the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Equal Employment Opportunity Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. All in all, federal law protects people from workplace discrimination by the following protected characteristics:

  • Race or color
  • Sex
  • Pregnancy
  • National origin
  • Religion
  • Age
  • Disability
  • Genetic information

North Carolina goes beyond federal law to protect people with a few more different characteristics. Under state law, no one can be discriminated against in the workplace on the basis of:

  • Sickle cell trait
  • Hemoglobin C trait
  • Requesting and participating in genetic testing
  • AIDS or HIV status
  • Jury service
  • Military service and veteran status

In North Carolina, unlike in some states, no legal protections currently exist against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. Some municipalities, such as Charlotte, previously had such protections on the books, but a bill passed by the state legislature in 2017 has put these city ordinances on hold until 2020.

What protections exist in the workplace?

Federal and state laws, with some exceptions, generally protect people from a broad array of discriminatory actions by a current or prospective employer on the basis of the characteristics listed above, including:

  • Refusal to hire
  • Firing
  • Demotion
  • Cutting hours
  • Cutting pay
  • Cutting benefits
  • Sexual harassment
  • Creating a hostile work environment
  • Unequal pay compared to others who do the same work
  • Retaliation for filing a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)

If you have been subject to any of these or other types of unfair treatment on the basis of your race, sex, disability, or other protected characteristic, your employer may have violated your civil rights. An experienced North Carolina civil rights lawyer from Harman Law can help you to determine whether you have a case against your employer and if so to bring a claim against them. You could be entitled to significant compensation, including both monetary damages and reinstatement, promotion, or other actions at your job.

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Civil rights is a broad category of different legal protections, but any violation of these rights is an injustice and a disservice to our community. No one should have to face discrimination on the basis of their race, color, sex, disability, or other characteristics. Unfortunately, many people deal with discriminatory treatment on a daily basis, but when that treatment violates state or federal law, there is a chance to fight back.

If you have faced illegal discrimination in North Carolina, Harman Law is ready to fight for you. Our civil rights lawyers have an in-depth knowledge of state and federal law, and we will help increase your chances of holding the party who violated your civil rights accountable. For more information on how we can help, call us now at (704) 885-5550.

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