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Civil Rights

In July 2016, U.S. Attorney Randolph J. Seiler formed the Civil Rights Section of the United States Attorney’s Office to aggressively enforce federal civil rights laws and increase community engagement throughout the District of South Dakota.

In collaboration with the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, the Civil Rights Section works to uphold the civil and constitutional rights of all South Dakotans, particularly those of the most vulnerable members of society. Through civil litigation, the Department of Justice enforces over twenty federal statutes, ensuring that South Dakotans enjoy equal opportunity and equal justice under the law despite race, color, sex, disability, religion, familial status, and national origin. The Department of Justice 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 USAO’s innovative strategies to combat sex trafficking have been adopted nationwide, and several of our prosecutors are recognized as national experts.

The Civil Rights Section welcomes any information that brings to light possible violations of our nation’s civil rights laws. If you have information concerning a potential violation of federal civil rights laws, please follow these instructions:


Employment Discrimination:
Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title VII”), it is unlawful to discriminate against someone in any aspect of employment on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex (including pregnancy and gender identity), or religion. It is also unlawful to retaliate against a person because the person complained about discrimination, filed a charge of discrimination, or participated in an employment discrimination investigation or lawsuit. To file an employment discrimination claim under Title VII, contact your local office of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”).

The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (“USERRA”) prohibits employers from discriminating or retaliating against an employee or applicant for employment because of such person’s past, current, or future military obligation. To file an employment discrimination claim based on your status as a service member or veteran, complete Form 1010 on the U.S. Department of Labor’s Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (“VETS”) website.

Housing Discrimination:
The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in the sale or rental of housing on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, familial status, or disability. To file a housing discrimination claim, contact your local office of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development or file a complaint online.


Deprivation of Rights under Color of Law:
It is a crime for a person acting under color of law, including local, state, or federal government officials, to willfully deprive a person of a right or privilege protected by the Constitution or law of the United States. To report a claim based on the deprivation of rights under color of law, please contact the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Minneapolis Field Office.

Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances
The Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (“FACE”) law makes it unlawful for a person to use force, threat of force, or physical obstruction to intentionally injure or intimidate a person because he/she is or has been obtaining or providing reproductive health services. To report a violation of FACE, contact the Federal Bureau of Investigations, Minneapolis Field Office.

Hate Crime:
Hate crimes include acts of physical harm and specific criminal threats motivated by animus based on race, color, national origin, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identify, or disability. To report a hate crime, please contact your local police department.

Human Trafficking
Human Trafficking includes forced labor, domestic servitude, and commercial sex trafficking. The U.S. Attorney’s Office prosecutes crimes in violation of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 and the Justice for Victim Trafficking Act of 2015. The U.S. Attorney’s Office and federal investigative agencies often collaborate with state and local law enforcement to investigate and prosecute these crimes. If you have knowledge of a person(s) being trafficked, please contact the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Minneapolis Field Office.

If your information does not fit one of the above-described categories, please complete the Civil Rights Section Complaint Form and mail it to the Civil Rights Section:

Alison J. Ramsdell
Civil Rights Coordinator
P.S. Box 2638
Sioux Falls, SD 57101-2638

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. The Civil Rights Section generally does not have the authority to represent individuals in their pursuit of private civil rights claims.

Para información de sus derechos civiles en Español, se visita

Updated July 3, 2018

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