Civil rights encompass the basic rights that all American citizens have by law. It is illegal in all states to discriminate against an individual based on protected rights, or violate their civil rights in other ways.
In Washington D.C., discrimination against another person based on certain traits is illegal under the Human Rights Act. This can protect an individual in Washington D.C. against discrimination in housing, education, employment, and public accommodations.
Some traits that are protected include country of origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, personal appearance, age, marital status, race, color, political affiliation, and religion. Additionally, an individual cannot be discriminated against for their family responsibility, family status, genetic information, source of income, place of residence or business, credit information, matriculation status, physical or mental disability, and status as a victim of domestic violence.
Outside of discrimination, other common civil rights violations can include migrant worker exploitation, slavery, Americans with Disabilities Act violation, religious property damage, hate crimes, law enforcement misconduct, and healthcare access interference.
Compensation You Can Receive
If you have been discriminated against, or experienced another type of civil rights violation, you may be eligible for damages through a lawsuit. You can receive economic and non-economic damages, depending on the violation.
For instance, if you are suing your former employer for firing you for a discriminatory reason, you may be able to receive economic damages in the form of lost wages and lost benefits. You also could receive non-economic damages such as pain and suffering if you have experienced severe emotional or physical distress as a result of the discrimination. In some egregious cases, you may be able to receive punitive damages, which serve to punish the at-fault party.
Why Do I Need a Civil Rights Attorney?
It can be painful to recover from a civil rights violation, especially if you are experiencing severe emotional, physical, or financial distress. An experienced civil rights lawyer can help you navigate the complexity of the legal system, ensuring your complaint is filed in a timely manner.
In Washington D.C., you must file a complaint with the OHR within one year of the occurrence of discrimination. This applies to situations such as the denial of rights based on protected traits, employment discrimination, and housing discrimination, among other violations. A lawyer can help determine if you must file a complaint before suing.
Additionally, many laws and regulations are constantly changing and evolving. If you do not have any familiarity with the law, it would be beneficial to work with an attorney who can help navigate. They can also assist you by doing research for the case, writing legal documents, and arguing your case in court to reach a settlement. A quality attorney will negotiate the greatest amount of compensation for a settlement on your behalf, so you can receive the justice you deserve.
If you think you have been a victim of a civil rights violation, do not hesitate to contact a Washington D.C. civil rights attorney today.