There are many federal civil rights laws. While this page does not cover all of them, we provide some information and links by subject area.
- Employment: Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employers with 15 or more employees from refusing to hire, firing, or otherwise discriminating against an individual because of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission accepts and investigates complaints under Title VII, and more information may be found here.
- Education: Title IV of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination in public schools and institutions of higher learning on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, and religion. Other federal laws require schools to provide services to English Language Learner students and students with disabilities. Recipients of federal funds may not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, or disability. The U.S. Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division enforces these provisions and accepts complaints of discrimination in education.
- Housing: The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in the sale, rental, and financing of housing based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, and familial status (pregnancy or having a child under 18). The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development accepts complaints of discrimination in housing.
- Voting: The Civil Rights Division at the U.S. Department of Justice enforces federal laws prohibiting voter discrimination on the basis of race, color, or membership in a language minority group. Federal law also has provisions specific to voters with disabilities and members of uniformed services. Information about how to file a complaint about voting issues is here.
- Public Accommodations: Title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination in hotels, motels, restaurants, theaters, and all other places of public accommodation. The Civil Rights Division at the U.S. Department of Justice enforces Title II and contact information is here. The Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits disability discrimination, including by requiring that government offices and places of public accommodation be accessible to persons with disabilities. Information about filing a disability discrimination complaint is available here.
- Service animals: Under state and federal law, individuals with disabilities are allowed to bring service animals into places of public accommodation. An informational poster for Washington residents and businesses that explains the rights and responsibilities of service animal handlers and places of public accommodation is available here.
- Service members and Veterans: Uniformed Services Employment & Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) prohibits employment discrimination because of past or current military service and provides civilian reemployment rights in some circumstances. The United States Department of Labor enforces USERRA. You can file a USERRA complaint with the U.S. Department of Labor here. The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) provides a variety of protections for military members entering active duty in areas such as rental agreements, loan interest rates, foreclosure, eviction, insurance, and tax payments. To make a complaint under the SCRA, start by contacting your military legal assistance office through this office locator.