Frequently Asked Questions

Who May File A Complaint?

Anyone who believes that he/she has experienced discrimination in Howard County in the areas of Employment, Housing, Public Accommodation, Law Enforcement or Finance and you are covered by one or more of the following 16 protected basis:

Race
Religion
Creed
Marital Status
Familial Status
Sex
Age
Sexual Orientation
Personal Appearance
Source of Income
Color
National Origin
Physical or Mental Disability
Occupation
Gender Identity

You do not need to be a resident of Howard County. 

How Do I File a Complaint?

You must file your complaint with the Office of Human Rights at 9820 Patuxent Woods Drive, Suite 237, Columbia, MD 21046. Please call OHR at 410-313-6430 for specific information. Our hours of operation are Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. 

A complaint must be filed within 6 months of the alleged discrimination, except housing complaints must be filed within 1 year of the discriminatory behavior.

If I file with OHR, should I also file with EEOC?

No, if the complaint is cross-jurisdictional with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), OHR will cross-file the complaint with EEOC. You should not file separately with both.  Call OHR with any questions.

Do I need a lawyer to have my complaint investigated?

You do not need a lawyer to go through this process, but you may elect to obtain one at any time. OHR does not provide lawyers for parties to a complaint.

What happens after complaints are filed?

All complaints are investigated unless the Administrator finds lack of jurisdiction or no merit to the complaint. The Respondent is notified of the investigation a