How to File a Complaint
Filing a Complaint
To begin the intake process, you must complete an Intake Questionnaire Form and return it to our office via mail, facsimile, or in person (the Office does not accept Intake Questionnaire Forms online at this time). The questionnaire is for information purposes only, and is not a formal complaint of discrimination. If you cannot access the online form, please contact the Office to have one mailed or faxed to you. Potential complainants may also come to the Office of Human Rights without an appointment to fill out an Intake Questionnaire Form.
Once you have returned your Intake Questionnaire Form to our Office, a Human Rights Investigator will conduct an intake interview. Intake is conducted between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, as well as in the evening by appointment. Our office makes every effort to contact potential complainants within two days of receiving an Intake Questionnaire Form.
The Investigator will review your Intake Questionnaire Form, determine whether our Office has jurisdiction over the complaint, and conduct a detailed interview with you to assess the facts relevant to your claim. During your interview, the Investigator will explain the relevant legal standards you must meet as a complainant, advise you regarding the filing of a formal complaint of discrimination, and answer any questions you may have. The Investigator may also offer you other appropriate alternatives to filing a formal discrimination complaint.
If you decide to move forward with a formal complaint, the Investigator will prepare a complaint for you to sign. All complaints must be signed under oath or affirmation and notarized. There are notaries available at our office. At some point during the filing process, the Intake Investigator may ask you to consider mediation. We encourage you to take advantage of our free mediation program if you think mediation may be helpful.
After the complaint is entered into our computer system (and dual filed with the EEOC if applicable), it is served on the Respondent (the party that allegedly engaged in discriminatory behavior). Once filed, the formal investigation process begins.
Individuals who need accommodation in order to file a charge or take part in the investigative process (e.g., sign language interpreter or other language assistance, print materials in an accessible format, etc.) are asked to make such requests at least 72 hours in advance so that appropriate arrangements can be made.
Complainants are encouraged to contact the Office promptly when discrimination is suspected. The Office strongly advises that all complaints be filed within 180 days from the date of the last alleged discriminatory act. When charges or complaints are filed beyond mandatory time limits, you may not be able to obtain any remedy. To protect your right to file a private lawsuit under federal law, should you ultimately decide to, adhere to the following guidelines when filing a charge:
File Within 300 Days of Last Alleged Discriminatory Act:
- Title VII
- Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
- Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA)
- Alexandria Human Rights Code (excluding housing)
File Within 365 Days of Last Alleged Discriminatory Act:
- Housing Claims Under Alexandria Human Rights Code