Federal Civil Rights Offices
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Civil rights protections come from a variety of varying laws at the federal, state, and local levels. The federal laws include the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which prohibits discrimination in various settings and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) which prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in various settings, as well as many other civil rights laws. A number of federal agencies and offices work to protect the civil rights of individuals in a broad range of areas. These offices are often charged with investigating and prosecuting civil rights violations and instances of discrimination. Explore the links below to learn more about the work of each agency, your civil rights under federal law, and how to file a complaint.
List of Federal Civil Rights-Related Offices
- U.S. Department of Justice Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) Home Page - The Justice Department division that handles cases of disability discrimination.
- Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Civil Rights Office - The FAA's Civil Rights Office advises, represents, and assists the FAA Administrator on civil rights and equal opportunity matters.
- U.S. Commission on Civil Rights - The commission was created to help foster the development of national civil rights policy and aid in the enforcement of federal civil rights laws.
- U.S. Department of Agriculture, Civil Rights Office - The office enforces the civil rights of all USDA customers and employees.
- U.S. Department of Education (DOE), Office for Civil Rights - The office helps resolve complaints of discrimination in education.
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Office for Civil Rights - The OCR helps to protect individuals from discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, age, and disability in certain health care and social service programs.
- U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Fair Housing Civil Rights - The office enforces federal laws ensuring all people have equal access to housing; it protects people from discrimination because of their race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, and familial status.
- U.S. Department of the Interior, Office of Civil Rights - The office handles all civil rights, equal opportunity programs, and affirmative employment functions in the Department of the Interior.
- U.S. Department of Labor, Civil Rights Enforcement for Department of Labor Grant Recipients - Enforces federal fair labor laws and fights discrimination in the workplace.
- U.S. Department of Transportation, Office of Civil Rights (DOCR) - The office enforces civil rights laws and regulations prohibiting discrimination in transportation on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, religion, age, genetic information, unequal pay compensation, and reprisal in employment and the provision of government services.
- U.S. Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC) - The commission enforces federal laws making it illegal to discriminate against a job applicant or employee based on the applicant or employee's race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy, gender identity, and sexual orientation), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information.
Protect Your Civil Rights
Have your civil rights been violated? Whether you are seeking federal protection, state protection, or both, then you need to know where to go for help with your specific issue. Accessing federal state civil rights offices is a great way to start, but to truly address your legal issue, you should talk to an experienced attorney about specific ways to protect your rights.