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DC Commission on Human Rights

*Newly Amended* Rule 408 for attorney and non-attorney representation before the Commission can be found here.

Recent decisions and orders issued by the Commission on Human Rights can be found here.

Request for Nominations for 2023 Human Rights Gala

Nominations for the three awards are due August 21, 2023. More information here; fillable nomination form here.

 Mark your calendars! The Gala will be on December 7, 2023 and the theme is "DC Human Rights Act: Protecting and Celebrating Bodies and Minds of All Abilities"


The DC Commission on Human Rights (“Commission”) is an agency within the Office of Human Rights (“OHR”) that adjudicates private sector discrimination complaints brought under the D.C. Human Rights Act. The Commission also provides an appeals process to applicants who were found ineligible for employment under the Criminal Background Checks for the Protection of Children Act. Although the Commission is within OHR, the Commission acts independent of OHR in order to adjudicate cases in an impartial manner.

  • More information about the Commission staff members here.

The Commission is comprised of 13 Commissioners, who are nominated by the Mayor and confirmed by the City Council. Each Commissioner is appointed to a three-year term without compensation. The Commission Bi-Monthly meetings are currently held virtually from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. via WebEx, unless otherwise noted.

  • More information about the Human Right Commissioners here.
  • More information about the The Commission on Human Right Bi-Monthly Public meeting schedule is as follows and corresponding agendas are here.

The Adjudication Process

If OHR finds “probable cause” that discrimination occurred, the case is then certified to the Commission.  After certification, the Commission conducts a secondary, independent review of the case.  The secondary review includes an evidentiary hearing in a “trial-type” setting either before an administrative law judge or a panel of three Commissioners.

The Commission’s hearing process operates under the District of Columbia Administrative Procedure Act as well as the Commission’s Rules of Procedure for Contested Cases, 4 DCMR § 400 et seq. (1995). Hearings are de novo, or “from the beginning,” and parties have access to full discovery and motion practice, have the opportunity to submit documentary evidence, and may present testimony by witnesses who are subject to cross-examination. All hearings are public and transcribed by a court reporter. 

Once an administrative law judge within the Commission completes the hearing, he or she reviews the record and issues a proposed decision with findings of fact and conclusions of law. The proposed decision is then given to the parties who have the opportunity to submit written exceptions to the proposed opinion. After the written exceptions filed by the parties are addressed, the administrative law judge submits the entire record to the three Commissioners assigned to the case. The Commissioner then issue a final decision that either affirms, modifies or rejects the administrative law judge’s proposed decision. 

What happens if discrimination is found by the Commission?

When discrimination is found, the Commission may award a successful complainant injunctive relief, back and front pay, compensatory damages, and/or attorney’s fees. The Commission is also authorized to furnish a civil penalty on a discriminating respondent which is paid to the District government. Final decisions of the Commission may be appealed to the District of Columbia Court of Appeals. In addition to its adjudicative responsibilities, the Commission may undertake public investigations or hearings concerning various patterns of discrimination and make recommendations to the Mayor and/or the City Council. The Commission also has authority to promulgate rules, regulations, and procedures that implement various portions of the DC Human Rights Act.

Select from the following for more information:

Contact Information

Commission on Human Rights

Government of the District of Columbia
One Judiciary Square
441 4th Street NW
Suite 290N
Washington, DC 20001
Phone: (202) 727-0656

Email: [email protected]