Misconduct in the workplace, unlawful acts by law enforcement, and other civil rights violations harm you as a victim, but they’re also harmful to society as a whole. As such, federal and state laws provide you with options to hold the offenders legally accountable. It’s possible to recover compensation for the losses you suffer because of such wrongdoing, and a California civil rights attorney can assist with your case. However, it’s important to understand how civil rights matters work and get a general overview of the claims process.
Summary of State and Federal Civil Rights Laws
There are many legal sources that form the basis of your civil rights, but some of the more familiar ones include:
- The US Constitution;
- The California Constitution;
- Title VII and IX of the Civil Rights Act of 1964;
- Section 1983 of the Civil Rights Act of 1871; and,
- California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act.
In addition, many judges have interpreted these laws in court cases over the years, so case precedent is also a source of civil rights concepts. Many of claims regarding civil rights violations stem from unlawful acts in employment, housing, or during encounters with police.
- Discrimination Cases: State and federal laws make it illegal to treat a person differently or take adverse action due to race, gender, religion, disability, ethnicity, national origin, color, or other protected characteristics.
- Harassment: You have a claim for harassment if misconduct targeting the aforementioned characteristics creates a hostile work environment. In addition, sexual harassment based upon quid pro quo is actionable if someone requests sex in exchange for favorable treatment.
- Misconduct by Police: It’s illegal for law enforcement officers to use excessive force, arrest you without proper legal justification, or engage in other wrongdoing. Police brutality and other unlawful acts may give rise to a civil rights violation case.
Filing a Claim for Violation of Your Civil Rights
The process for enforcing your rights will depend upon the type of violation you’ve experienced. For claims in the context of housing or employment, you have the option of filing a claim with either the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) or the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Claims involving police misconduct must be filed with the relevant law enforcement agency.
Though the specifics vary, the process is designed to resolve a civil rights violation by providing you with fair compensation for your losses. You must exhaust these administrative remedies before you can file a lawsuit in civil court. If successful, you may be able to recover:
- Monetary damages to compensate you for your losses, back pay, and out-of-pocket expenses;
- Emotional distress, suffering, pain, and related losses; and,
- Attorneys’ fees and court costs.
Contact a Riverside, CA Civil Rights Lawyer to Discuss Your Case
If you believe your civil rights were violated, you need experienced legal representation to help you take action against injustice. To learn more about your rights and legal options, please contact Wagner & Pelayes, LLP to schedule a free consultation. We can assess your case and determine the best strategy for pursuing your remedies.