Office for Civil Rights
What You Should Know
Filing a Complaint with the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights. The Office for Civil Rights enforces several Federal civil rights laws that prohibit discrimination in programs or activities that receive federal financial assistance from the Department of Education. It is the mission of the Office for Civil Rights is to ensure equal access to education and to promote educational excellence throughout the nation through vigorous enforcement of civil rights.
Who Can File a Discrimination Complaint
Anyone may file a complaint. The person or organization filing the complaint need not be a victim of the alleged discrimination but may complain on behalf of another person or group. A complainant filing on behalf of or pertaining to another person(s) is responsible for securing any necessary written consent from that individual, including when a parent files for a student over the age of 18.
A complaint must ordinarily be filed within 180 days of the last act of discrimination. If your complaint involves matters that occurred longer ago than this and you are requesting a waiver, you will be asked to show good cause why you did not file your complaint within the 180-day period.
Institutional Grievance Procedures
Prior to filing a complaint with OCR against an institution, a potential complainant may want to find out about the institution’s grievance process and use that process to have the complaint resolved. However, a complainant is not required by law to use the institutional grievance process before filing a complaint with OCR. If a complainant uses an institutional grievance process and also chooses to file the complaint with OCR, the complaint must be filed with OCR within 60 days after completion of the institutional grievance process.
How to File a Complaint
There are several options provided for filing a discrimination complaint. You may file it online using the complaint form, send it via fax or mail, or you may email the completed Discrimination Complaint Form to email@example.com. For additional details about the complaint process visit these links below.
Video: How to File a Discrimination Complaint
PDF: How to File a Discrimination Complaint
*Information on this page is provided by the Department of Education – Office for Civil Rights