Federal Financial Assistance Fact Sheet for the Public to File Civil Rights Complaints

063 FW 2
Originating Office
Office of Diversity and Inclusive Workforce Management

The following information will help people who want to file a civil rights complaint against a recipient of Federal financial assistance:

1. Who can file a civil rights complaint? If you believe a recipient of Federal financial assistance has discriminated against you on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, or sex (in educational programs), you may file a complaint.

2. Are there time limits for filing complaints of discrimination? You must file a complaint within 180 days of the incident that you believe was discriminatory. There are no time limits if you are complaining about an ongoing policy or practice.

3. Where should I send my complaint? Please send your written complaint to:

Civil Rights Coordinator for Public Access

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

4401 N. Fairfax Drive, Mail Stop: WSFR-4020

Arlington, VA  22203

4. Can I complain and remain anonymous to the recipient I am complaining about? Yes. When you file a complaint, we will ask you if you want to identify yourself in the complaint action. If you say no, then we will inform the recipient that we received a complaint from someone who wants to remain anonymous. We will still investigate your allegation. However, if you do not identify yourself, you will not be entitled to any personal remedies if we determine that the recipient violated a civil rights law or regulation.

5. What happens after I file a complaint?

We will:

· Investigate your allegation by asking the recipient to respond in writing,

· Share that response with you for comment,

· Seek sufficient documentation and evidence to determine whether discrimination or a civil rights violation occurred, and

· Seek to resolve the issue informally whenever possible.

There are several ways we can resolve or adjudicate your complaint.  We may:

· Ask you and the recipient to sign a resolution agreement, 

· Issue a nondiscrimination decision, 

· Issue a nondiscrimination decision that includes issues of concern, or

· Write a violation letter and give the recipient a chance to correct the violation or face enforcement actions.

You have the right to file a civil action in a U.S. District court if you allege intentional discrimination.

6. Am I protected from retaliation if I file a civil rights complaint against a recipient? Yes. The regulations on processing complaints prohibit retaliation against a person filing a complaint. See 43 CFR Part 17, Subpart A, Section 17.6(e).