Frequently Asked Questions

​Here are the most commonly asked questions about our process. If you have question, please call 410-767-8600.​​

Filing a Complaint

What if I have been the victim of discrimination? What is the first step?

​Your first step is to file an inquiry through our intake unit.  The Intake Unit, which is a part of the Case Processing Department, is ready to assist you if you believe you are a victim of discrimination and wish to file a complaint. 

Click HERE to file a complaint  

Can I file a complaint anonymously?

​It is possible to file a complaint of discrimination anonymously, but there are a few things to keep in mind. Choosing to remain anonymous may make it difficult for the Commission to conduct a thorough investigation, as we may be unable to contact you for more information. Therefore, it's important to consider the potential impact of anonymity on the investigation before making a decision.​

What information and documentation do I need to provide when filing a complaint?

When submitting a discrimination complaint, providing detailed and relevant information is important. This includes personal information, details about the person or organization accused of discrimination, and a clear description of the incident. It is important to provide specific details such as dates, times, witnesses, and any supporting evidence. It is also helpful to explain the emotional and professional impact of the incident. If there have been any previous related incidents or complaints, they should be noted, as well as any internal attempts to address the issue. By providing this information, the Commission can conduct a thorough investigation and take appropriate action.  

What kind of evidence do I need to provide?

If you have evidence to support or substantiate the allegations made in the complaint, by all means, provide that evidence to your investigator as soon as possible. You want to put your best evidence forward because the time to provide evidence is during the investigation, not after a determination has been made. When it comes to witnesses, we do not need character witnesses. Your investigator wants to hear from people with direct and actual knowledge of the events alleged in the complaint.​

How long do I have to file?

The anti-discrimination laws give you a limited amount of time to file a charge of employment discrimination. You need to file a charge within 300 calendar days from the day the discrimination took place. Regardless of how much time you have to file, it is best to file as soon as you have decided that is what you would like to do.​​  For housing, complaints must be filed within one year  the day the discrimination took place.​  Public accommodations discrimination must be filed within six (6) months from the day the discrimination took place.​.

Time limits for filing a charge with MCCR generally will not be extended while you attempt to resolve a dispute through another forum such as an internal grievance procedure, a union grievance, arbitration or mediation before filing a charge with MCCR. Other forums for resolution may be pursued at the same time as the processing of the MCCR charge.

Holidays and weekends are included in the calculation, although if the deadline falls on a weekend or holiday, you will have until the next business day. Figuring out how much time you have to file a charge is complicated. If you aren't sure how much time is left, you should contact our office as soon as possible so we can assess whether you still have time.

​ Also, if more than one discriminatory event took place, the deadline usually applies to each event. For example, let's say you were demoted and then fired a year later. You believe the employer based its decision to demote and fire you on your race, and you file a charge the day after your discharge. In this case, only your claim of discriminatory discharge is timely. In other words, you must have filed a charge challenging the demotion within 300 days from the day you were demoted. If you didn't, we would only investigate your discharge. There is one exception to this general rule and that is if you are alleging ongoing harassment.

What are the protected classes covered under employment and housing discrimination laws?

The protected classes covered under employment and housing discrimination laws include race, color, religion or creed, sex, age, ancestry or national origin, marital status, physical or mental disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information (employment only), familial status (housing only), and source of income (housing only).​

Will my complaint be confidential, and what are the privacy protections?

Complaints are confidential, and MCCR does not release information to the general public until the matter reaches the stage of a public hearing. However, the complainant's name and basic information about the allegations are disclosed to the employer.

Are there any resources or assistance available to help me understand my rights and navigate the complaint process?

Various resources and assistance are available to help individuals understand their rights and navigate the complaint process, including legal aid organizations, civil rights advocacy groups, government agencies, online guides, community workshops, legal clinics, hotlines, public libraries, and professional legal advice.

Case Processing Questions

What is the process after I file a complaint?

