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Have you or someone you know experienced unlawful discrimination?

The Civil Rights Division may be able to help. We enforce federal laws that protect you from discrimination based on your race, color, national origin, disability status, sex, religion, familial status, and more.

Start a report

If you are in danger, contact 9-1-1

If you or someone else is in immediate danger, please call 9-1-1 or local police.

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

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

We protect your rights through:


We sue or prosecute those 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.

Common civil rights violations

Choose from this list to see 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

If you think you’ve experienced a similar situation, learn how to file 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 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, or directing you to another organization for further help.

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

Submit a report

If you cannot access the online form, you can call to submit a complaint or send in a complaint 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?

Local legal aid offices or lawyers in your area may be able to quickly respond to or help with your concern.

Contact Legal Service Corporation at or call (202) 295-1500.

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