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Friday, November 11, 2016

WAIVING YOUR CIVIL RIGHTS

What is A Civil Right?

              Generally, a Civil Right is one that has been established and guaranteed by the first ten Amendments to the United States Constitution (known as the Bill of Rights), as well as those rights enumerated under the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  The Civil Rights Act was a landmark piece of civil rights and US labor law legislation that bans discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.  However, the courts have significantly expanded the definitions within the Civil Rights Act and those under the Bill of Rights.

What is a Waiver?

              To waive something simply means to give-up or pass over something which you would have otherwise been entitled to.

Can You Waive A Civil Right?

              Absolutely.  The most common form of waiving your civil rights is in the employment discrimination context.  Under those circumstance, employees will enter into settlement / severance agreements with companies which include a waiver of past or present civil rights claims.  As with most contracts, waivers of Civil Rights need to include some form of consideration in exchange for the waiver. You should consult with an attorney before you waive any legal right.  Waivers are not absolute and under certain circumstances, simply inappropriate.  

Can I Waive a Civil Right in a Criminal Matter?

              In the Criminal context, the matter is murkier.  For starters, there is a public interest in Civil Rights actions relating to unlawful search and seizures.  The Courts have repeatedly discussed the significant importance and impact a Civil Rights action has to bring change.  This public interest is an overriding factor that differs from the employment context.  Moreover, when dealing in the Criminal context, the government itself has violated the Civil Rights of a citizen.  In the employment context, it is less egregious due to both parties being private.  

              The idea of a release/waiver of Civil Rights in exchange for a dismissal should immediately cause a negative gut reaction.  However, each case is fact specific and it is very important to have a competent and experienced Civil Rights lawyer review the matter.

 

 

The Law Office of Jacob Z. Weinstein, PLLC has the experience and ability to pursue all forms of Civil Rights matters.

 


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As a former prosecutor, I fully understand the power law enforcement has. As a trial attorney, I know the law seems very scary.