The provisions of Title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibit discrimination in places of public accommodation. Title II provides two types of procedures to achieve relief from prohibited discrimination:
- the aggrieved person can bring a civil action for protective relief, or
- the Attorney General has the right to initiate an appropriate civil action
The relief requested can be in form of an application for permanent or temporary injunction, restraining order, or other order. If a complaint is filed by an individual, the court may appoint an attorney for the commencement of the action without payment of fees, costs, or security by the individual.
U.S. District Courts have jurisdiction to pursue proceedings instituted under Title II of the Civil Rights Act. Sections 2000a-3 through 2000a-6 provide special statutory proceeding power for the determination of rights and duties under Title II. It is mandatory that the complainant must provide 30 days’ notice to any state or local agency that has jurisdiction over the matter. The notice can be delivered by registered mail or in person. The federal court has the right to stay any proceedings pending the termination of any state or local enforcement proceedings. Moreover, the federal court can refer the complaint to Federal Community Relations Service for up to 120 days. The Federal Community Relations Service has authority to investigate on the referred complaint. The Federal Community Relations Service can conduct hearings in executive session. The complainant can initiate class action to support the rights protected by the public accommodation provisions of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Normally, the complainant has the burden of establishing evidence of discrimination. A court of equity has wide powers to provide effective measures to eradicate the effects of past discrimination. A plaintiff cannot recover any damages under this law.
The Attorney General can file a complaint in an appropriate United States District Court for a permanent or temporary injunction, restraining order, or other order. The presiding judge can order remedial relief to correct any practice of racial discrimination. An action initiated by the Attorney General is not submitted to a state agency for hearing.