What should I do if I am the victim of a civil rights violation?

statue of justice

In the United States, we are all fortunate enough to live and work in a society where numerous civil rights are guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.

Unfortunately, that does not mean that civil rights violations never occur. On the contrary, your civil rights could be violated by a landlord, an employer, a law enforcement officer, or even a governmental agency. If you do find yourself to be the victim of a civil rights violation, you may wonder "What should I do if I'm the victim of a civil rights violation?" Keep reading to find out.

Know Your Rights

In order to recognize that your rights have been violated, you must first know what those rights are. Most of your civil rights are found in the first ten Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, commonly referred to as the Bill of Rights. By familiarizing yourself with the Bill of Rights, you will gain a basic understanding of what rights are guaranteed to you in the U.S. Sometimes a victim intuitively knows that one of his rights has been violated, but is not sure exactly which right. Don't second guess yourself. If something doesn't feel right, it probably isn't.

Speak to a Supervisor/Authority Figure

In some cases, reporting the violation to a supervisor or authority figure is appropriate. For example, if you have been discriminated against in the workplace, your company's anti-discrimination policy may require you to report the violation to a supervisor. If, however, you feel that taking action could put you in harm's way and/or make the situation worse, be sure to consult with an attorney first.

Document the Violation

Keep a journal. Often, a civil rights violation is not a single incident, but an ongoing issue. If so, start documenting the activity in a journal each day. Write down what happened, who was there, what was said, and even how it made you feel.

Gather Witness Information

Civil rights violations frequently occur in the presence of witnesses. Police brutality, for example, may happen during a public arrest. If so, make a list of witnesses and/or people who may have helpful information, along with their contact information.

Consult with a Civil Rights Attorney

Your civil rights are guaranteed to you by the U.S. Constitution, however, it is often necessary for a victim of a civil rights violation to proactively assert a right in order to ensure that it is protected. Moreover, the labyrinth of state and federal laws relating to civil rights makes it very difficult for a victim to pursue justice without the assistance of an experienced civil rights attorney.

If you believe that you have been the victim of a civil rights violation in the State of New York or New Jersey, it is important that you consult with an experienced New York City civil rights attorney right away to evaluate your case and discuss your legal options. We can help. Contact the Law Offices of Adam Thompson online now, or call (212) 267-2424 to schedule your free consultation.