If you ever feel like that your civil rights have been violated. You must be confused about your situation and your options. For your benefit, we have compiled a list of initial questions that you must ask and steps that you can take to address the violations of your civil rights.
The first question that you need to ask is if a “Protected Right” was violated?
This question is important because you may find yourself feeling that your rights were violated, but it doesn’t mean that your civil rights were violated. There are specific rights that come under civil rights and anti-discrimination laws. Some definite rights violations are sometimes fully legal and can’t be associated with a civil rights violation. The following example will help you to differentiate between an unlawful civil rights violation and lawful discrimination in terms of housing rights.
Applicant 1: has two dogs and goes to fill out an application for leasing an apartment from the landlord. After finding out that this applicant has two dogs, the owner may refuse to lease the apartment to the applicant because he has a policy against pet in the buildings or particularly just dogs, even the landlord can refuse to lease to this application because he doesn’t want dogs in the building. So, in this case, there is no civil rights violation by the landlord for rejecting the applicant based on the status of being a pet owner. The landlord can reject apartments to applicants who have pets.
Applicant 2: a man from an African American background fills out the form to lease the apartment from the landlord, and after finding out the racial background of the applicant, the landlord refuses to lease the apartment to him. The landlord wants to keep tenants from caucasian backgrounds in the building. In this case, there is a definite violation of civil rights by the landlord because he is refusing something solely on the basis of race. There is anti-discrimination law under federal and state fair housing that protects the right of all individuals to have a fair chance at leasing a property irrespective of their race.
What should you do if your protected right is violated
If you are sure that it was in fact, your protected right that was violated, then there are a number of things that you can do, including the matter through off the record informal discussions, or file a claim with the government and eventually file a private lawsuit in the civil court.
1. Informal negotiations
Most of the disputes that are legal in nature when it comes to civil rights can probably be resolved without filing any court papers or going through a lengthy and dirty legal battle. For instance, you can resolve the issue of an employment discussion if both parties (mainly the employer and employees, along with the respective attorneys) sit down and draft an agreement in which the employer agrees to pay a certain amount as severance. While the employee can waive off any rights to sue the employer over the issue.
2. Find a claim with the Government
The civil rights violation cases have one option to file a formal complaint with the federal or state government and then let the government agency enforce your civil rights in their own ways. This action can usually start an investigation into claims by the government agency, and upon the results of the investigation, the government will take action on behalf of the complaint filer. Irrespective of whether your complaint is being handled by the federal or state government, it will depend mostly on the facts of the case and claims, including what laws were allegedly violated, etc. The most important thing is that you raise your complaint and file it with the government. Then the agency will make a decision on how the case will be handled and where. The most common thing with such complaints is that no parties will be affiliated with the government. Also, please consider that in some cases of civil rights violation, a claim must be filed directly with the government before going to any private lawsuit matters.
3. Raise your voice among the community
You always have to find support in such cases, and before leading up any case or paying expenses for private lawsuits, you must do your research. There are many online communities and platforms that voice concerns of citizens in civil rights violation cases, so it is recommended to reach out to such groups. Wrenn’s Civil Violations and Injustice platform online also voices concerns of citizens that have faced any violation of civil rights. Reaching out to them and having your story heard before pursuing legal actions can help you get a much clearer picture of what should be your next steps.
4. File a private lawsuit for civil rights violation
This is one of the extreme options in case you didn’t find help anywhere or if all the research you did leads to this final step. You will have the option of filing a private lawsuit against the responsible party who violated your civil rights.
As you decide to move forward with the lawsuit, you must consider where to file it, and whether it should be on a federal or state level. You have to work on the specifics of your case, and then it will either be your choice or, as per the case, it would depend on the law, whether it should be a state or federal government matter.
If you know that your civil rights have been violated, it is highly recommended that you don’t just take it and come forward. Raising your voice will decrease a lot of such violations, and since you are protected by law, there is no need to worry as you will be properly compensated. Just make sure that you do something and take action, but due research is definitely recommended before moving forward with the action.