Civil Rights Attorney New York City
Fighting For Civil Rights For Three Generations!
The New York civil rights attorneys of the Jacob Fuchsberg Law Firm are known for our absolute commitment to our clients’ rights. We offer an absolutely free, confidential consultation to discuss your case and your rights under federal and New York law. If we represent you in a civil lawsuit, there are no legal fees unless you are awarded compensation for your damages and losses.
If governmental officials or employers have wrongly injured you, taken or damaged your property, or discriminated against you-you are not alone. Contact our firm today to discuss your legal options and the next steps.
New York Civil Rights Lawyer: How We Help
We help people injured through police misconduct, false arrest, such as a young man, who was chased by the police for unknown reasons, who suffered a skull fracture when he fell as a direct result of the improper pursuit.
We also have worked on various civil rights cases involving inappropriate conduct by city officials. In one case, the City’s unnecessary emergency condemnation and demolition of an apartment building without a proper investigation or hearing resulted in more than a dozen families losing their rent-stabilized apartments, belongings, and even pets.
In addition, our firm’s expertise includes employment matters, including discrimination and unpaid wages. We have worked with individuals and groups in these cases. If you have been denied a job or a promotion based on your race, gender, sexual orientation or religion, or have been subjected to sexual harassment or a hostile work environment, the Jacob Fuchsberg Law Firm can help you. We also specialize in foster care abuse, helping children trapped in the horror of a foster care abuse situation.
Understanding Your Civil Rights – What Are Your Civil Rights?
Everyone living in New York has the right to be free from discrimination in housing, employment, education, public accommodations, and the way the law is applied to them. Although some might try to get you to see things differently, freedom from discrimination in every sector is your birthright as an American. This is true whether you were born in this country or not. Additionally, characteristics such as age, race, gender, and disability are protected under various federal and New York state laws.
Where Do Civil Rights Come From?
Unfortunately, civil rights have not always been easy to come by. It seems every generation has had to fight for the right to equal treatment under the law by staging protests and pressuring lawmakers to pay attention to the problem. Their struggle has led to the passage of several laws that guarantee the freedoms we have today.
The Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and the Age Discrimination Act of 1975 are just some examples of the above. Although these and other civil rights laws have existed for decades, that doesn’t mean that people still don’t receive unfair treatment and occasionally require the assistance of a New York civil rights lawyer.
What is Discrimination?
Although the term “discrimination” has a negative connotation, it is not always a bad thing when used correctly. For example, you discriminate each day when you evaluate two or more different options when making a decision. That means you weigh them both carefully and decide that one is better than the other. However, discrimination has no place in the context of civil law.
That is because it describes the unlawful treatment of a person or group of people based on characteristics of which they often have no control. These include:
- Sexual orientation
- National origin
- Marital status
Business owners such as landlords do have the legal right to set some restrictions on whom they will serve as long as it does not violate any federal laws or protected classes. For example, landlords can refuse to rent to someone who owns a dog if they have decided not to accept pets at their rental property. The same landlord, however, could be in legal trouble for refusing to rent to a gay couple. The couple in question would have the right to consult a New York civil rights law firm if they were denied rental only because of their sexual orientation.
What Are Civil Liberties?
Civil liberties and civil rights laws are basic freedoms and rights guaranteed to every individual under federal and New York law. They may be outlined in constitutions or assumed after years of interpretation by lawmakers and the courts.
While civil rights protect people from discrimination based on one or more identifying factors, civil liberties are a type of limited freedom that protects people from intrusion by the government. The rights of people to assemble peacefully or give their opinion without fear of government retaliation are two common examples. Some states allow their citizens greater civil liberties than others. You have the legal right to work with a New York civil rights lawyer if you feel that the state has violated your basic human rights in some way.
Employment Discrimination & Retaliation Civil Rights Lawyers
Discrimination in the workplace can take many forms, including harassment, failure to promote the most qualified candidate, and physical assault. Retaliation is any action taken by an employer in response to an employee filing a complaint or obtaining a New York civil rights attorney to investigate whether a civil rights violation took place. At Jacob Fuchsberg Law Firm, we know New York civil rights law. If you feel unsafe at work or feel your employer is actively retaliating against you, please don’t hesitate to contact us for an immediate consultation.
Dealing with discrimination or retaliation at work not only affects your finances but your emotional health as well. It can also damage your reputation within your industry, making it difficult for you to land another job even when you possess the necessary qualifications. We fight for the rights of mistreated employees in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut.
