Have My Civil Rights Been Violated? An Intro to Civil Rights Cases

civil rights lawyerHave my civil rights been violated?
This is a common question civil rights lawyers are asked by people from all walks of life. If your legally protected rights to equal treatment have been violated under certain circumstances — like in educational settings, work or housing environments, health care situations, or in cases of specific types of violence or misconduct — this constitutes a civil rights violation.

What are some specific examples of civil rights violation?
There are all sorts of civil rights violations, and an expert civil rights attorney can help you to determine whether you have been the victim of such a violation. However, some examples of civil rights violations are more common than others. These include:

  • Sexual harassment in the workplace
  • Racial discrimination when applying for a job or housing
  • Law enforcement misconduct or excessive force related to race, ethnicity, religion, or gender
  • Hate crimes, including threats or violence related to religion, race, sexual orientation, or gender identity
  • Exploitation of immigrant workers
  • Prison abuse

When can I not pursue a civil rights case?
Civil rights cases can be extremely complicated, which is why having a highly qualified Minnesota civil rights attorney is so important. In addition, certain laws are left up to the states, which means that private businesses in one state may be allowed to refuse service to a gay couple, while in other areas, that practice is illegal. In general though, there are some cases where discriminatory actions are technically legal and not a violation of civil rights. If your housing application was rejected because you have pets or you didn’t get a job because you’re a recent college graduate, you might think these actions are discriminatory, but they are not a valid reason to pursue a civil rights violation claim. The landlord may not like dog owners and that employer may not like millennials, but those aren’t grounds to file a suit.

What should I do if my civil rights have been violated?
From 1990 to 2006, 90% of civil rights filings centered around disputes between private parties, rather than state organizations or government factions. This means that most civil rights violations can be resolved relatively quickly. If you think your civil rights have been violated, you do have a few options. One of these options is to settle the dispute through informal negotiations. This is often an advisable choice because it means you won’t have to endure a lengthy court case. The two parties will sit down and decide upon an agreement; typically, they’ll agree to pay you a severance in exchange for you giving up the right to sue.

Another option is to file a state or federal complaint. When you do this, an investigation is usually ordered and the government will likely take action. Essentially, once you file the claim, you won’t have to take any further action yourself, as the government agency will make decisions regarding the case. This can also be performed in conjunction with other options.

Lastly, you can file a private lawsuit. The choice about whether to file a state or a federal case may be up to you and your civil rights lawyer, or it may be decided for you by the way a given law is applied. You may need to file a claim with a government agency prior to filing a private lawsuit. You’ll then get the opportunity to present the facts of your case in court. Your civil rights lawyer will show that the other party should be held responsible for these civil rights violations.

Civil rights violations need to be taken seriously, and action needs to be taken swiftly. If you’re looking for the finest civil rights attorney Minnesota has to offer, contact Gaskins Bennett today.