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Office of Human Rights

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Investigations & Enforcement

Investigations & Enforcement

The DC Office of Human Rights (OHR) helps settle complaints of unlawful discrimination in the areas of employment, housing, education and public accommodation.  OHR has jurisdiction for complaints of discrimination in the private sector and District government.

The agency works to settle complaints through a process known as mediation. OHR will only mediate claims of discrimination within the jurisdiction of the District of Columbia. If mediation fails, the OHR will conduct a full investigation of the alleged discrimination.

The OHR also handles the complaints of residents that cannot access DC government services in their own languages (Language Access).

Select from the links below for more information on how to file and settle a discrimination claim, or call the Office of Human Rights at (202) 727-4559.

Discriminatory Acts Defined

It shall be an unlawful discriminatory practice in Employment, Housing, Education and Public Accommodations to do any of the following acts, wholly or partially for a discriminatory reason based upon the actual or perceived: race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, marital status, genetic information, personal appearance, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, familial status, family responsibilities, disability, matriculation, political affiliation, source of income, status as a victim of an intrafamily offense, or place of residence or business of any individual:


  •  To fail or refuse to hire, or to discharge, any individual; or otherwise to discriminate against any individual, with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, including promotion
  • To limit, segregate, or classify his employees in any way which would deprive or tend to deprive any individual of employment opportunities, or otherwise adversely affect his status as an employee


  • To interrupt or terminate, or refuse or fail to initiate or conduct any transaction in real property; or to require different terms for such transaction; or to represent falsely that an interest in real property is not available for transaction
  • To include in the terms or conditions of a transaction in real property, any clause, condition or restriction; refusal to appraise a property, refuse to lend money, guarantee a loan, purchase a loan
  • To refuse or restrict facilities, services, repairs or improvements for a tenant or lessee
  • To make, print, or publish, any notice, statement, or advertisement, with respect to a transaction, which notice, statement, or advertisement unlawfully indicates or attempts unlawfully to indicate any preference, limitation, or discrimination based on a protected category
  • To refuse to make reasonable accommodations or modifications in rules, policies, practices, or services, when these accommodations may be necessary to afford any person equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling; because of their disability

For more information, select the link below for the OHR Fair Housing page:


  • To deny, restrict, or to abridge or condition the use of, or access to, any of its facilities, services, programs, or benefits of any program or activity to any person otherwise qualified
  • To make or use a written or oral inquiry, or form of application for admission, that elicits or attempts to elicit information, or to make or keep a record, concerning the race, color, religion, or national origin of an applicant for admission, except as permitted by regulations of the Office

Public Accommodation

  • To deny, directly or indirectly, any person the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, and accommodations of any place of public accommodations
  • To print, circulate, post, or mail, or otherwise cause, directly or indirectly, to be published a statement, advertisement, or sign which indicates services will be unlawfully refused, withheld from or denied an individual; or that an individual’s patronage of, or presence at, a place of public accommodation is objectionable, unwelcome, unacceptable, or undesirable because of the person's protected category
  • A health benefit plan or health insurer shall not establish rules for the eligibility, new or continued, or any individual or adjust premium or contribution amounts for an individual on the basis of genetic information concerning the individual or family member of the individual


Note: Select the DC Human Rights Act link below for more details.

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