If an employee or job applicant believes that his or her civil rights were violated, that employee or applicant may have recourse. The first step in the process is to determine if a protected right was violated. If an individual is confident that an employer has done something wrong, it may be worthwhile to engage in informal negotiations with the employer.
The negotiation process generally involves a meeting between the worker, a representative of the employer and attorneys for both sides. In the event that an agreement is worked out, the victim may sign a document acknowledging that the situation has been resolved. The victim then forfeits any right to sue in the future. However, if such negotiations do not result in an agreement, it may be necessary to file a claim. Filing such an action may be necessary before filing a private lawsuit.
A case may be filed in state or federal court, depending on the type of complaint being made. Typically, the government agency handling the case will determine where it is heard. When an individual files a private complaint, it may be possible to choose whether to file the case in state court or in federal court.
Those who wish to take legal action against an employer may wish to do so with the help of an employment law attorney. An attorney may be able to help an individual settle labor issues during informal mediation sessions or through a formal court process. It may be possible for the victim of a violation to win compensation for back pay and punitive damages. In addition, a worker who is wrongfully terminated may win his or her job back.