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Complaint Process & Timeline

*NEW* COVID-19 Response: Public Notice of OHR Emergency Rule Revisions

During the District of Columbia’s state of emergency, the Office of Human Rights remains operational, with most staff teleworking.  Consequently, OHR is issuing an emergency rulemaking under the D.C. Human Rights Act to revise applicable rules affecting operation by remote means. Below is a summary of the rule revisions, effective March 18, 2020:

  • Filing in-person: Effective Wednesday, March 18, 2020 and until further notice, OHR will temporarily suspend inperson filings.  
  • Filing by mail:  During the state of emergency, the OHR will determine the date of receipt of complaints received via mail by using the postal date, or the date of signature on the complaint plus five business days. The OHR Director retains the discretion to amend these rules as necessary under the state of emergency.
  • Notarization:  Effective Wednesday, March 18, 2020 and until further notice, complainants will not be required to notarize the Charge of Discrimination, but Charges must still be verified and signed by the complainant under penalty of perjury.  

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For a the full view of OHR's Case Processing, download the OHR Standard Operating Procedures for Complaint Processing

If you believe you've been discriminated against in housing, employment, public accommodations or educational institutions within the District of Columbia, you can file a complaint with OHR. The following is a basic overview of what to expect:

  1. Written Complaint: Submit an intake questionnaire within one year of an alleged discriminatory act occurring.* 
  2. Intake Appointment: Scheduled if OHR has jurisdiction over the case. 
  3. Mediation & Initial Investigation: Scheduled after the intake interview.
  4. Full Investigation: If mediation fails, a full investigation occurs and takes up to six months or more for employment, public accommodations or educational institution complaints, and three months for housing.** 
  5. Review & Determination: Legal team reviews file and drafts a proposed Determination. The Director of OHR approves and issues a final Letter of Determination.
  6. Request for Appeal: A reconsideration of the decision can be submitted to OHR within 15 days of the Determination.

* DC government employees must consult an EEO counselor within 180 calendar days of the discriminatory act. The counselor will attempt informally to resolve the complaint, but if those efforts fail, the counselor will issue an “exit letter.” The employee must submit the intake questionnaire to OHR within 15 days of the date of the exit letter.

**Complaints of Housing Discrimination must be investigated within 100 days of its formal filing date. If it is impractical to complete the investigation within 100 days, OHR will notify both parties of the reason(s) for the delay.

*** If a case is cross-filed with the EEOC, Complainant may submit a request for substantial weight review to the EEOC within 15 days of the letter of determination. For any case, Complainant may submit a petition for review to the Superior Court.