The other side, called the Respondent(s) is given a copy of the complaint and instructions about the process. This also provides them with an opportunity to conduct their own investigation and respond to the allegations. Upon completion of their investigation, they send a position statement specifically addressing the Complainant's allegations and providing evidence to substantiate their response to the allegations. At that time, the investigator will question the Complainant about the Respondent's answer to the complaint. The investigator will collect evidence and/or interview witnesses with direct and actual knowledge of the events that prompted the complaint, and the investigator will attempt to settle the case if the parties are willing to do so.​

How long will the investigation take?

It's difficult to predict how long an investigation will take. There are so many variables that are out of our control. Sometimes obtaining evidence (documents and/or witnesses) can be a lengthy process. Other times, it can happen very quickly. We cannot predict, with any reasonable degree of certainty, how long an investigation will take. Additionally, we would rather not be held to a timeline that we cannot keep.​

What kind of evidence do I need to provide?

If you have evidence to support or substantiate the allegations made in the complaint, by all means, provide that evidence to your investigator as soon as possible. You want to put your best evidence forward because the time to provide evidence is during the investigation, not after a determination has been made. When it comes to witnesses, we do not need character witnesses. Your investigator wants to hear from people with direct and actual knowledge of the events alleged in the complaint.​

Do I need to get an attorney?

Our agency engages in an administrative process that is designed to be user-friendly. Although an attorney is not required to complete the process, that is your decision to make. We cannot advise you either way. If you choose to retain counsel, please be advised that all future communications will be with your counsel who will be responsible for passing that information to you.​

Is it possible to request a different Investigator?

The core values of this agency lay on the principles of respect, integrity, and effective communication. Our core values guide the decision-making, actions and behaviors of everything we do. To that end, if you have concerns with your assigned Investigator you should raise those concerns to the assigned Investigator to give them the opportunity to address your concerns. Should your concerns be unresolved you should contact the Investigator Supervisor to resolve the problems you are having. If you have done that, and your concerns are still present, you may submit a written request by email ( to the Deputy Director for their consideration. In your request, please include the following:

  • Case Name:
  • ​Case Number:
  • The Reason for the Request:
  • The steps you have already taken to resolve the problem:

Why do I need to sign a HIPAA form?

If you are alleging that you were discriminated against based on a disability, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) form is required for the investigator to verify your disability. It is a legal requirement to verify your disability if your complaint alleges that as the basis of the discrimination you experienced.​

When will a decision be made and how will I be notified?

It depends on how the case is resolved. If you fail to cooperate in the investigation, fail to maintain current contact information with the agency, change your mind and withdraw your complaint, or we don't have jurisdiction, the case may be administratively closed, and you will receive a letter. If there is a settlement, also known as a Pre-Determination Settlement agreement, you will be an integral part of that process and will know the outcome in real time. If a Written Finding (WF) is issued, the investigator will attempt to contact you for an exit interview and to notify you that the WF is being mailed to you.​

When do we go to court?

Very few cases that start with this administrative process end up in court. Some, not all, of our cases conduct an in-house Fact-Finding Conference (FFC) which is often compared to a hearing. It is not a hearing. The FFC is an opportunity for all parties to meet and discuss the allegations and provide information to the investigator to enable them to make informed decisions. This process is not guaranteed in all cases. Your investigator will let you know if your case is best suited to an FFC.​

How much is my case worth?

To resolve your case, the investigator will attempt settlement negotiations. They will ask what remedy you are seeking. The investigator can guide you based on experience, but no one is able to predict what type of settlement, if any, will result. Two seemingly similar cases can have vastly different outcomes, based solely on the willingness of the parties to resolve it. Complainants should be prepared to provide a list of their quantifiable damages (damages you can prove e.g., in a wrongful eviction case this would include application fees for new housing, truck rental to move furniture to storage, storage of furniture while looking for a new place etc.; basically, things you can show receipts for) and intangible damages (damages that are difficult to put a dollar figure on, i.e., embarrassment, hurt, anxiety etc.). Your investigator will help you determine what a reasonable proposal looks like. Generally, Respondents are more receptive if the desired remedy is based on quantifiable damages rather than just picking a number at random. Occasionally, an unreasonable proposal will frustrate the process and turn a Respondent willing to negotiate a remedy into an unwilling Respondent.

