Civil rights violations may include several different types of conduct if the actor engaged in the behavior on the basis of a protected right. If you think that your civil rights have been violated, you will likely have questions about your options. The civil rights lawyers at Swartz Swidler are available to help you to understand your rights and what your next steps might be. Here is what you need to know if you think that your rights have been violated.
Was the treatment based on a protected right?
While you might believe that someone else violated your rights, the right must be a protected one in order for civil rights protections to apply. Anti-discrimination and civil rights laws only protect certain rights. Some types of conduct are legal and are not valid grounds for a civil rights claim. For example, a prospective tenant who is turned down for an apartment because he or she is a pet owner is not protected because pet ownership is not a protected civil right. The landlord’s decision is legal. However, if a prospective tenant who is black is turned down for an apartment because of his or her color has been the victim of a civil rights violation. The landlord’s conduct is prohibited and may form the basis of a civil rights action.
Your options if your protected right was violated
If your protected right was violated, you may have several options available to you. The attorneys at Swartz Swidler can discuss the different potential options and help you to determine which might be the most appropriate for your case. You might be able to engage in informal negotiations, file a claim with the government or file a private lawsuit to resolve the matter.
In some civil rights matters, it is possible to reach a resolution through informal negotiations without having to go through the court process. For instance, if you were the victim of workplace discrimination, it may be possible to reach a resolution with your employer. Your attorneys may meet with your employer’s lawyers and negotiate an agreement in which your employer agrees to pay you a certain amount in exchange for you waiving the right to file a lawsuit.
Filing a governmental claim
A majority of civil rights violations may be resolved by filing a claim with the government at either the state or federal level. The government may then take steps to investigate your complaint and to enforce your rights. The facts of your case will determine whether it will be handled at the state or federal level. In some types of cases, you must file a complaint with the government before you will be allowed to file a civil lawsuit.
Filing a lawsuit
If you are either granted leave by a government agency to file a lawsuit, or your claim is one that is able to be filed directly, you will first need to decide whether to file it in state or federal court. The attorneys at Swartz Swidler can provide guidance about the proper jurisdiction. When you file a complaint, it must set out the facts and your allegations in order to show the defendant is responsible for violating your civil rights as well as the harm that you suffered as a result.
Contact Swartz Swidler
Civil rights matters can be highly complex and difficult for you to resolve without legal help. If you believe that your civil rights have been violated, you should start by talking to an experienced attorney at Swartz Swidler. Call us to schedule your free consultation today.