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Civil Rights

Civil Rights

Overview

The United States Attorney’s Office for the District of South Carolina is committed to protecting the civil and constitutional rights of all Americans, particularly some of the most vulnerable members of our society. The United States Attorney’s Office enforces federal statutes prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, disability, religion, familial status, and national origin. We also enforce other laws that protect servicemembers, veterans, voting rights, prisoner rights, and educational opportunities. The United States Attorney’s Office also enforces criminal laws regarding hate crimes, police misconduct, and human trafficking.

The office welcomes information from the public that brings our attention to possible violations of our nation's civil rights laws. The United States Department of Justice’s jurisdiction to investigate and seek relief for individual complaining parties for alleged civil rights violations is limited to causes of action specifically authorized by law. The office does not have the authority to represent individuals in their pursuit of private civil rights claims for damages. As an example of how we enforce federal civil rights statutes, as you can see from our news releases, the United States Attorney’s Office brings criminal cases against individuals who are engaged in human trafficking and who commit hate crimes.

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

  • Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (for employment discrimination)

  • United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (for housing discrimination)

  • United States Department of Education, Office of Civil Rights (for discrimination in education)

  • United States Department of Labor (for violations of USERRA)

Office of Special Counsel (for immigration related unfair employment practices)