History Leading Up To Juneteenth

In the 17th and 18th centuries, African tribe members were kidnapped, sold into slavery in the American colonies, and exploited to work in cultivating crops such as tobacco and cotton. By the mid-nineteenth century, America's expansion of The United States and the abolitionist movement had sparked a massive controversy over slavery, tearing the country apart in the deadly Civil War. On September 22nd, 1862, only a year after he took office, President Lincoln issued a preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, and on January 1st, 1863, Lincoln made it official. On that night, enslaved and free African Americans gathered in churches and private homes all across the country, awaiting news of the Emancipation Proclamation. All enslaved individuals in the Confederate States were legally declared free at the stroke of midnight. Union soldiers, many of them were African-American, marched onto plantations and through southern communities, reading small duplicates of the Emancipation Proclamation and spreading the gospel of freedom throughout the Confederacy. Through the Thirteenth Amendment, emancipation ended slavery throughout the entire United States.

However, not everyone in Confederate territory would immediately be free. Even though the Emancipation Proclamation was made effective in 1863, it could not be implemented in places still under Confederate control until after the Civil War.

What is Juneteenth?

Juneteenth (short for "June Nineteenth") celebrates the day in 1865, months after the Civil War, when federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas, to take control of the state and guarantee the freedom of all enslaved people. Juneteenth marks our country's second Independence Day. Though it has been long-honored within the African American community, it is a history that has been mostly unknown to the general public until it was officially recognized as a federal holiday in 2021. The legacy of Juneteenth demonstrates the importance of bold hope and rapid organizing in turbulent times.

A Notable Juneteenth Figure

Opal Lee is a 94-year-old activist, born in Marshall, Texas, on October 7, 1926. She is the oldest of three children. Many consider her to be the "Grandmother of Juneteenth," since she has helped organize Fort Worth's annual Juneteenth celebration, encouraging a 2.5-mile walk each year to commemorate the two and a half years it took for knowledge of the Emancipation Proclamation to reach Texas. Lee has also taken part in marches in Fort Smith and Little Rock, Arkansas; Las Vegas, Nevada; Madison and Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Atlanta, Georgia; Selma, Alabama; and the Carolinas. At the age of 90, Opal walked 1,400 miles from Fort Worth, Texas, to Washington, D.C., to bring awareness to America's 2nd Independence. In 2021 Lee was named the "Texan of the Year" for her activism on behalf of Black Texans.

Present Day Discrimination

Even though June 19th, 1865, was over 150 years ago and the last enslaved African Americans were freed, it does not mean the suffering ended there. Even now, in 2022, we struggle with discrimination, not only in our African American communities but in other minority communities as well, ranging from race, sex, and age to sexual orientation. According to Merriam-webster, discrimination is a prejudiced or prejudicial outlook, action, or treatment. The American Psychological Association states that the human brain naturally puts things in categories to make sense of the world. However, the values we assign to various types are taught from our parents, peers, and observations we make about how the world operates. Discrimination is frequently motivated by fear and misunderstanding.

Workplace Discrimination

Going to work is an everyday activity for most Americans and should be a welcoming place. Unfortunately, workplace discrimination happens all too often. Discrimination in the workplace happens when an employer disrespects an applicant or employee because of their ethnicity, color, faith, sex, sexual orientation, gender identification, national origin, disability, or status as a protected veteran. It may also occur if an employer punishes, fires, or penalizes an employee or job applicant for discussing, disclosing, or inquiring about wages. Workplace discrimination can be directed at a single person or a group of people. Discrimination in the workplace can also occur against a current employee or even a job applicate. Workplace discrimination violates one’s civil rights and could inhibit the ability to realize the full potential and ultimately impede one’s career success.

Some examples of workplace discrimination are provided below:

  • All Hispanic employees are assigned to a specific work location. 
  • Women receive less compensation than their male co-workers for the same task.
  • Employees who speak with an accent are teased by their co-workers/superiors more than occasionally.
  • Only individuals that are a certain race or gender are promoted. 
  • Examinations, such as arithmetic tests or lifting requirements, that are unrelated to the outlined work to screen out applicants.
  • A female employee is denied paid sick leave when recovering from childbirth, whereas an employee recovering from knee surgery is granted paid sick leave.

If you or a loved one has been the victim of discrimination and would like to learn more about your legal rights regarding discrimination, don't hesitate to contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at The Cochran Firm today for your free, no-obligation consultation.

Race Discrimination in the Workplace

It is unlawful for an employer to discriminate. Still, it is equally prohibited to discriminate against an employee of a particular race. It is illegal to discriminate because an employee is married to, or spends time with, people of a specific race. According to a 2019 report by Glassdoor, 61% of U.S. employees have experienced or witnessed discrimination based on age, race, gender, or sexual orientation.

