What to do if You Think Your Constitutional Rights Were Violated?
Fighting For Important Causes In State And Federal Courts
It is not uncommon for people to feel they have been mistreated or that “their rights have been violated.” There is a significant difference between believing you were wronged and an actual civil rights violation. If one of your protected rights was violated, you have options. However, there are some factors you should consider first.
You need to know what your rights are and what rights are afforded protection. To help answer this question, you need to gather the facts concerning the alleged violation. Collecting information will allow you to put the violation in context and will help an experienced civil rights attorney understand your claim.
The Law Office of Andrew Shubin has built a reputation on fighting for and protecting the civil rights of its clients. Lawsuits based on Constitutional law or discrimination are complicated and require a pragmatic and aggressive advocate. If you believe your civil rights have been violated, contact our office at (814) 826-3586.
Determining if a Protected Right was Violated
The first thing you need to establish is whether a protected right was violated. Just because you were treated unfairly or unjustly does not mean that your civil rights were violated. Only a select number of rights are protected under anti-discrimination and civil rights legislation. There are situations where, unfortunately, a violation of your rights is legal and does not constitute the basis of a legal claim. There are times when discrimination is entirely within another person’s rights.
For example, the Fair Housing Act (FHA) prohibits property owners, real estate agents, financial institutions, and landlords from discriminating based on race, national origin, sex, religion, disability, family status, and more. This does not mean a landlord is prohibited from discriminating across the board.
To illustrate the difference, imagine a person applying to rent an apartment. This person owns four cats. However, the landlord does not permit pets in the apartment complex. Technically, the landlord is discriminating against pet owners. However, this conduct does not constitute a civil rights violation.
Another person who wishes to rent the apartment is Iranian in origin and a practicing Muslim. The landlord refuses to rent the apartment based on the applicant’s national origin and religion. In this case, the applicant is protected by the FHA and the landlord’s conduct is a civil rights violation.
While the examples above are straightforward, not every case of discrimination is as apparent. If you have any questions or concerns, do not hesitate to contact a knowledgeable civil rights attorney to review your situation.
Options Available if Your Civil Rights Were Violated
When your civil rights are violated, you have options, including negotiating a settlement, filing a claim with a government agency, and filing a lawsuit in civil court.
Agreeing to Settle Your Matter
Not every legal dispute, such as a personal injury claim, ends up in court. Many cases settle outside of the courtroom. The same is true for civil rights and discrimination cases. If you believe you were the victim of racial discrimination in the workplace, you could negotiate a settlement agreement with your employer. With the assistance of a civil rights attorney, both parties could agree to a severance package. This allows the harmed individual to receive financial compensation while the employer is protected from further legal claims. Depending on the circumstances, negotiating a settlement might be the most beneficial option for each party involved.
Filing a Claim with a Government Agency
The federal government has specific agencies tasked with investigating discrimination and civil rights violations. Some examples of agencies a victim could turn to include the U.S. Department of Educations’ Office for Civil Rights, the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. There are also various state agencies that deal with claims of civil rights violations and discrimination.
When you file a complaint with a state or federal agency, that agency will act on your behalf, starting with investigating the validity of your claim. In some cases, you need to file a claim with a governmental agency before filing a civil lawsuit.
Filing a Lawsuit in Civil Court
If you are the victim of a civil rights violations or discrimination, you might have the option to file a personal lawsuit in civil court. However, as stated above, under certain circumstances, you must have filed a claim with an appropriate government agency first.
The first thing you will have to do is review your case with an experienced civil rights lawyer. Once the facts and evidence of your case have been thoroughly examined, a decision will be made on whether to file your lawsuit in state or federal court. Depending on the specific facts, you might not have a choice.
Your civil rights lawyer will draft and file a complaint that will set forth the facts and allegations to demonstrate the defendant violated your civil rights. It will also include the legal theory that the case relies on and a request for compensation or other remedies. If the case goes to trial, you must establish that a civil rights violation occurred by a preponderance of the evidence. This means that the defendant more likely than not violated your rights.
If You Believe Your Protect Rights Were Violated, Contact Our Experienced Civil Rights Attorney
Unfortunately, discrimination and civil rights violations are a prevalent reminder that many people still face unfair disadvantages. The Law Office of Andrew Shubin is a strong and dedicated advocate for victims of discrimination. If you were the victim of a civil rights violation, contact our office at (814) 826-3586 to review your allegations. Our consultations are free and confidential.