Office of Human Rights-Human Rights Complaint Procedure

What to Expect When You File a Human Rights Complaint

You have the right:

  1. To be protected from any form of retaliation for either filing a complaint or raising concerns about possible discrimination and to add amendments to the original complaint for any subsequent acts of retaliation;
  2. To meet with an Intake Officer and have an opportunity to discuss and clarify the issues related to your complaint;
  3. To be accompanied, represented, or advised by a representative;

The Intake Officer will:

  • Arrange for language translation services, if necessary;
  • Establish if your complaint is within the office’s jurisdiction and can be received and investigated under Chapter 31 (Human Rights Ordinance) of the Arlington County Code;
  • Provide you with a questionnaire to assist you in describing the specific acts of discrimination; the principal people involved, and any witnesses or evidence that can be used as a part of the investigation;
  • Discuss issues related to your complaint;
  • Prepare an official complaint;
  • Explain our investigative process including the filing and service of the complaint; the request for documents served on the Respondent; the Respondent’s answer to the complaint; your right to rebuttal; the possible conciliation process; the Final Investigative Report; and your right to request an appeal to the Human Rights Commission;
  • Inform you of your responsibilities related to the investigation of your complaint including; the need for your continued cooperation with the investigation; your help in locating your witnesses; your responsibility to notify us of any change of address or any other change affecting your investigation;
  • Assign the charge to an Investigator.
  • If this office cannot assist, refer you to other agencies or organizations that can.

The Investigator Assigned To Your Complaint will:

  • Contact you to discuss your complaint and review any documents and information that will assist us in investigating your complaint;
  • Send a copy of your complaint along with a request for documents and information to the party whom you allege is responsible for the act (s) of discrimination;
  • Review the opposing party’s response to your allegation with you; discuss and incorporate your answers and rebuttal information to the opposing party’s responses in the investigation, and give you an opportunity to provide additional relevant information and witnesses;
  • Discuss the remedy that may be available in our process;
  • Explore the possibility of resolving the Complaint prior to reaching a final determination;
  • Prepare a written Final Investigative Report containing:
    • An outline of the allegation(s) of discrimination;
    • The Respondent’s position statement;
    • An analysis of the evidence obtained in the investigation, and;
    • A final determination related to your specific charges.

We Are Fair and Impartial:

The Office of Human Rights and EEO is a neutral agency, committed to resolving complaints of alleged discrimination based on evidence discovered through professional investigative standards, conciliation, and current legal standards.

Therefore OHR staff:

  • Cannot take sides on any matter;
  • Cannot advocate for individuals, organizations, or businesses;
  • Cannot provide legal advice, legal representation, and;
  • Must base all decisions on the available evidence.