There are various reasons why you would wish to file a discrimination complaint against a business. Perhaps the company refused to serve you because of your race, gender, or protected characteristics. Maybe you believe their services cost too much for people from your community. Or perhaps someone mistreated a customer before you, leaving you feeling unsafe about revisiting the organization.
These scenarios are examples of businesses violating your civil rights as a consumer; however, filing a discrimination complaint with an administrative agency is one way to hold them accountable for their actions and prevent them from continuing this behaviour in the future.
File a complaint against a business for discrimination
There are two ways in which you can file a discrimination complaint against a company, including:
- Contact the U.S. Attorney’s Office of Civil Rights (DOJ). This office enforces federal civil rights laws concerning many industries, including financial services, schools, housing, and healthcare.
- When filing a complaint against an employer, you should contact the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
The DOJ and EEOC have local offices throughout the country that can provide answers about lodging discrimination complaints and assist you.
They also have online complaint forms available for you to use on their websites that walk you through the process step-by-step. These agencies will not charge any fees for their services or filing your discrimination complaint against a business.
When to File a Discrimination Complaint
While most people only consider contacting an administrative agency when they have experienced discrimination firsthand, there are several other reasons why you might want to file this type of complaint as well, e.g.,
- Race discrimination
- Gender discrimination
- Disability discrimination
Steps For Filing a Discrimination Complaint
When you file a discrimination complaint against a business with an administrative agency, you should provide the following information:
- Your name, phone number, home address, etc.)
- The name of the company or business that discriminated against you and their location (city and state)
- The date of the incident and a brief explanation (i.e., how the discrimination happened)
- Any other details (i.e., any witnesses who might be willing to help with your case)
- Your sworn statement, date of the report, and your signature.
Various Methods of Filing a Discrimination Complaint
- By mail- OCRComplaint@hhs.gov
- By post- Centralized Case Management Operations, Washington DC
- Online portal- OCR online portal
- Civil Rights Discrimination Form Package
- DoNotPay- applicable when filing a complaint anonymously with the HR department.
What Should You Do Following the Filing of a Discrimination Complaint?
- It will be sent to the company in question and a notice of your intent to sue for discrimination if no settlement is reached within 30 days.
- You should get a response from the organization within 30 days of submitting your written complaint.
The answer should tell you one of three things:
- First, whether the business has agreed to settle out of court.
- Secondly, if they have decided to take “corrective action” as defined by their policies or laws.
- Or that they have denied any wrongdoing whatsoever and will proceed forward with litigation against you if necessary.
If the Business Agrees to Settle Out of Court
If the business agrees to settle out of court, they generally want you to sign and return their agreement. You should also know that any settlement or “corrective action” taken by the business means they agree to avoid litigation.
If They Agree to Take “Corrective Action
In some cases, businesses will agree to take “corrective action” as defined by their policies or laws. This usually means they agree to make changes to prevent future discrimination at their company or facility.
Discrimination against anyone because of their race, gender, sexual orientation, disability, or because they are getting older is against the law. As you can see, there are many ways to go about trying to resolve a problem with a business. Whether you choose to go it alone or hire an attorney to assist you, the best thing is to seek professional help.
1. Describe a discrimination charge.
Discrimination charges are written statements of a person’s belief that they have been victimized by discrimination in violation of the Civil Rights Act.
2. Who is eligible to file a charge of discrimination?
Any individual who believes someone has violated their rights or by an organization. In some cases, one may file a charge anonymously.
3. What are my remedies?
If the court finds your charges “frivolous” or “unfounded,” you may have to pay the employer’s attorney’s fees and costs. Consequently, if a court or administrative agency finds that the employer has discriminated against you, you may be awarded remedies such as payback and reinstatement.