What is the role of MCCR in handling employment, housing, and public accommodations charges?

The Maryland Commission on Civil Rights (MCCR) is accountable for addressing allegations of discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations. They review complaints from individuals who feel that they have been discriminated against and may also start an investigation based on trustworthy information indicating discriminatory practices.

Case Ruling Questions

What should I do if I do not agree with the Written Finding (WF)?

If you receive a No Probable Cause (NPC) WF, that does not mean that the investigator did not believe that you were discriminated against or that nothing happened to you. More likely than not, there wasn’t enough evidence to substantiate the discrimination allegation(s) in the complaint. The agency must satisfy all of the legal requirements of each issue.​

I do not agree with the decision that was made in my case. How do I appeal the decision that was made?

Pursuant to the Commission’s Rules of Procedure, Comar (F), a Charging Party may request reconsideration of a written determination. A request for reconsideration may be filed within 15 days after the decision was mailed. The 15-day deadline applies to most decisions, to include, No Probable Cause, No Jurisdiction, Failure to Cooperate, and Failure to Locate. The request for reconsideration should be emailed to the Deputy Director. Please include your name, case number, and the reason (s) for the appeal. ​

If the application for reconsideration is granted, the case will be reopened, and the matter will be remanded to the investigative staff for appropriate action. If the application is denied no further action will be taken by the Commission, and the parties will be notified of the decision.

How long do I have to file for a request for reconsideration?

Determinations are sent to Charging Party’s by certified mail. If a Charging Party files a late request for reconsideration because he or she did not receive proper notice of the determination, the certified mail receipt will be reviewed to determine the mailing history of the determination. The Deputy Director will determine if there is good cause for filing a late request for reconsideration based on the certified mailing receipt. Please note that it is the Charging Party responsibility to inform this agency of any address/telephone changes.

​ If a request for reconsideration is filed late due to a Charging Party's illness or some other emergency, the Deputy Director will likely honor the late appeal based on evidence submitted by the Charging Party verifying the illness/emergency. The same result will occur if the late appeal was caused by this agency error or confusion caused by the agency. A Charging Party's failure to act upon actual notice is generally not good cause for a late appeal. Likewise, the failure of a Charging Party's authorized representative to file a timely appeal is not good cause for a late appeal.

I would like to request a copy of my case file.

To file a Maryland Public Information Act (MPIA) requests must be in writing (no particular form or format is required), reasonably describe the records of information sought. MPIA requests only applies to closed cases. Request should be addressed to the Executive Associate by email (​) or mail at Maryland Commission on Civil Rights 6 Saint Paul Street, Suite 900- Baltimore, Maryland 21202-1631. With your MPIA request, please include a charge number (EEOC/HUD/MCCR) and a copy of a bill of complaint filed with a court of jurisdiction. Please also identify your client in your request.

This bill of complaint is necessary to satisfy MCCR's confidentiality clause contained in State Government Article, §20-1101, Annotated Code of Maryland. This law requires that the contents of an investigative file (and even the existence of a complaint of unlawful discrimination) must be protected from public disclosure "...until the matter reaches the stage of public hearings". The only exception to this is if both the Complainant and Respondent agree in writing to the Commission to the disclosure of information contained in the investigative file.

Fees are 25 cents per copied page plus postage (if mailed). Invoices will be mailed and must be paid in full before the file will be released to the requesting party.

Questions can be directed to the Office of the General Counsel at 410.767.4504.

What are the potential outcomes or remedies if my complaint is found to be valid?

