Posted by Arab American Institute on December 12, 2016 in Blog

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Federal civil rights laws were put in place to protect our constitutional rights. Yet despite mechanisms to submit complaints of discrimination, instances of discrimination and hate often go unreported.  In order to protect our civil rights and ensure equal protection, it is imperative that we report instances of discrimination to the proper government entities who can, where appropriate, pursue prosecutions. Below are resources and information on where to report various instances of discrimination and hate.

Employment Discrimination

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) enforces laws pertaining to discrimination in the workplace. If you feel that you have been discriminated against at work because of your race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, or disability – you can file a Charge of Discrimination with the EEOC.

You can file a Charge of Discrimination in person at one of the 53 EEOC field offices or by mail. While you may not file a Charge of Discrimination online, the EEOC provides an online assessment tool that assists in determining if EEOC is the appropriate agency to assist you.

You can read more about how to file a Charge of Discrimination here.

Housing Discrimination

The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, and disability in the sale, rental, and financing of housing. The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) enforces the Fair Housing Act. If you feel that you have been discriminated against, it is recommended that you file a HUD Form 903 Online Complaint. This complaint is reviewed by a fair housing specialist who determines if the allegations may violate the Fair Housing Act. If they determine that it is a possible violation, they will assist you in filling out an official housing discrimination complaint.

You can file a HUD Form 903 Online Complaint here.

You can read more about the Federal Fair Housing Act here.

Airline Discrimination

The Department of Transportation releases a monthly “Air Travel Consumer Report.” Amongst other information, this report includes information on consumer discrimination complaints.  Discrimination complaints are civil rights complaints filed by air travelers that are based on race, national origin, religion, etc. While airlines are not required to file a complaint when a passenger is removed from a flight or denied boarding, we are aware that these issues have acutely impact Arab Americans and American Muslims.  If you feel you have been discriminated against during air travel, we urge you to file a consumer complaint with the Department of Transportation. Complaints are reviewed to determine if airlines are in compliance with federal aviation consumer protection regulations.

You can file a Consumer Discrimination Complaint here.

You can read more information about Aviation Consumer Protection here.

Discrimination in Schools

The Department of Education works to ensure equal access to education and enforce civil rights in schools that receive federal financial assistance. If you believe you have experienced discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age, or limited English language proficiency you may file a complaint of discrimination.  Complaints are evaluated by the Department’s Office of Civil Rights (OCR). A determination is made on whether OCR has legal authority to investigate the complaint. If more information is needed OCR contacts the complainant.

You can file a discrimination complaint here.

You can read more about filing a discrimination complaint here

Voting Rights

The Voting Section of the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division enforces the civil provisions of federal laws that protect the right to vote. The Voting Rights Act, the National Voter Registration Act, and the Help America Vote Act are all forms of federal law that protect voting rights. If you feel that you have been denied the right to vote, discriminated against while attempting to register to vote or at the polls, we urge you to file an Election Complaint Report to the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division.

You can file an Election Complaint Form here.

You can read more about the Voting Section of the Department of Justice here.   

Threats, Intimidation, and Hate Crimes

If you have been the target of hate in the form of threats, intimidation, or hate crimes motivated by your race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity, you should contact your local law enforcement officials as well as your local FBI Field office.

You can locate your local FBI Field office here.

You can learn more about hate crime reporting here.   

Other Resources

Nonprofit Security

The Department of Homeland Security provides funding to states for the security of non-profit organizations that are located in certain urban areas. For information on if your nonprofit qualifies, and how to apply for a Nonprofit Security Grant, click here

Department of Justice Civil Rights Division  

The Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division works to uphold the constitutional rights of Americans. To learn more about their role in protecting our rights, visit their website at www.justice.gov/crt