The District of Columbia Office of Human Rights (OHR) was established to eradicate discrimination, increase equal opportunity and protect human rights for persons who live in or visit the District of Columbia. The agency enforces local and federal human rights laws, including the DC Human Rights Act, by providing a legal process to those who believe they have been discriminated against. OHR proactively enforces human rights in the District through Director’s Inquiries, which allow it to identify and investigate practices and policies that may be discriminatory. In addition, the agency oversees implementation of the Language Access Program and Citywide Youth Bullying Prevention Program.
What we do
- Investigate and resolve complaints of unlawful discrimination in employment (private companies and government), housing, public accommodations, and educational institutions. Places of public accommodation include restaurants, hospitals, financial institutions, and insurance companies. For a detailed list of discrimination bias, please click here.
- Conducts educational campaigns and initiatives to educate the public about civil and human rights in the District.
- Protect the equal employment opportunity rights of District government employees.
- Review, approve, and monitor the affirmative action plans of all District government departments and agencies. This includes review of special departmental emphasis programs for people with disabilities.
- Investigate complaints and conditions causing community tension and conflict which could lead to breaches of the peace and public disorder.
- Assess local and federal laws and policies with respect to discrimination.
- Provide information on human rights laws and policies to the community at large.
Laws we enforce
The primary function of the agency is to enforce the District of Columbia Human Rights Act, the District of Columbia Family and Medical Leave Act, the District of Columbia Parental Leave Act and the District of Columbia Language Access Act and District of Columbia Bullying Prevention Act of 2012. In addition to those local laws, the OHR, being a Fair Employment Practice Agency and a Fair Housing Assistance Program agency, can investigate and adjudicate complaints of discrimination filed under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Equal Employment Opportunity Act), Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968 (Fair Housing Act), the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act.
OHR is also the advocate for the practice of good human relations and mutual understanding among the various racial, ethnic and religious groups in the District of Columbia. Select any of the links below to learn more about what we do.