Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government


Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Have you been a victim of a hate crime or human trafficking? Get help NOW!

We uphold the civil rights of all people in the United States.

The Civil Rights Division enforces federal laws that protect you from discrimination based on your race, color, national origin, disability status, sex, religion, familial status, or loss of other constitutional rights.

If you believe your civil rights, or someone else’s, have been violated, submit a report using our online form.

Start a report Learn your rights

If you are in danger, contact 911

If you or someone else is in immediate danger, please call 911 or local police.

If you are reporting misconduct by law enforcement or believe you have experienced a hate crime, please contact the FBI.

About the Civil Rights Division

We protect your rights through:


We sue or prosecute individuals and organizations who violate civil rights laws.

You can help us do this work by reporting a possible civil rights violation through our online form.


We help the public understand how to comply with these laws.

We do this through public speaking, technical assistance, and more.


We help the entire federal government work together to enforce these laws.

Our teams work with other agencies to promote a consistent approach to civil rights laws.

Understanding your rights

Civil rights laws can protect you from unlawful discrimination, harassment, or abuse in a variety of settings like housing, the workplace, school, voting, business, healthcare, public spaces, and more.

If you have been mistreated by law enforcement (including while incarcerated), believe you have been a victim of a hate crime, or a victim of human trafficking, we can help get you to the right place.

Choose from this list to see example civil rights violations:

  • Examples

    Fired, not hired, or demoted for reasons unrelated to job performance or qualifications

    Retaliated against for reporting discrimination

    Inappropriately asked to provide immigration documentation

    Denied reemployment or fired based on military service

    Denied an accommodation for a disability, including not being allowed to have a service animal in the workplace

  • Examples

    Denied housing, a permit, or a loan based on personal characteristics like race, sex, and/or having children under 18 years old

    Harassment by a landlord or another tenant, including sexual harassment

    Challenges with terminating a lease due to military status change

    Denied an accommodation for a disability, including not being allowed to have a service or assistance animal in public housing

    Learn More →

  • Examples

    Harassment based on race, sex, national origin, disability, or religion

    Denied admission or segregated in an education program or activity

    Denied educational accommodations for a disability or language barrier

  • Examples

    Police brutality or use of excessive force, including patterns of police misconduct

    Searched and arrested under false pretenses, including racial or other discriminatory profiling

    Denied rights while arrested or incarcerated

    Denied access to safe living conditions or accommodations for a disability, language barrier, or religious practice while incarcerated

  • Examples

    Obstacles to registering to vote, obtaining or submitting a ballot, having your ballot counted, or entering a polling place to vote

    Denied adequate voting assistance or accommodations for a disability at a polling place

    Restricted or prevented from participating in an election, including voting, becoming a candidate, or being elected for office


    To report a threat against voters, threats against election officials, or election fraud, visit or call 800-CALL-FBI

    Learn More →

  • Examples

    A physical or online location that does not provide disability accommodations

    Denied service or entry because of a perceived personal characteristic like race, sex, or religion

    Denied an accommodation for a disability, including not being allowed to have a service animal in a commercial or public location

  • A hate crime is violence or threats of violence based on race, color, national origin, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability.


    Physical attack causing injury, or an attempt to cause injury with a dangerous weapon, because of the above characteristics

    Attacks, threats of violence, or destruction of property at place of worship (ie: shooting, arson, bombing, smashing windows, writing slurs)

  • Examples

    Coerced into working through threats of harm or deportation, psychological manipulation, debt manipulation, document confiscation, or confinement

    Forced into sex work for profit through physical abuse or assault, sexual abuse or assault, other threats of harm, or confinement

If you think you’ve experienced a similar situation, learn how to report a civil rights violation.


Protected by civil rights laws

These are the most common characteristics that are legally protected.

  • Race/color
  • Disability including temporary or in recovery
  • Religion
  • Sex, gender identity, and sexual orientation
  • Immigration/citizenship status
  • Language and national origin including ancestry and ethnicity
  • Family, marital, or parental status including pregnancy
  • Age
  • Genetic identification
  • Servicemember status

How to report a civil rights violation

If you believe that you or someone else experienced unlawful discrimination, you can report a civil rights violation.


Report using our online form.

By completing the online form, you can provide the details we need to understand what happened. You will receive a confirmation number and your report is immediately sent to our staff for review.


We review your report.

Teams that specialize in handling your type of issue will review it. If it needs to be forwarded to another team or agency, we will try to connect your complaint to the right group.


We determine next steps and get back to you.

Possible outcomes include: following up for more information, starting a mediation or investigation, directing you to another organization for further help, or informing you that we cannot help.

Have you or someone you know experienced a civil rights violation?

Start a report

If you cannot access the online form, you can call to report a violation or report a violation by mail.

Already submitted a report?

Here's what to expect.

Thank you for your report. We carefully read each one to determine if we have the authority to help. We do our best to let you know about the outcome of our review. However, we may not always be able to provide you with updates because:

  • We're actively working on an investigation or case related to your report.
  • We're receiving and actively reviewing many reports at the same time.

If we are able to respond, we will contact you using the contact information you provided in this report. Depending on the type of report, response times can vary. If you need to reach us about your report, please refer to your report number when contacting us. This is how we keep track of your submission.


Need urgent legal help?

Due to the amount of reports we receive, it can take several weeks for us to respond to your issue. Local legal aid offices or lawyers in your area may be able to quickly respond to or help with your concern

Contact Legal Services Corporation to help you find a legal aid lawyer in your area at

Or visit or call (800) 285-2221 to find a lawyer through the American Bar Association.