If you believe you have been discriminated against, you may be able to file a complaint with the City of Madison Equal Opportunities Division (EOD).

There are four types of complaints:

  • Housing :a residence or place people live. We take cases that involve selling or renting.
  • Employment: We accept complaints from all job applicants as well as fulltime, part-time, seasonal, and temporary employees. We accept cases that involve employment agencies and labor unions.
  • Public accommodations include places and services open to the public, and it includes places where goods and services are available.
  • City Facilities: We take cases involving property that is owned by the City of Madison or services that it provides.

Location

If you have a complaint in one of the above areas, the act of discrimination must have occurred within the City of Madison.

Length of Time

For housing discrimination complaints:

You must file a complaint within one year after the discriminatory incident. This is true unless the complaint involves discrimination of an ongoing nature (for example, your landlord has been charging you a higher rent than other tenants every month for over a year).

For all other complaints:

You must file the complaint within 300 days of the incident, unless the discriminatory act is of an ongoing nature.

Membership in a Protected Class

You must be a member of one of these protected classes: sex; age; race; color; religion; arrest record; conviction record; marital status; being a student; national origin or ancestry; physical appearance; handicap/disability; sexual orientation; political beliefs; source of income; retaliation; less than honorable discharge from the military; refusal to disclose social security number; familial status; domestic partners; gender identity; genetic identity; citizenship status; victim of domestic abuse, sexual assault*, or stalking; credit history*.

We do not have jurisdiction over Dane County agencies, MATC, the University of Wisconsin entities, police or judicial matters, or the State of Wisconsin. You may still file your complaint with the City of Madison – Equal Opportunities Division, and we will review your complaint, open a case, and transfer it to the State of Wisconsin – Equal Rights Division (ERD) for further review and processing. For information on how to file a complaint directly with ERD regarding these groups, please feel free to contact the Department of Civil Rights, Equal Opportunities Division, during business hours, Monday – Friday, 8:00 am – 4:30 pm at (608) 266-4910.

Location

The act of discrimination must have occurred within the City of Madison. If you are not sure, call the Department of Civil Rights.

Length of Time Between the Incident and Filing the Complaint

Housing Complaints: 365 Days from the date of the last act.

For complaints involving housing discrimination: You must file a complaint within one year after the discriminatory incident. This is true unless the complaint involves discrimination of an ongoing nature (for example, your landlord has been charging you a higher rent than other tenants every month for over a year).

Employment & Public Accommodations:

You must file the complaint within 300 days of the last incident.

Legal Requirements under the Equal Opportunities Ordinance

You must:

  1. Belong to (or be associated with) at least one of the protected classes identified in the Equal Opportunities Ordinance. See: Membership in a Protected Class above.
  2. Show that what you are reporting happened because you are either a member of one or more of the protected classes or because of your association with someone belonging to a protected class. It is important that you can show that the company or organization that you file a complaint against treated you unfairly because of your membership in a protected class and not for another reason.