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Civil Rights Enforcement

The United States Attorney’s Office enforces civil rights laws that prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, national origin, sex (including sexual orientation and gender identity), disability, familial status, and religion, among other protected areas. We affirm equal opportunity in areas including housing, lending, employment (in state and local governments), education, public accommodations, land use, and voting, as well as the rights of individuals with disabilities and English language learners. The United States Attorney’s Office enforces more than 20 statutes prohibiting discrimination, including, but not limited to:

Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 12101 et seq.
The ADA protects the rights of individuals with disabilities in employment (title I), to access state and local governmental services (title II), and in public accommodations such as restaurants, shopping malls, and sports arenas (title III). 

Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3601 et seq.
The FHA prohibits discrimination by landlords and others who discriminate against individuals and families based on race, color, religion, sex (including sexual orientation and gender identity), national origin, familial status, or disability.  

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000 et seq.
The Department of Justice works to stop discrimination by state and local government employers against employees based upon race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy and related conditions, sexual orientation, and gender identity), or national origin.

Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA), 42 U.S.C. § 1997 et seq.
Under CRIPA, the Department of Justice may investigate and commence civil actions against state and local governments who engage in patterns or practices of depriving persons of their constitutional and statutory rights in institutional settings such as jails, prisons, long-term care facilities, and psychiatric hospitals.
Unformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA), 38 U.S.C. §§ 4301 et seq.
The Department of Justice may bring lawsuits against private, state, and local government employers for violations of USERRA in cooperation with the Department of Labor (DOL).  USERRA entitles servicemembers to return to their civilian employment upon completion of their military service with the seniority, status, and rate of pay that they would have obtained had they remained continuously employed by their civilian employer.  USERRA also prohibits discrimination based on present, past, and future military service.

Other civil statutes we enforce include:

Title IV of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000c-6 (prohibiting discrimination, including segregation, in public schools and institutions of higher learning).

Equal Educational Opportunities Act of 1974 (EEOA), 20 U.S.C. § 1703 (among other things, requiring state education agencies and school districts to take action to overcome language barriers that impede English Language Learner students from participating equally in state and district educational programs).

Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000d (prohibiting discrimination in programs receiving federal assistance).

Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972, 20 U.S.C. § 1681 et seq. (prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sex in any federal funded education program or activity).

Title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000a (prohibiting discrimination in public accommodations).

Civil Rights Outreach
In addition to investigating and pursuing violations of federal civil rights laws, the United States Attorney’s Office conducts outreach with and training for advocates, state and local agencies, and community members throughout the district. The office’s civil rights outreach efforts are aimed at engaging with the public to identify and redress civil rights violations; its training efforts are designed to proactively educate people on their rights and obligations under the law to prevent a civil rights violation from happening in the first place. For example, the office has participated in a number of roundtable discussions with advocates about issues such as fair housing, disability rights, LGBTQI+ issues, and hate crimes.

Reporting of Civil Rights Violations
The United States Attorney’s Office welcomes information from the public regarding possible violations of civil rights laws. To inform the United States Attorney’s Office of a civil rights issue or complaint, please contact the Civil Rights Coordinator at 701-297-7400 or submit a complaint online with the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division at:

Please note that the authority of the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate and seek relief for alleged civil rights violations is limited to that which is specifically authorized by law. With limited exceptions, the U.S. Attorney's Office represents the United States of America, not any specific individual.

Updated February 5, 2024