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Civil Rights

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Civil Rights Law and Police Misconduct in Pennsylvania

Police misconduct is a broad term that covers a wide range of wrongdoing by law enforcement personnel. Police misconduct can be either a wrongful action or a failure to act. Individuals who suspect they may be victims of police misconduct should consult an attorney to learn about their options.

Every person who … subjects, or causes to be subjected, any citizen of the United States or other person within the jurisdiction thereof to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws, shall be liable to the party injured in an action at law, Suit in equity, or other proper proceeding for redress … Civil Rights Act of 1871, Section 1983

police brutality and police misconduct civil rights cases are brought under 42 U.S. Code § 1983. This statute gives people a private right of action to hold a police department or law enforcement agency legally liable for a civil rights violation. You may be able to bring a Section 1983 lawsuit on the grounds of:

  • Excessive Force: Officers must use only what force is necessary to control the situation. In Section 1983 claims, excessive force has been defined as force greater than what a reasonable police officer would have believed to be necessary given the circumstances. The appropriate force depends on many factors, including the conduct of the person being arrested or detained.
  • False Arrest/False Imprisonment: It is unlawful for police to deny a person of their rights or liberties. A defendant arrested on false grounds or imprisonment in violation of their due process rights can sue to hold the responsible department legally accountable for taking away their freedom.
  • Prison Abuse or Prison Negligence: Prisons also have the legal duty to respect civil rights. Through a Section 1983 civil rights lawsuit, a prison can be held liable for prison guard abuse, wrongful mistreatment, or serious negligence.

You pay no legal fees unless we win.   Civil rights cases are complex. Police misconduct cases are challenging. If you were victimized by police misconduct, you deserve to have legal representation equal to the resources of the city or state. Our attorneys are committed to upholding the civil rights of our clients by making police officers accountable for their actions. We believe this is the best way to force law enforcement organizations to police themselves. If you have any specific questions or concerns about your legal rights or your legal remedies, contact an experienced Pennsylvania civil rights lawyer for help. A police misconduct attorney will be able to review your case and explain what you need to do next to get justice.


Federal laws, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, protect employees from discrimination on the basis of their race or national origin.  In addition, state laws, such as the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act (PHRA) also prohibit religious discrimination.  These laws make it illegal for employers to discriminate against employees because of their race and from making employment decisions based on:  1) Race (Caucasian, Black, African American, Hispanic, Asian); 2) Ancestry, birthplace or culture; 3) Linguistic characteristics and 4) Surnames that may be associated specific countries..

Race discrimination may include being harassed, subjected to a hostile work environment, fired, demoted or otherwise being treated differently because of your race or national origin. If you have faced racial discrimination at work or believe you have been terminated, denied employment or a promotion because of your race, you need an experienced employment lawyer. handle a full range of workplace Civil Rights & Discrimination issues including:

  • Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)– counseling on employee eligibility for up to 12 weeks of unpaid job-protected leave for the following reasons: taking medical leave when the employee is unable to work because of a serious health condition; caring for an immediate family member with a serious health condition; birth and care of the newborn child of an employee; placement with the employee of a child for adoption or foster care
  • Disability discrimination (ADA)– protecting applicants and employees with a disability, or a history of disability, from being treated unfavorably because of their actual or perceived disability
  • Disability accommodations– ensuring that employees with disabilities receive reasonable accommodations from their employer as required by the ADA so they can do their job
  • Age discrimination– protecting applicants and employees from being treated less favorably because of their age
  • Gender-based discrimination– protecting applicants and employees from being treated unfavorably because of their gender
  • Racial discrimination– protecting applicants and employees from being treated unfavorably because they are of a certain race or have personal characteristics associated with race
  • Sexual harassment– protecting employees from unwanted, inappropriate sexual conduct in the age of #MeToo
  • National origin discrimination– protecting applicants and employees from being treated unfavorably because they are, or appear to be, from a particular country or part of the world, or because of their ethnicity or accent
  • Religious discrimination– protecting applicants and employees from being treated unfavorably because of their religious beliefs
  • Pregnancy discrimination act– protecting employees from discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions
  • Hostile work environment– protecting employees from intimidation, bullying, harassment, and discrimination in the workplace
  • Wrongful termination– counseling employees as to their rights under Pennsylvania’s “employment at will” standard, including antidiscrimination and whistleblower protections
  • Conduct outside the workplace– counseling on employee rights, discipline, and termination as they relate to activity outside of work
  • Employer counseling– advising employers on all aspects of workplace civil rights and discrimination, including hiring, disciplining, and terminating employees
  • Social media– protecting the interests of employees and counseling employers on emerging issues involving social media and the workplace
  • Medical marijuana– counseling on emerging issues relating to workplace drug policies and the legalization of medical marijuana

Seeing the “Big Picture”

Civil rights and discrimination issues do not occur in a vacuum. They frequently overlap with other areas of the law, which results in collateral consequences that can stretch far beyond the initial issue presented.

The worth of your claim will depend on several factors, including:

  • The nature of the conduct that caused the harm to you or your family
  • The severity of the harm
  • The amount of past and future economic losses
  • The cost of future expenses
  • The pain and suffering you and your family experienced