Filing a Complaint of Discrimination

Acts of discrimination within the City of Columbia are prohibited by law under Chapter 12 of the City of Columbia Code of Ordinances.

If you feel you have been discriminated against 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, you can file a complaint with the City of Columbia. Please review the information below and contact the Human Rights Investigator to discuss the specifics of your complaint.

Chapter 12, Section 12-59. provides the following penalties for violation of the discriminatory practices outlined in Chapter 12, Article III of the Code of Ordinances:

“Any person who shall violate any provision of this article shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor and shall, upon conviction, be punished by a fine of not more than one thousand dollars ($1,000.00), or imprisonment not exceeding thirty (30) days, or by both such fine and imprisonment.”

The Human Rights Commission is authorized to investigate complaints of discrimination in the following three (3) areas:

  1. Employment,
  2. Public Accommodation, and
  3. Housing which includes:
    • The Sale or Rental of Dwellings,
    • Real Estate Loans, and
    • Acceptance of Membership in Real Estate Sales Organizations

Charges of discrimination in these three areas must have a basis for the charge.  A complaint of discrimination must be based on one or more of the following protected categories:

  • Race / Racism
  • Color
  • National Origin
  • Ancestry
  • Sex
  • Religion
  • Disability/Handicap
  • Marital Status
  • Sexual Orientation
  • Gender Identity or Expression
  • Age (Employment Only)
  • Familial Status (Housing Only)
  • Receipt of Governmental Assistance
  • Alienage or Citizenship Status
  • Status as a Victim of Sexual or Domestic Violence
  • Order of Protection Status

These protected categories are defined in Chapter 12 of the Code of Ordinances.

Other alternatives for filing complaints of discrimination include various other state and federal organizations such as the State of Missouri Commission on Human Rights or the Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development.