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Civil Rights Program

The Office’s Civil Rights Program helps enforce federal civil rights laws aimed at prohibiting discrimination and ensuring equal opportunity in New Hampshire. The program also prosecutes hate crimes, human trafficking, and other criminal civil rights violations.

Civil Enforcement

The Civil Rights Program works with DOJ’s Civil Rights Division to enforce federal statutes prohibiting discrimination based on protected status or characteristics, including:

  • Race/color
  • Disability, including temporary or in recovery
  • Religion
  • Sex, gender identity, and sexual orientation
  • Immigration/citizenship status
  • Language and national origin, including ancestry and ethnicity
  • Family, marital, or parental status, including pregnancy
  • Age
  • Genetic identification
  • Servicemember or veteran status

Some areas which the Civil Rights Program commonly investigates include access or accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA); equal opportunities in housing, employment and education; voting access and protection of the right to vote; protections for institutionalized persons; and protections for houses of worship and religious organizations.

Filing Complaints with Other Federal Agencies

In certain areas, our office only becomes involved with an individual’s claims after they have been filed with, and investigated by, another federal agency. Examples may include:

•    Employment discrimination: Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
•    Housing discrimination: U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
•    Education discrimination: U.S. Department of Education, Office of Civil Rights
•    Servicemember/veteran employment rights under USERRA: U.S. Department of Labor

Criminal Enforcement

Our Civil Rights Program can also prosecute federal criminal civil rights offenses, such as hate crimes, human trafficking, and other crimes that affect the civil rights of New Hampshire citizens.

The Civil Rights Program works closely with its federal investigatory partners, including the FBI and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). For more information, please visit: or

Individuals can learn more about reporting hate crimes and human trafficking here.

What is a Hate Crime?

A crime + motivation for committing the crime based on hate = hate crime

An act (or attempted act in some cases) that violates criminal law and is motivated by bias may be a prosecutable hate crime.

At the federal level, this can include crimes motivated by bias against race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity or disability. 

However, not all hateful behavior, including hate speech, is a crime. Acts of prejudice that are not crimes and do not involve violence may include threats, or certain property damage. These incidents are considered bias or hate incidents and, despicable and unnerving as they are, may not rise to the level of a crime. We nevertheless encourage citizens to report such incidents to local police and city/town representatives to help them educate, inform, and protect all our communities. Not everyone who engages in hate speech will escalate to committing a hate crime. When it does happen, however, documentation of these incidents could potentially be useful in a criminal prosecution.

Learn more about hate crimes.

Hate Crimes Impact Everyone

If you believe you are the victim of a hate crime:

Report It

  • In an emergency, always dial 911 or your local police to get immediate help.
  • If the situation is no longer an emergency, you may report a potential hate crime to your local police, the FBI, or both.
  • Learn more about how to report a hate crime.

Get Support

  • You are not alone - reach out to friends, community groups, victim support groups.  Our office can also provide resources in certain cases. 
File a Public Complaint

We welcome information concerning possible violations of federal civil rights laws. However, please not that our office does not represent individuals and cannot be your lawyer. If you would like to file a complaint, please do so by using the form at the link below. Our office reviews each complaint it receives. In an emergency, call 911 or your local law enforcement.