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Do I Need a Civil Rights Lawyer?

By: The Igwe Firm
January 16, 2019

Philadelphia civil rights lawyers protect an individual's civil rights.All individuals have certain civil rights that cannot be violated. Many of these rights are set forth in the Bill of Rights, as part of the United States Constitution. These rights include freedom from discrimination, freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, fair housing rights, voting rights, and certain procedural rights – such as the right to due process under the law.

Some of the most common civil rights claims involve discrimination. Individuals who have suffered discrimination may recover financial losses and more by filing a civil claim against the party or parties responsible for the violation. A civil rights violation may occur if an individual is discriminated against on the basis of one of the following protected classes:

  • Race
  • Ethnicity
  • Religion
  • Gender or gender identity
  • Disability
  • Sexual preference
  • Pregnancy

Determining whether an individual falls within a protected class can be confusing, and often requires the assistance of an experienced Philadelphia civil rights lawyer.

Filing a Civil Rights Lawsuit

When the civil rights of an individual are violated, he or she may be entitled to compensation. There are many state and federal laws prohibiting discrimination and protecting civil rights. Violations of these laws can become the basis of a civil rights lawsuit.

The process of filing a civil lawsuit can be complicated. Claims must be filed within a set amount of time. In some cases, an individual must file a claim though federal agencies prior to filing a private lawsuit. Government agencies will investigate claims of civil rights violations and generally determine how the case will be handled. However, to ensure the best possible outcome, it is always best to consult an experienced civil rights lawyer before taking any action.

Federal government agencies handling civil rights investigations include the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, the U.S. Civil Rights Commission, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Each state also has its own enforcement agency to handle violations of state or local civil rights laws.

Private Civil Suits

In other circumstances, the best course of action may be to file a private civil lawsuit. This may occur in cases of employment discrimination, such as where a private employer has engaged in some type of discrimination against its employee, including claims of sexual harassment or a hostile work environment.

Many civil claims are resolved through mediation or arbitration. Other cases are settled through negotiations resulting in out-of-court settlements. Individuals who intend to file private civil lawsuits should remember to keep detailed notes regarding any potential violations, including dates and names of witnesses to the alleged violation.

Individuals filing civil lawsuits often seek monetary damages as compensation. In addition to compensatory damages, individuals who have had their civil rights violated may be entitled to punitive damages, injunctions, and attorney costs and fees. Obtaining the services of an experienced Philadelphia civil rights lawyer is the first step in determining whether there has been a civil rights violation and the best way to proceed thereafter.

Philadelphia Civil Rights Lawyers at The Igwe Firm Protect Individual Rights

If you or a loved one believes their civil rights have been violated, the experienced Philadelphia civil rights lawyers at The Igwe Firm are ready to assist you. With offices conveniently located in Philadelphia, we proudly represent individuals throughout Pennsylvania. For a free evaluation of your case, call us today at 215-278-9898 or submit an online inquiry form.

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