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Civil Rights Information Center

Civil rights violations deserve intervention from an attorney who knows how to protect your rights. Do not delay. Contact our firm today to schedule a consultation.

Protecting Civil Rights Since 1985

The Law Offices of John L. Burris provides individual and class action representation for civil rights violations. Attorney John Burris has handled prominent civil rights litigation, particularly police misconduct, including serving as co-counsel in Rodney King's civil suit against the Los Angeles Police Department. He also served as lead counsel in the Oakland Police Department "Riders" case.

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Frequently Asked Questions about Civil Rights

Q. What are civil rights?

A. Civil rights are freedoms guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the statutes and case law that have evolved from it. Our civil rights include freedom of religion, freedom of the press, freedom from unreasonable search and seizure, freedom to vote, the right to due process, equal protection and many others. These rights have restrictions, but they are fundamental to the legal and social systems of the U.S.

Q. What qualities are commonly discriminated against?

A. The modern civil rights movements began with people concerned primarily with gender equality and racial equality. These, however, are not the only characteristics that are discriminated against. Color, national origin, disability, age and familial status are protected by federal and state laws. Sexual orientation and other qualities are protected by some state laws.

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Civil Rights - An Overview

"Civil rights" is a term used broadly in the news, the workplace, the government and even everyday conversation. Most United States citizens and residents probably know that they have civil rights, but knowing exactly what those rights are is not necessarily intuitive. If you suspect that your civil rights have been violated, contact an attorney from Law Office of John L. Burris in Oakland, CA, to discuss your situation.

The Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights (the first 10 amendments to the Constitution) are key documents in our history of civil rights. The Constitution and its amendments recognize and guarantee many of our civil rights. The most famous civil rights, perhaps, are the freedoms preserved by the First Amendment:

  • Freedom of Religion
  • Freedom of Speech
  • Freedom of the Press

These fundamental rights provided many of the principles that guided the Founding Fathers in creating our modern federal government.

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Employment Discrimination on the Basis of Disability

It is a strongly held belief in the U.S. that people with disabilities should be afforded the same opportunities as everyone else. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Rehabilitation Act provide the disabled with protection against employment discrimination in both the private and public sectors.

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Fair Housing: Renters and Owners

Nobody should be turned down for housing because the owner or manager does not like her religious affiliation or his skin color. The Fair Housing Act (FHA) prohibits discrimination in housing based on race, color, religion, sex, familial status, national origin and disability. The FHA is part of the Civil Rights Act of 1968, and amendments were added in 1988; along with the other sections of the Civil Rights Act, the FHA is designed to provide equal opportunity in an important life matter.

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Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) protects the educational interests of children with physical and emotional disabilities. IDEA was enacted to ensure that disabled children receive the education that their unique needs demand. IDEA applies to primary and secondary public schools only; the act does not govern post-secondary institutions such as colleges and vocational schools. The procedures and rights for which IDEA provides can seem complex, but getting the most out of them will maximize the benefit of your child's education.

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Fourth Amendment: Search and Seizure

The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects against unreasonable searches and seizures by governmental authorities. This means that there are limits on when and how the police can search your home, for instance, and take evidence. It does not mean, however, that all searches and seizures are illegal.

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Civil Rights Resource Links

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
The EEOC provides resources for those with questions or concerns regarding discrimination in the workplace.

The Bill of Rights
The Library of Congress offers numerous links to historical information on the Bill of Rights, the foundation of many important civil rights in America.

U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights
The U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights is responsible for enforcing federal laws prohibiting discrimination in programs that receive funding from the U.S. Department of Education.

Fair Housing Laws and Presidential Executive Orders
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) provides this guide to laws and executive orders on fair housing.

The National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities (NICHCY), funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP), provides information on the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

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Law Offices of John L. Burris
Airport Corporate Centre | 7677 Oakport Street, Suite 1120 | Oakland, CA 94621
Phone: 510-379-7215 | Fax: 510-839-3882 | E-mail Us | Map and Directions