What are civil rights? Basically, this term refers to the set of rights that help protect individuals and their various freedoms against unnecessary suppression and discrimination from the government and from private organizations. Also referred to as legal rights, they cover, among others, freedoms of speech and expression, privacy, religion, the press, assembly, and movement. These rights are inscribed in statutes enacted to ensure that every covered individual’s rights are preserved. These are interpreted by the legislature and are usually dependent on local laws, customs, beliefs and the like. If in case a certain right is impeded in any way by another person or entity, an action for injury takes place.
Civil rights promote equality among the people, covering health care, education, housing, culture, employment and labor, immigration, and other aspects of life. They also provide protection against any form of discrimination based on someone else’s characteristic, such as race, sex, gender, disability, sexual orientation, marital status, and the like. These characteristics are defined and interpreted within laws on civil rights on the federal, state, and local levels. However, if a person or entity inflicted emotional or physical harm towards someone and his or her own rights, it is imperative for the affected individual to seek legal assistance from a lawyer for civil rights. Alternately, he or she may also seek the help of an agency that specializes in enforcing certain civil rights.
In any form of civil rights violations, a claim may be filed against the person or entity with either a federal or state agency. This is usually done first before the aggrieved individual can file a lawsuit in court. Take for instance a claim of discrimination in employment. If, for example, an employee who is an African-American was ridiculed at work because of his race, or he or she has a disability but was not provided any reasonable accommodations by his or her employer, then he or she can file a claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Said agency enforces laws the prohibit discrimination, harassment, and retaliation in workplaces with 15 or more employees (20 or more employees if the complaint is related to age discrimination).
Aggrieved individuals can file their civil rights claims with other appropriate federal or state government agencies. Aside from the EEOC and other employment and labor enforcement agencies, they may file their claims with other agencies specializing in matters such as fair housing, religious freedom, police misconduct, and hate crimes, to name a few. Although these government agencies can take part in the investigations on the alleged civil rights violations, they have the right to offer right-to-sue notices for them, allowing them to bring up their cases in court.
As it is, a civil rights violation lawsuit is brought up against a person, entity, or any third party that caused physical or emotional injuries towards an individual whose rights were compromised. It is handled in either federal or state court, whichever is applicable depending on the depth and scope of the violation. Basically, the lawsuit provides certain facts and allegations that show that the other party in question was responsible for the violation of the person’s civil rights. Upon trial, the lawsuit must be backed with sufficient evidence, proving that the other party was legally responsible for the damages that the victim incurred because of the civil rights violation.
If in case your rights have been violated and you believe that you have a strong case against the other party, you can always seek the expertise of a civil rights attorney for a consultation. The legal counsel will first evaluate the aspects of your case, and will also explain all the necessary options that are available for you to help ensure that your case will result in the most favorable outcome possible.