Here are some helpful ways to help you prevent race discrimination in the workplace. You can familiarize yourself with the company's workplace policies and act responsibly. Attending training on EEO principles will allow you to learn about your legal rights under the anti-discrimination laws. Also, be proactive, and report inappropriate, discriminatory, harassing, or abusive behavior to your supervisor, Human Resources department, or management. 

Unfortunately, using those tactics does not always resolve the issue at hand. If that might be the case and you or a loved one has been the victim of racial discrimination and would like to learn more about your legal rights regarding discrimination, don't hesitate to contact the experienced attorneys at The Cochran Firm today for your free, no-obligation consultation.

 Age Discrimination in the Workplace

 EEOC defines Age discrimination as treating an applicant or employee less favorably because of their age. The Age Discrimination Act of 1967 was enacted to address age discrimination issues. 

How Can I Avoid Age Discrimination On My Application?

There are a few simple techniques to protect yourself against age discrimination on your resume when applying for a position at a company, such as: 

  • Applying with a résumé that does not reveal your age. 
  • Leave out your birth date and graduation dates.
  • Omit the first few years of job experience. 
  • Use a current email domain rather than AOL or Hotmail. 

How Can I Avoid Age Discrimination During My Interview?

Once you have made it past the application process and have been called for an interview, keep in mind there are some factors during the interview that can leave you susceptible to ageism. Doing these next steps will help you overcome this hurdle:

  • Demonstrate your openness to both lead and be led.
  • Express how much you cherish working with people that are not like you.
  • Maintain your professional experience as recent as possible and stress your influence.
  • Instead of emphasizing your wealth of experience, highlight your enthusiasm for the role.

What is The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967?

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA) was enacted to protect certain applicants and employees 40 years old and older from age discrimination in hiring, promotion, discharge, salary, or employment terms, conditions, or privileges. President Johnson signed the Age Discrimination Act into law in 1967. Congress enacted the legislation to promote the employment of older people based on their abilities rather than their age and to ban arbitrary age discrimination in employment. The ADEA has been updated several times over the last fifty years, including in 1978, 1986, 1990, and 1996, broadening the scope of the law and the protection offered to older workers.

Sex Discrimination in the Workplace

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) classifies sex discrimination as treating someone (an applicant or employee) unfavorably because of that person's sex, including the person's sexual orientation, gender identity, or pregnancy. Gender roles often come into play when employers are looking to hire new employees. There have been cases where an employer has refused to engage a woman with preschool-aged children, but did hire men with children the same age. This is because the preconceived gender roles stated it is the mother's job to watch the children. Even though this employer had more women than men on staff, this is still a form of discrimination.

How Can My Attorney Help Me With Workplace Discrimination?

A lawyer will have in-depth knowledge about your situation and determine if you have a case or not. Your attorney will first need to confirm that you belong to a protected class. Establishing you belong to a protected class may be the simplest element of the analysis. However, there might be some difficulties that your lawyer might face, such as if you claim that you are a victim of age discrimination, but yet you are in your 30s, you will not fall into the age-protected class. However, if you drop into a protected class, one way to make sure you have a solid case is to have testimonies from witnesses of the discrimination. A weak discrimination case will consist of hearsay, no witnesses, and a lack of evidence. 

If you or a loved one has been the victim of racial, gender, or age discrimination and would like to learn more about your legal rights regarding discrimination, don't hesitate to get in touch with the experienced personal injury attorneys at The Cochran Firm, with offices nationwide, today for your free, no-obligation consultation.

Civil Rights

FindLaw defines Civil Rights as an expansive and significant set of rights that are designed to protect individuals from unfair treatment; they are the rights of individuals to receive equal treatment (and to be free from unfair treatment or discrimination) in several settings, including education, employment, housing, public accommodations, and more, based on specific legally-protected characteristics.

Where Did My Civil Rights Originate?

  • Age Discrimination Act of 1975- Prohibits age discrimination in federally funded programs and academic activities, health care services, housing, unemployment, food assistance, and rehab centers.
  • Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA)- Prohibits discrimination against job candidates and employees over the age of 40 in terms of pay, development chances, and other working circumstances.
  • Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)- prohibits discrimination based on disability (both actual and perceived) and is not permitted in employment, state and municipal government, public institutions, commercial establishments, transportation, and telecommunications.
  • Civil Rights Act of 1964- Prohibits discrimination based on race, color, religion, gender, or national origin is prohibited in employment, academia, voting, and public accommodations.
  • Fair Housing Act (FHA)- Prohibits residential discrimination based on race, religion, gender, familial status, or handicap is prohibited.
  • Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973- It was the first disability civil rights legislation passed in the United States, and it prohibits discrimination against disabled individuals in federally funded programs.
  • Voting Rights Act of 1965- Enacted to combat Jim Crow laws in the Rural South and other impediments that minorities experienced when attempting to vote, essential portions of the Act were struck down by the Supreme Court in 2013.

