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Civil Rights Complaint

The Civil Rights Enforcement Section protects and advances the rights of Pennsylvanians through the enforcement of state and federal civil rights laws. We review every complaint of a civil rights violation to determine the proper response – whether to attempt to correct the situation or to make a referral to another agency in a better position to help. The Section retains, investigates, and pursues matters with a potential for high impact on people’s rights.

Please read the following criteria before downloading or submitting the Civil Rights Complaint Form.

The Office of Attorney General regularly receives information concerning various complaints and allegations from individuals that their civil rights have been violated by local or state government, business or other individuals. Frequently, they seek the intervention of the Office of Attorney General to act as their counsel or to otherwise participate in actions against the offending party.

The Attorney General’s Office utilizes an informal set of criteria in order to determine the appropriateness of their intervention in any particular case. The following constitute the factors utilized to evaluate the appropriateness of intervention:

  1. The number of individuals affected by the alleged discrimination.
  2. The likelihood that victims or other groups will bring suit to vindicate the affected rights.
  3. The extent of pervasiveness of the discrimination.
  4. The degree to which the discriminatory treatment or incident sets forth a novel issue or an issue of importance in the Commonwealth.
  5. The extent to which there exists participation by known hate groups such as the Ku Klux Klan.
  6. The extent to which a particular situation, if not addressed, could escalate into a more serious problem.

When we receive your completed Civil Complaint Form, it will be reviewed by our staff.

Depending on the nature of the complaint, you may need to do the following:

  1. You may be advised to file a complaint with the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission (PHRC). We cannot forward your complaint to the PHRC. You must personally contact that agency and file the appropriate paperwork within 180 days of the alleged act of harm.
  2. You may be advised to file a complaint with another state or federal agency. You will be notified by mail of the name and address of the referral agency or group, so that you may contact them for information about your complaint.
  3. You may also be advised to seek relief through your own lawyer.

Please Note: As part of the complaint handling process, the Section may send a copy of this form to the individual or company against whom your complaint is filed. Failure to supply your complete and accurate contact information may result in delayed processing of your complaint.

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