Equal Protection

What is it?

Equal protection violations can occur when a state actor treats individuals differently without a lawful basis to do so. Equal protection claims against state and local government actors are protected under the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution while claims against federal actors are protected by the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Racial profiling is a prime example of unlawful equal protection action.

What is the consequence?

When a state actor unlawfully interferes with your equal protection rights, you may seek:

  • An injunction (a court order designed to stop the civil rights violation)
  • Money for the injuries caused by the state actor
  • Punitive damages (relief designed to punish the state actor for the abuses)
  • Compensatory damages for emotional pain and suffering
  • Attorney fees (state actors pay when you prevail)