States enact their own civil rights laws (usually similar to those enacted at the federal level) through the state constitution and other statutes. State laws can also be more protective of civil rights than federal counterparts, including safeguards for LGBTQ individuals. Municipalities, such as cities and counties, can also enact civil rights ordinances and regulations.

Police Encounters

Police officers have a very stressful job in our society. Even though they are in a stressful environment every day, it does not give them the authority to abuse their power. There are a lot of great police officers in our community, but it is the few that cast a dark shadow over the entire entity. For the select few police officers who struggle with not being able to contain their power, we have listed steps that you can take to help you survive the encounter. 

  • Be respectful- Even if you believe you are right in using aggressive or antagonizing language, refrain from doing so.
  • Calmly document- In this day and age, video is very accessible, and it is a wonderful benefit to film your interactions with the police. Also, tell them calmly that this will be given over to your attorney.
  • Remain silent if required- If you believe you are being unfairly questioned or coerced into incriminating yourself, tell the officer gently that you will be pleased to answer questions with an attorney present.

What Should I Do In The Event of Police Brutality? 

  • Note or record the name and badge number of all police who have harmed you.
  • Determine which police department they belong to. Take down the names and badge numbers of any other cops who witnessed what happened. 
  • Obtain the contact details of any other individuals who may have seen the incident.
  • Scan around to see if there are any cameras in the area that could have captured what happened.
  • Make a note of the date, time, and place.
  • Photograph any injuries you may have.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Even if I am guilty of a crime can I still file a suit for police brutality?

A. Yes, you can still file a lawsuit even if you are guilty of a crime.

Q. Can I sue the police for excessive force?

A.Yes, but it can be complicated and hard to win. You can sue the police officers and their supervisors for their subordinate's actions, and you may also be entitled to sue the municipality if it has a policy or procedure that led to the use of excessive force.

Q. Can I sue someone for sex discrimination if they are the same gender as me? 

A. Yes, both the victim and the harasser can be any gender, and they can be the same or different gender.

Q. How do I spot workplace discrimination?

A. An employer asks inappropriate questions such as, how old are you, what is your religious affiliation, or do you have any kids.

Why The Cochran Firm

The Cochran Firm is a diverse group of highly skilled and experienced lawyers that are dedicated to bringing high-quality representation to injured people and their families. Our experienced attorneys at The Cochran Firm are among the nation’s most recognized and successful attorneys in the country. When navigating through the legal process, you deserve to have an experienced attorney by your side. Our attorneys at The Cochran Firm know how to fight for you. Our attorneys are in the courtroom every day fighting for the rights of individuals like you. To see the latest from our attorneys in their pursuit for equal justice see our results.

Johnnie Cochran had long dreamed of creating a national law firm of men and women from all races, religions, creeds, and backgrounds to show how well we could all work together to make the world a better place. When Mr. Cochran started The Cochran Firm, his mission was “a journey to justice.” Today, with more than 35 offices across more than 20 states, the attorneys at The Cochran Firm work every day to fulfill that dream and continue that mission by working for our clients with the same work ethic and dedication to justice exemplified by Mr. Johnnie Cochran himself.

Works Cited

Age Discrimination. (n.d.). US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Retrieved June 6, 2022, from https://www.eeoc.gov/age-discrimination

Age Discrimination Act of 1975. (n.d.). US Department of Labor. Retrieved June 6, 2022, from https://www.dol.gov/agencies/oasam/regulatory/statutes/age-discrimination-act

Discrimination Definition & Meaning. (n.d.). Merriam-Webster. Retrieved June 6, 2022, from https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/discrimination

Discrimination: What it is, and how to cope. (2019, October 31). American Psychological Association. Retrieved June 6, 2022, from https://www.apa.org/topics/racism-bias-discrimination/types-stress

Diversity & Inclusion Study 2019. (n.d.). Glassdoor. Retrieved June 6, 2022, from https://about-content.glassdoor.com/app/uploads/sites/2/2019/10/Glassdoor-Diversity-Survey-Supplement-1.pdf

What Are Civil Rights? (2021, March 18). FindLaw. Retrieved June 6, 2022, from https://www.findlaw.com/civilrights/civil-rights-overview/what-are-civil-rights.html

What is Hearsay? (n.d.). Miranda Rights. Retrieved June 6, 2022, from http://www.mirandarights.org/hearsay.html