If a complaint is found to be valid, potential outcomes or remedies may include financial compensation, punitive damages, injunctive relief, reinstatement or promotion, reasonable accommodations, attorney's fees and costs, mandatory training or education, and policy revisions to prevent future discrimination.​

Can I pursue legal action if MCCR's investigation does not resolve my complaint satisfactorily?

 If MCCR's investigation does not resolve a complaint satisfactorily, individuals may choose to pursue legal action by filing a lawsuit in a court of law.

Employment Discrimination Questions

What are my employment civil rights?

Under the laws enforced by MCCR, it is illegal to discriminate against someone (applicant or employee) because of that person's race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, ​​gender identity, sexual orientation, age, disability, or genetic information. It is also illegal to retaliate against a person because he or she complained about discrimination, filed a charge of discrimination, or participated in an employment discrimination investigation or lawsuit. The law forbids discrimination in every aspect of employment.

This means that:

  • Employers cannot discriminate in recruiting, interviewing, hiring, upgrading, setting work conditions, or discharging.
  • Labor organizations cannot deny membership to qualified persons or discriminate in apprenticeship programs.
  • Employment agencies cannot discriminate in job referrals, ask discriminatory pre-employment questions, or circulate information that unlawfully limits employment.
  • Newspapers and other media cannot publish job advertisements that discriminate.​
Click HERE​ to read about specific employment policies that are discriminatory

How can I file a complaint regarding employment discrimination?

 To report cases of employment discrimination, individuals can fill out an online inquiry form. Once submitted, the Intake Unit will schedule an interview with the individual, either by phone or in person, to complete the process. The individual must then sign and return any necessary documents, including the Charge of Discrimination, before the complaint can be officially filed.​

Housing Discrimination Questions

What is housing discrimination?

​The Maryland Commission on Civil Rights enforces Maryland's anti-discrimination laws prohibiting housing discrimination because of ones race, sex, age, color, creed, national origin, marital status, sexual orientation, source of income, familiar status, gender identity, or disability.   Housing discrimination laws make it illegal to:

  • Refuse to rent a dwelling to any qualified buyer or renter;
  • Use discriminatory terms and conditions in selling or renting;
  • Set terms and conditions of home loans in such a way as to discriminate;
  • Use discriminatory notices or advertisements indicating a preference or discriminatory limitations;
  • Say that a dwelling is not available for inspection, sale, or rent when, in fact, it is available;
  • Attempt to steer persons into or away from neighborhoods or apartment complexes due to being members of a protected clas
  • Request information about birth control and/or family planning practices;
  • Refuse to consider both applicants' incomes when seeking to buy or rent;
  • Commit acts of prejudice, violence, harassment, intimidation, or abuse directed against families or individuals or their residential property.​​

What types of housing discrimination cases does MCCR handle?

MCCR is an organization that handles various types of housing discrimination cases. These cases include but are not limited to, refusal to rent, discriminatory lending practices, instances of individuals being steered into or away from particular neighborhoods, and acts of prejudice, violence, or harassment against individuals or their residential property.​

Public Accommodation Questions

What is Public Accommodation?

Public accommodations are generally defined as facilities, whether publicly or privately owned, that are used by the public at large.​

Examples of public accomodations include, but are not limited to:

  • Restaurants
  • Hotels​
  • Theatres
  • Bus & Transportation Services
  • Recreational & Aquatic Centers
  • Governmental Facilities
  • Gas Stations, Department Stores & Retail Establishments
  • Sidewalks, Parking Lots, & Other Public Surface Areas
  • Office Buildings & Commercial Establishments
  • Museums, Amusement Parks, & Other Public Attractions
  • Hospitals or Related Institutions (State Government Article, §19-355)​

What are my rights?

​It is unlawful for an owner or operator of a place of public accommodation or an agent/employee of the owner or operator to refuse, withhold from, or deny to anyone the accommodations, advantages, facilities and privileges of a place of public accommodation because of race, sex, age, color, creed, national origin, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability.​

Examples of equal access include, but is not limited to:

  • Entrances & Exits
  • Restrooms
  • Customer Sales & Services

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