File a Complaint
You have two options for filing a complaint:
- Fill out online, print and notarize your complaint form and bring it to:
Cuyahoga County Administration Building
Attn: Department of Law, 7th Floor
2079 East Ninth Street
Cleveland, OH 44115
- Mail your notarized complaint form to:
Cuyahoga County Human Rights Commission
Attn: Department of Law
2079 East Ninth Street, 7th Floor
Cleveland, OH 44115
The Complaint must be signed and sworn to in front of a notary public.
Who can file a discrimination complaint?
You can file a complaint and pursue a discrimination claim with the Cuyahoga County Human Rights Commission (CCHRC) if you believe that you have been personally harmed by a violation of the County’s Anti-Discrimination Ordinance. The incident complained of must have occurred in Cuyahoga County within the applicable deadline.
The CCHRC receives, hears, and decides complaints of discrimination based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and Expression (SOGI), and/or SOGI Complaints in combination with discrimination based on race, color, religion, military status, national origin, disability, age, ancestry, familial status, and sex also referred to as “Hybrid Complaints” [Section 1501.03(A)(3) & (4)].
Note that anyone filing a Hybrid Complaint may have potential additional rights and remedies available by filing directly with the Ohio Civil Rights Commission (OCRC), Fair Housing Equal Opportunity (FHEO), and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) [Section 1501.03(A)(3)(B)]. The CCHRC may refer a complainant who has filed a hybrid complaint to these agencies [Section 1501.03]. If you have filed a hybrid complaint and would like to proceed under the County’s Ordinance, you must provide a notarized written statement acknowledging that you may have potential additional rights and remedies available by filing with the OCRC/FHEO/EEOC.
The CCHRC may refer a complainant who has filed a hybrid complaint to these agencies [Section 1501.03].
Complaint Filing Deadline
The Commission must receive your written and notarized complaint for housing within 330 days of the incident or conduct, and a complaint for employment or public accommodation within 150 days of the incident or conduct [See Title 15, Section 1501.03(B)].
Information you must provide in your complaint
Your complaint must contain the information listed below [See Title 15, Section 1501.03(B)]. Stating this information correctly is your responsibility. You will sign your complaint under oath in front of a notary. You may be subject to penalties for any false statements to the Commission [See Title 15, Section 1501.02(D)].
- Your name, mailing address, and telephone number.
- The correct name of each business or individual person you accuse of an ordinance violation (the “respondent”). You may name more than one respondent.
- The full and correct mailing address of each respondent. The address must be sufficient to allow the Commission to serve the complaint by U.S. Mail.
- A description of the conduct, policy, or practice which you claim is discriminatory. This description must be sufficient to inform the Commission and the respondent of the timing, locations, and facts forming the basis of your complaint.
- The date of each discriminatory action you are alleging.
- The type/s of discrimination you claim as to each alleged discriminatory action, as well as your protected status with regard to each such claim. For example, if you are alleging national origin discrimination, you would state your national origin.
- The place where the alleged injury or harm occurred. The incident complained of must have occurred in Cuyahoga County.
- The Complaint must be signed and sworn to in front of a notary public.
Preparing and filing your own complaint
You may prepare your own complaint, or your attorney may prepare it for you. Please keep these points in mind about complaints you prepare yourself:
- You must use the Commission’s Complaint Form or something substantially equivalent which contains all the required information listed above.
- You may file your complaint in person or by mail. You must make sure your complaint is received on or before the 330-day deadline date for incidents alleging housing discrimination, and 150-day deadline for employment or public accommodation related complaints [Section 1501.03(B)].
- If an attorney will be representing you in the case, he or she should file an Attorney Appearance along with the complaint.
- You are not required to serve your complaint on the respondent/s you have named. Complaints (and amended complaints will be served upon the respondent by the Commission. The Commission will provide the Complainant an acknowledgement showing the case number assigned.
- You may submit any supporting documentation.
Attorney RepresentationYou are not required to have an attorney. If you are represented, the attorney should file a notice of appearance.
After you file a complaint
Accepting your complaint for filing does not mean the Commission has decided that an ordinance violation occurred. Complaint filing only starts the process of deciding the case.
The Commission will serve your complaint by Certified U.S. Mail on each respondent you have named within 14 days pursuant to Title 15, Section 1501.03(C)(1). You will receive a mailing, which acknowledges receipt of your complaint, a copy of any answer or response filed by a respondent and a document that explains the Commission’s process and decision-making procedures. You may submit supporting documentation you want considered when the Commission decides whether there is evidence of an ordinance violation.
Responsibilities during the case
Filing a discrimination complaint is a step to take seriously. After filing, it is your responsibility to update your address and other contact information, and you must cooperate in the processing of the case. Failure to comply with notices, process or orders of the Commission may lead to dismissal of the complaint under Title 15, Section 1501.03(E).
Withdrawing a complaint
You may decide you no longer want to pursue your discrimination complaint, or some part of it. If that happens, you may withdraw your complaint by contacting the Commission in writing. The Commission will then issue a dismissal order.
Federal and State Agency Partnerships
Complainants may be directed to file their discrimination complaints with the Fair Housing Center for Rights and Research (HUD), the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or the Ohio Civil Rights Commission.