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Civil Rights

The United States Attorney's office for the Western District of Washington, in coordination with the United States Department of Justice Civil Rights Division, is responsible for enforcing the federal civil rights laws in Western Washington, both through civil litigation and criminal prosecution. Through civil litigation, the office recently enforced, among others, the following statutes:

  1. Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
  2. Fair Housing Act (FHA) and Other Statutes Prohibiting Housing Discrimination
  3. Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Act (USERRA) and Other Statutes Prohibiting Employment Discrimination
  4. Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act (FACE)
  5. Violent Crime Control and LawEenforcement Act of 1994 ("Section 14141") and Other Statutes Prohibiting Law Enforcement Misconduct
  6. Equal Educational Opportunities Act of 1974 (EEOA)

The Criminal Division prosecutes violations of the criminal civil rights laws, including laws prohibiting hate crimes and the use of unreasonable force by those acting under color of law.

The office welcomes information from the public that brings to our attention possible violations of our nation's civil rights laws. At the same time, while the scope of our civil rights practice is broad, the authority of the United States Department of Justice to investigate and seek relief for individual complaining parties for alleged civil rights violations is limited. We may investigate and seek to remedy alleged discriminatory conduct only where and in the manner specifically authorized by law. For example, the office has authority to investigate and seek to remedy patterns and practices of certain unlawful discriminatory conduct, but we generally do not have the authority to represent individuals in their pursuit of private civil rights claims.

Additionally, when the office handles individual civil rights cases, it is most often only after they have been investigated and referred to us by another federal agency, such as the following:

  1. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (for employment discrimination)
  2. United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (for housing discrimination)
  3. United States Department of Education, Office of Civil Rights (for discrimination in education)
  4. United States Department of Labor (for violations of USERRA)
  5. Office of Special Counsel (for immigration related unfair employment practices)

If you have information concerning a potential violation of the federal civil rights laws that you wish to bring to our attention, please go to the Dept. of Justice How to File a Complaint website and follow the instructions.  Alternatively, you may complete the Civil Rights Unit Complaint Form or the Civil Rights Unit Complaint Form - Spanish version and email or fax it to the Civil Rights Coordinator in our Civil Division.

J. Michael Diaz
Civil Rights Coordinator, Civil Division
Email to: USAWAW.Civil-Rights@usdoj.gov
United States Attorney's Office
700 Stewart St., Suite 5220
Seattle, WA 98101

(206) 553-7970
Attn: J. Michael Diaz, Civil Rights Coordinator, Civil Division

 

 

 

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