Information for Complainants and Respondents

Chapter 12, Article II Of City of Columbia’s Code of Ordinances prohibits discrimination in employment, housing and places of public accommodation on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, ancestry, marital status, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, familial status (housing only), age (employment only), receipt of governmental assistance, alienage or citizenship status, status as a victim of sexual or domestic violence, or order of protection status.

Human Rights Invesigator’s role during an investigation of any complaint is that of a neutral fact-finder. The City does not represent either party to the complaint. Evidence is gathered to determine whether or not the ordinance has been violated. Individuals are encouraged to cooperate with the investigation. 

If probable cause is found, both parties will be encouraged to resolve the complaint through conference, conciliation or mediation.  If resolution through these means is not successful the City of Columbia Human Rights Commission will vote on whether or not to forward the Complaint to the City Prosecutor.

If no probable cause is found the file is closed.  The complainant has no authority to appeal a decision of the Human Rights Commission.

Retaliation is a violation of the Human Relations Ordinance. To retaliate or discriminate in any manner against any person for filing a complaint or testifying, assisting, or participating in any manner in an investigation is prohibited.

Knowingly filing a false complaint is a violation of the Columbia Code of Ordinances.

Representation by an attorney is not necessary however you can seek an attorney’s consultation at your own expense. If you are represented by an attorney please have your attorney contact the City of Columbia Law Department at 573-817-5024 or via email at

Complaints must be made within 180 days of the alleged act of discrimination.  

Failure to inform the City of Columbia Law Department of changes to your address and phone number could result in your case being delayed or administratively closed.

You can also file complaints of discrimination with other state and federal agencies including the Missouri Commission on Human Rights or the U.S Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development.