Additional Legal Information

Important! Please read the following before filing a complaint.

What you need to know about the law as you decide whether or not to file a complaint.

The Dubuque Human Rights Ordinance:

  • Prohibits discrimination in housing, employment, public accommodation, education, or credit.
  • Prohibits discrimination based on race, color, religion, creed, sex, disability, sexual orientation, national origin, gender identity, age, family status (in housing only) or marital status (in credit only).
  • Requires that a complaint must be filed within 300 days of the alleged discriminatory action.
  • Requires that the discrimination occurred within the city limits of Dubuque
  • Establishes that the Commission operates as a neutral, objective law enforcement agency. 
  • Permits any person who believes that they have been discriminated against in violation of the ordinance to file a complaint with the Dubuque Human Rights Commission. 

Legal Grounds for Complaints

In order for the Office of Equity & Human Rights to take legal action, the different treatment that occurred must have occurred because of a person's race, color, religion, creed, national origin, sex, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or family status (in housing), or marital status (in credit). It also is illegal to retaliate against someone who takes action to protect these rights.

Complaints against City Departments

Residents who feel they have been discriminated against by city staff have two options to pursue:

  1. They may file a grievance with the Community Relations Committee (CCRC). The CCRC provides a forum for citizen input into the development of City Department policies and procedures, assuring that they continue to be free from racial or other prejudices. In addition, the CCRC provides an arena where citizens can bring their complaints when they believe a City Department has violated their civil rights or when they believe City personnel have exhibited discriminatory behavior toward them because of their sex, religion, race, creed, color, national origin, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or retaliation. You may also report a concern online. 
  2. They may also file a civil rights complaint with the Iowa Civil Rights Commission. We strive to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest and maintain the public's faith in the objectivity of the complaint process. If you have a complaint against a City department, you may file a complaint with the Iowa Civil Rights Commission. Consequently, we do not investigate legal civil rights complaints against other City departments. 

If you are uncertain about any of the above, please contact us at 563.589.4190 or by email. You may report your concern here and our Intake Specialist will review it to determine whether or not you have legal grounds for a complaint.  You may also browse our resources for more details related to discrimination complaints and how they are investigated.