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What are the most commonly violated civil rights in Cleveland, Ohio?

Anti-Discrimination rights: As part of your right to equal protection under the law,
Ohio protects your right not to be unfairly discriminated against in certain endeavors on the basis of:

  • Race and Color
  • Sex (including gender identity, sexual orientation, familial status, and pregnancy or nursing status)
  • National or Ethnic Origin
  • Military Status
  • Age (often protecting those over 40)
  • Disability

These essential civil rights are most important—and are most often violated—in several areas of life. These include:

  • Employment: It is illegal to discriminate in Ohio workplaces and hiring processes. If you experience a negative employment outcome because of illegal discrimination (for example, if you didn’t get a job, or got passed up for a promotion), your rights may have been violated.

    You are also entitled to a harassment-free workplace as well as a retaliation-free workplace. Sexual harassment in the workplace, for example, is a civil-rights violation, as is retaliation for exercising your rights by, for instance, complaining of, opposing, or participating in a proceeding about illegal discrimination; whistleblowing; or unionizing.
  • Education: You have the right to an educational environment free from discrimination, abuse, and violence, and equal-educational opportunities in all Ohio public schools—including state colleges and universities. Some civil rights are also extended to private educational institutions, such as Title IX rights against sex-based discrimination. Any failure to uphold those standards, or any adverse educational outcome that can be linked to discrimination, may constitute a violation of your civil rights. So, again, can retaliation for opposing discrimination or participating in proceedings about discrimination.
  • Housing: It is illegal for anyone providing housing (for example, landlords, people selling property, and mortgage providers) to discriminate. If you can link an adverse housing outcome, especially denial of housing or funding for housing, to discrimination, your civil rights may have been violated.
  • Public Accommodations: Public accommodations—areas open to the general public (including stores, restaurants, hotels, recreational facilities, and service centers, among others)—must be reasonably accessible and free from discrimination. If you are barred from access or otherwise discriminated against in a public accommodation, your civil rights may have been violated.

Police-based Civil-Rights Violations: Another common theme for civil-rights cases is policing and police behavior. The most common police-based civil-rights violations

  • Excessive Force: Police have “use of force” guidelines to subdue or contain people within reason, but often use force beyond what is necessary or appropriate, sometimes using less-lethal weapons (i.e., tasers, pepper spray), and sometimes using deadly weapons. Excessive use of force is a violation of your civil rights.
  • Illegal Search and Seizure: When searching property, arresting people, and taking property as evidence, police are limited by restrictions (including needing a warrant and probable cause in most cases). If police do not adhere to those restrictions, they may be violating your civil rights.
  • Miranda Rights and Right-to-an-Attorney Violations: You have both the right to an attorney and the right to remain silent rather than incriminate yourself. As such, police are limited in how they can question you, must read you your Miranda rights, and must comply when you ask for an attorney. If they fail to do so, they may be violating your civil rights.

Making the right choice in legal representation can make the difference in whether you achieve a result that protects your legal rights and best interests.

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