Although age discrimination at work is illegal, it isn’t always obvious potential civil rights violations took place. Your supervisor may make statements such as, “You haven’t retired yet?” and then claim it was just a joke or that you’re too sensitive if you complain. Working in an environment where you hear constant reference to your age can be humiliating and affect your job performance. You might also be the victim of overt age discrimination.
Here are some common examples:
- When a layoff is necessary, letting older employees with higher salaries go first.
- Forcing older workers into retirement by threatening to fire them if they don’t retire.
- Refusal to hire anyone born before a certain date or who even looks like he or she is older than a certain age.
- Not investing time and resources into training older workers by making statements that they will just be retiring soon anyway.
- Holding older workers to higher standards than younger workers in performance reviews and then firing, demoting, or refusing to promote based on those reviews.
- Choosing a younger person for a promotion when the older worker was equally qualified.
In 1967, the federal government passed the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) that made it illegal for employers to discriminate against workers over age 40. This only applies to companies with 20 or more employees. In 1990, it expanded on ADEA with OWBPA, which stands for the Older Workers Benefit Protection Act. This prohibits employers from reducing or eliminating benefits for older employees. The only exception is when the cost of providing the same benefit to all employees changes and the employer must pass it along to workers representing all age groups.
Laws in New York City and in the state require employers to treat male and female employees equally. Specifically, employers must treat employees of both genders fairly when it comes to the following:
- Working conditions
Employers cannot use outdated gender stereotypes such as assuming women will quit as soon as they get pregnant as a basis for denying someone a job. Even alluding to statements such as women being more emotional or it being unladylike for a woman to be so direct are not allowed. Here are some specific instances where gender discrimination might be at play:
- Not hiring or promoting someone due to family responsibilities.
- Not hiring a woman because she is pregnant or intends to become pregnant in the future. It is illegal for employers to ask about family planning during a job interview.
- Paying a male employee a higher salary than a female employee for performing the same job.
- Providing benefits to the wives of employees without offering that same benefit to the husbands of employees.
If you have complained about your treatment at work and don’t feel like anyone is doing anything to help you, it may be time to consider legal action based on civil rights violations.
Pay Discrimination – Equal Pay
The Equal Pay Act of 1963 (EPA), passed by the United States Equal Opportunity Commission, states that men and women must receive the same pay for substantially similar work. Pay refers not only to wages but to benefits, overtime pay, stock options, and bonuses. This act was an amendment to the Fair Labor Standards Act passed in 1938.
Sometimes legitimate reasons exist why an employee of one gender may receive higher pay than an employee of the opposite gender. Common examples include:
• One employee has seniority over the other.
• The company already has a merit-based pay program and can prove that it operates the program in a uniform and systematic way.
• The company uses a system that bases pay on the quality and/or quantity of work produced by each employee.
• Another legitimate reason exists for the pay differential that does not include sex discrimination.
Because each case is unique, the best thing to do if you feel you have been a victim of pay discrimination at work is to contact a New York civil rights attorney to help prove your claim.
Sexual Orientation Discrimination
Laws in New York City are among the strongest in the nation when it comes to protection for people who identify as transgender or gender non-conforming. That means they may feel and think as one gender but have the anatomy of another. The New York City Human Rights Law prohibits discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation, which is an attraction to people of the same sex. People in the latter category would be either gay or lesbian.
Employers and co-workers may not harass a worker who identifies as transgender, gender non-conforming, gay, or lesbian by refusing to promote, disciplining unfairly, telling unwanted jokes, making unwanted physical advances, or otherwise creating a hostile work environment. Even subtler forms of discrimination, such as referring to an employee by the wrong pronoun, are not allowed. No one should have to work in such an environment and contacting a civil rights law firm is the right action to take.
Although it has been more than 50 years since the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964, America still has a long way to go when it comes to treating people of different races fairly on the job. This is even true of New York City where you would think people would take a more tolerant view of diversity. Unfortunately, no race or mixed race is exempt from the stereotypes and jokes that persist to this day. Even so-called positive comments, such as “Mexicans are hard workers” bases someone’s ability on their cultural heritage instead of their individual contributions.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits disparate treatment. This means that an employer or other workers treat someone differently based on their race alone. In an employment setting, that can mean refusal to hire or promote someone of a certain race, giving someone a poor performance review or demoting them due to racial discrimination, firing an employee with no performance issues due to race, or subjecting that person to a hostile work environment.
