About Civil Rights Department (CRD)
Safeguarding Civil Rights
Who we are and what we do:
The California Civil Rights Department (CRD) enforces many of California’s robust civil rights laws, including in the areas of employment, housing, business and public accommodations, state-funded programs and activities, professional relationships, hate violence, human trafficking.
Members of the public can directly file civil rights complaints with CRD. Each year, CRD investigates thousands of complaints. In many of these cases, CRD can bring the people involved together to resolve the complaint, including through mediation. CRD helps parties secure settlements in hundreds of cases each year. Where appropriate, CRD also files files lawsuits in court to protect the civil rights of the people of California.
Among other initiatives to promote civil rights, CRD conducts extensive outreach and education to ensure Californians have information about their rights and responsibilities with the goal of reducing discrimination; provides free conflict resolution services to communities; annually collects and analyzes pay data from tens of thousands of employers with the goal of identifying and reducing sex- and race-based pay disparities; runs a fair housing testing program; and operates the California vs. Hate Resource Line and Network, which provides services to those targeted for hate.
How can you get help
If you feel you were the victim of discrimination, hate, or other civil rights violations, CRD is available to investigate and support you in efforts to resolve your complaint. To begin the process, you can file a complaint in one of three ways:
- Online by creating an account and using our interactive Cal Civil Rights System, CCRS
- By mail using a printable intake form
- By reaching out to our Communication Center using information on our contact us page
CRD will evaluate the allegations in the intake form and determine whether the laws that CRD enforces cover the allegations in your complaint.
CRD is the institutional centerpiece of California’s broad commitment to civil rights. Born out of a decades-long struggle against discrimination, CRD has been at the forefront of protecting the rights of Californians since its inception. Today, CRD is the largest state civil rights agency in the country.
The history of the Department begins in 1959 with the creation of the Fair Employment Practices Commission to implement California’s first state-wide protections against discrimination in the workplace.
In 1980, the Fair Employment Practices Act of 1959 and the Rumford Fair Housing Act of 1963 were combined and renamed the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). The Fair Employment Practices Commission became a department-level agency named the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) to enforce that law.
In July 2022, the Department of Fair Employment and Housing’s name changed to the Civil Rights Department to more accurately reflect the department’s broadening duties, which include enforcement of laws prohibiting hate violence, human trafficking, discrimination in business establishments, and discrimination in government-funded programs and activities, among others.
Since 2013, CRD has housed the Civil Rights Council, a body that issues regulations to ensure that FEHA and other laws enforced by the department are interpreted and implemented in a way that is fair and that protects the public to the full extent of the law. At the same time, the legislature created the Dispute Resolution Division which provides free, out-of-court mediation services to the public.
Since 2022, CRD has housed the , Commission on the State of Hate, a body that monitors trends in hate activity in the state, engages in research on hate activity, increases awareness of the state of hate through public forums and collaborations, and makes recommendations about how to prevent and respond to hate activity.