Civil Rights Claims
Has the Government Violated Your Constitution Rights?
The United States Constitution and the New Jersey Civil Rights Act provide important civil rights, including the right to freedom of speech, the right to petition the government, the right to freedom of assembly, the right to freedom of association, the right to equal protection of law, and the right to due process of law. These rights not only apply to individuals who work for the federal, state, and local government, but to all citizens.
It is important to realize that each Constitutional right is limited. For example, these freedoms only protect you from actions by the government, your exercise of these rights cannot unreasonably interfere with someone else's rights, and employers still can establish reasonable policies, rules, and job requirements even if they impede on your Constitutional rights.
Freedom of Speech
Under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, individuals have the right to free speech. This means the government is limited in how it can respond to the words you use outside of work and outside of your job duties. As an employee, you might have a First Amendment retaliation claim if your employer fires, disciplines, harasses, or takes another adverse employment action against you because you spoke out about a matter of public concern.
Freedom of Religion
The First Amendment also gives citizens the right of freedom of religion. This means the government is limited on the ways it can prohibit religious practices, including some expressions of religious beliefs in the workplace.
Freedom to Petition the Government
Employees also have a Constitutional right to formally petition the government. This includes the right to file a lawsuit, union grievance, or make certain other formal protests against the federal, state, or local government.
Equal Protection of Law
Due Process of Law
Under certain circumstances, before the government can take away a person’s life, liberty, or property, the individual is entitled to fair notice, a hearing and a decision by an impartial judge. As a result, some employees who work for the government are entitled to a fair hearing before you can be fired, demoted, suspended without pay, or subject to other severe discipline.
- Public Employees Can Pursue First Amendment Claim if Harmed by Employer's Discrimination Against Coworker Last week, I discussed Montone v. City of Jersey City, a case that ruled Police Sergeant Valerie Montone can proceed with her political affiliation ....
- Third Circuit Reinstates Police Sergeant's Political Affiliation Discrimination Claim Against Jersey City On March 8, 2013, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Police Sergeant Valerie Montone can proceed with her civil rights case against the ....
- Nirenberg Law Firm's Discrimination Lawsuit Discussed in Bergen Record This morning, I was quoted in the Bergen Record about a civil rights lawsuit I recently filed against the Borough of Bogota. Police Officer Regina ....