This behavior can also be directed at an entire group of people of a certain race. Title VII applies to companies with 15 or more employees. It also protects employees from retaliation for reporting discriminatory behavior.
National Origin Discrimination
The United States, and New York City, in particular, is a melting pot of people who come here from many countries around the world. Others are Americans born to immigrant parents. In either case, it is never acceptable to discriminate against someone based on their national origin. This could take the form of hostile or unfair treatment based on an employee’s accent, ancestry, preferred language, or the customs they practice due to their cultural heritage.
The following are some common examples of national origin discrimination:
- Derogatory remarks about the employee’s country of birth or that of his or her ancestors.
- Making English-only rules for discriminatory purposes such as denying a job promotion to an employee who speaks broken English.
- Asking only employees of non-Caucasian descent to provide work authorization documents.
- Rejecting job applicants with a foreign accent even though they have the qualifications necessary to perform the job.
- Making comments about a job applicant not fitting into company culture due to their country of origin or not wanting too many people from certain countries to work for the company.
An employer can make English-only rules if necessary to promote business operations and never for discriminatory reasons. However, discrimination based on national origin is not always easy to prove. If you feel you have been a victim, don’t hesitate to reach out to a New York civil rights attorney at Jacob Fuchsberg Law Firm.
Sexual Harassment – #MeToo Movement
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) of the United States prohibits any type of inappropriate sexual behavior on the job. This can include unwanted touches or advances, demands for sexual favors in exchange for a promotion, lewd or derogatory jokes, sexual assault, and more.
Here are some specific examples:
- Receiving inappropriate texts or emails from a co-worker or supervisor.
- Engaging in sexual intercourse with a superior.
- A co-worker or supervisor offers you money to enter a dating relationship with him or her.
- When traveling on business, a co-worker or supervisor appears at your hotel room door to supposedly discuss business and then tries to force you into sexual activity.
- A person you work with shows you inappropriate photos that make you feel uncomfortable and embarrassed.
- Someone makes a request for you to send them inappropriate photos.
Sadly, sexual harassment in the work environment has been a problem for as long as men and women have worked together. It is important to note, however, that sexual harassment doesn’t have to be directed at the opposite gender. The good news is that the #MeToo movement has brought a lot of attention to this problem and change is slowly starting to occur. You should never have to work in this type of hostile or humiliating environment. In addition to reporting the inappropriate behavior to your human resources department, you have the legal right to initiate a lawsuit against the perpetrators.
Protection of Child Welfare
Thousands of children in New York are part of the child welfare system through no fault of their own. This includes children who have been taken from abusive parents and placed into foster care as well as those at risk of parental separation. Some older kids and teenagers are also part of New York’s juvenile justice system due to one or more crimes they may have committed.
Regardless of their circumstances, all children deserve positive court experiences and loving care within the foster care system. Tragically, the system meant to protect children fails them more often than it should. Racial bias and financial inequality are just two of the common factors that can lead to a poor outcome with the foster care or juvenile justice system in New York.
When the rights of children are violated instead of protected, they need a foster care abuse attorney looking out for their best interests. Without this important support, children will not have their healthcare, education, housing, and other critical needs met in an acceptable way.
The foster care attorneys at Jacob Fuchsberg Law Firm have extensive training in working with traumatized children to ensure that they receive proper representation under the law. We will make sure that those in charge listen to the voices of the children whose lives are affected by their work and that their rights are protected as they should be. Our goal is always to help direct children toward the best path in life, including growing up in a supportive and loving family.
Other ways that we support the rights and well-being of children are to provide programs that increase the quality of legal advice they and their families receive. We also work with community agencies on behalf of children’s advocacy to help end the unfair and damaging treatment that some children receive in our court systems.
Types of Foster Care Abuse
Foster care is a system that arranges care for children when their biological or legally adoptive parents cannot currently provide care for them. In addition to the possibility that a child experienced abuse at home, a parent might be in prison, using drugs, guilty of extreme neglect, or have a mental illness that prevents him or her from parenting properly.
If no relatives of the child are available to provide temporary care, the child will become the responsibility of the state foster care system. A social worker then arranges the temporary placement of the child in a private home or group home. If the child’s biological or adoptive parents are unable to correct the situation that caused the child to be removed from the home, the state may terminate parental rights and the child would then be available for adoption. However, reunification is the primary goal, and terminating parental rights is not something the state takes lightly.
Some people who become foster parents may only do so for the money and not because of a genuine desire to make a difference in a child’s life. Others may have the best intentions when becoming foster parents and then find the demands of the job too intense and lash out at the child in frustration. Foster care abuse is never acceptable regardless of how or why it happens.
