The Importance of Defending Your Rights

In the United States, we are given certain rights protected by the Constitution. Our forefathers wanted this country to be the most sought after and ideal place to live in the world. Though some might argue that this isn’t truly the freest country in the world, we wouldn’t be as well off if it weren’t for the rules and regulations set into place by the government.

But what happens when someone abuses the system? What can we do? If you’re an average American that works for a living, or even an immigrant trying to make a better life, you may not have the funds or even the slightest idea how to even begin defending your rights. Well, that’s where organizations come in.

There are groups out there set in place to help people who lack the knowledge, money, or ability to stand up for their constitutional, civil, and human rights. Now, it’s not like everyone with power abuses the system, but there are a lot of self-righteous CEO s and members of management that abuse and ignore the rights of their employees.

For instance, if you think back, you’ve probably worked overtime for a job in the past. If you’re paid by the hour then, most of the time, you get paid time and a half your normal wage to reward you for your willingness to work hard and help out when needed.

But, if you think really hard, then you’ll probably remember a time when you were approached by a member of management and told that you had to work mandatory overtime. Though it is illegal to force someone to work more than forty hours per week, there are ways around it. If you lack the funds to fight back in court and you live in a state that doesn’t have a union you might think you’re out of options. Read more: Jim Larkin |LinkedIn

This is not true at all. In all honesty, there is no need to contact an organization, though many exist. There aren’t many attorneys that would turn the case down, even if you didn’t have any upfront cash. The law is clear on the forty hour work week. The FLSA, or Fair Labor Standards Act, protects the right of not only the forty hour work week but the rights of overtime pay, minimum wage, and even child labor. If you took a case like this to court, you wouldn’t be guaranteed to win, but your chances would be great.

Another touchy topic in the workforce is Discrimination. It doesn’t matter what an employer discriminates against, there are laws and organizations to protect you from any type of this disgusting practice. One such organization is Human Rights Watch. This is a global organization that is ready to bring any discrimination to a screeching halt.

Now, we move on to a story about the freedom of speech. This constitutional right is one highly protected and regarded among journalists and the media. Yet, it’s still one that is abused often.

Jim and Michael were two journalists and owners of a small town newspaper called the Phoenix New Times who were put under scrutiny after revealing some information about their town’s sheriff, Joe Arpaio. On October 18th, 2007 the two were arrested in the middle of the night and thrown into the County Jail. It seems that the sheriff didn’t like the people of the town knowing that there were grand jury proceedings asking for notes from reporters who’d written articles about him.

Being seasoned Journalists, Larkin and Lacey knew their rights and how to defend them. After their release, they sued the county and won a hefty sum of $3.75 million. They used the money to start the Lacey and Larkin Frontera fund. The organization helps to protect civil, constitutional, human, and immigrant rights all throughout Arizona.

So remember, There is always a way to stand up for your rights. Don’t just take it lying down when someone infringes upon your freedoms. And, even if you’re not sure what to do, there is always someone ready to help.

Learn more about Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey:

http://www.laceyandlarkinfronterafund.org/5-smart-ways-people-and-places-are-resisting-trumps-immigration-policies/
http://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/blogs/az-aclu-honors-new-times-founders-jim-larkin-and-mike-lacey-as-civil-libertarians-of-the-year-6500737