Some examples of foster care abuse include:
- Physical abuse, such as shaking a baby who won’t stop crying or physically disciplining a child for a typical childish transgression. Often, abuse is not precipitated by any action from the child and is simply a matter of adult aggression.
- Sexual abuse of the child by either foster parent or anyone else in the household, including another child.
- Negligence of the child’s basic needs such as food, shelter, clothing appropriate for the weather, affection, education, or medical care.
If you are the biological or adoptive parent of a child who suffered abuse while in foster care, we encourage you to connect with a foster care abuse attorney as soon as possible. Your child deserves the recognition of the harm done to him or her as well as financial compensation in the aftermath of the injuries.
You may also contact us as the legal guardian of a child who has suffered this type of abuse. We will work with you to prove what happened and hold those responsible for this terrible injustice accountable for their actions. Additionally, the agency that made the foster care placement and failed to monitor the child for signs of abuse afterward may be legally liable for the injuries he or she suffered while in foster care.
Most New York City police officers are honorable people who take their job to uphold the law and protect the people of our city seriously. Unfortunately, some law enforcement seems to have forgotten their original oaths and use their positions to abuse people rather than help them. Police brutality attorneys in New York City are busier than ever investigating cases of alleged misconduct and helping people move forward in their lives after receiving unfair and often humiliating treatment at the hands of law enforcement.
The following are common examples of police misconduct:
- Excessive force
- False arrest
- Frisking a suspect roughly or unnecessarily
- Illegal vehicle stops
- Racial profiling
- Police assault and battery
- Police brutality
- Police raids
- Police shootings
While experiencing any of these events can be traumatic, federal law allows people who believe they have been the victim of any type of police misconduct to pursue relief in the context that the police officer violated their civil rights. You need to prove the following three elements to initiate a claim under Section 1983 of the Civil Rights Act of 1871:
- You must prove that another person violated rights afforded to you by the United States Constitution or under a state or federal statute. Although the person is usually a police officer, you can also file your claim against a municipality. That is because the law allows you to sue anyone in a municipality who knew about the misconduct but did not report it or do anything to stop it. The person or people representing the municipality may have also participated in the wrongdoing, hired negligently, or created hostile policies that allowed or even encouraged the police misconduct to occur.
- This misconduct must have occurred while the police officer was on duty and acting as a representative of New York law.
- The conduct by the police officer or municipality must have deprived you of a constitutional right, federal statutory right, or immunity.
It can be challenging to determine whether the actions of police violated your civil rights or if they were merely unprofessional. Police brutality attorneys in New York City from our law firm are available to provide you with a free consultation to determine if you have a legitimate case and then let you know which actions to take moving forward.
Prisoner Abuse and Prison Injuries
Just because a person is in prison doesn’t mean they don’t have the same basic constitutional rights as other people. For example, a guard cannot verbally, physically, or sexually harass a prisoner, and the staff must provide prompt medical care when it’s obvious that the prisoner needs it. Failure to provide for the fundamental rights of prisoners can result in unnecessary physical or emotional trauma or even death.
If you have sustained an inmate injury in prison, suffered worsening symptoms due to denial of medical care, or lost a loved one serving time in prison due to anything but natural causes, it is in your best interest to seek help from a personal injury lawyer for prisoners. Although you might assume you cannot collect anything from another inmate, the state may be liable for paying your personal injury claim if you and your attorney can prove negligence on the part of the staff. This can include anything from a poor hiring decision to placing you in the vicinity of another prisoner known to have violent outbursts.
At Jacob Fuchsberg Law Firm in New York City, our jail injury lawyers have helped clients in a wide range of situations. Some of these include sexual assault, denial of medication or insulin, and attacks from fellow prisoners. We will first investigate your claim and then file a personal injury lawsuit against the responsible party to seek financial compensation on your behalf.
Civil Rights Attorney New York City | Your Case Evaluation is Free
As you can see, civil rights encompass many broad areas. However, the bottom line is that all human beings deserve to be treated with respect and dignity regardless of the situation. Our New York civil rights attorneys fight for the rights of those denied this basic protection guaranteed to every citizen under the United States Constitution.
Our New York civil rights lawyers practice in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut and will fight for your legal rights. If you believe your rights have been violated, please contact us at 212-869-3500 for a free case evaluation or learn why clients choose us. Our civil right lawyers will answer your questions, give you legal advice, and help you decide what steps to take next.
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