General

What does the Tennessee Human Rights Commission (THRC) do?
THRC’s mission is to safeguard individuals from discrimination through enforcement and education. THRC is an independent state agency responsible for enforcing the Tennessee Human Rights Act and the Tennessee Disability Act which prohibit discrimination in housing, employment, and public accommodation on the basis of race, color, creed, national origin, religion, sex, disability (not in public accommodations), familial status (housing only) and age (40+, not in housing). THRC also ensures the State of Tennessee's compliance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which prohibits discrimination based on race, color and national origin by State agencies receiving federal financial assistance. An individual who feels he or she has been illegally discriminated against in employment, housing, public accommodations or in services delivered by a state agency, can file a complaint with THRC.
How do I file a complaint?
You may download a complaint here. You cannot file a complaint over the telephone, but you may call us at any time (1-800-251-3589) if you want a complaint sent to you or have questions about our process.
Is there a cost to file a complaint with THRC?
No.
Is there a time limit to file a complaint with THRC?
Yes. An individual has 180 calendar days from the last day alleged discrimination took place to file a complaint with THRC. Anything that falls outside of the 180 days may be transferred to our federal partner (EEOC or HUD) for further review.
Can I file an anonymous complaint?
No. Complaints must be signed and sworn to under penalty of perjury.
Can I still file a complaint if I’m not fluent in English?
Yes. Your complaint will be translated, and translators will be used during the investigation. Additionally, you may have someone you know (a representative) translate on your behalf.
Is this a lawsuit in court?
No. The filing of a discrimination complaint is not a lawsuit. It is an administrative process.
If I file a complaint with THRC, can I still file in court?
As long as you’ve met the requirements to file in court, you may do so. Your THRC complaint will be closed once a lawsuit is filed if the allegations are the same.
Does THRC represent me?
No. THRC is a neutral fact-finding agency charged to investigate each complaint of discrimination to determine if a violation of the Tennessee Human Rights Act or the Tennessee Disability Act has occurred.
Do I need an attorney?
You are not required to have an attorney, but you are allowed to at any time. You may also have someone who is not an attorney be your representative.
Can you recommend an attorney?
THRC does not recommend attorneys. You can contact your local bar associations or legal aid services for attorney referrals.
What happens after a complaint is filed?
It goes to our intake department, and moves through the following process: Click here for more information on our complaint process.
What does THRC do if discrimination is found?
If THRC determines that there is reasonable cause to believe that discrimination has occurred the parties are notified and attempts are made to conciliate (or settle) the complaint. If conciliation is unsuccessful, the complaint may be taken to an administrative hearing with an administrative law judge. THRC does not represent either party at the hearing.
How can I protect myself or my witnesses from retaliation for filing a charge?
Once a complaint is made with THRC, our laws protect you and your witnesses from retaliation. If you feel that you have been retaliated against for opposing discrimination based on a protected class, such as filing a discrimination complaint with THRC or complaining of discrimination to your employer or housing provider, you may file a retaliation complaint.
Do you accept complaints based on LGBT status?
The Tennessee Human Rights Act does not offer protection based on LGBT status at this time. However, depending on the allegations, the complaint may be forwarded to our federal partners (EEOC or HUD) for processing. We do accept complaints based on gender stereotyping.
I think I may have been discriminated against, but I’m not sure. What should I do?
You should fill out a THRC complaint, and we will determine if it’s jurisdictional for an investigation. If so, our investigation will focus on whether discrimination occurred by gathering evidence such as interviewing witnesses and reviewing documentation.
What types of discrimination are you seeing in Tennessee?
Please see our Annual Reports  for statistical information on the complaints we receive and the Status of Human Rights in Tennessee for general trends in discrimination based on hearings conducted throughout the state in 2014.
Who should I contact if I am unhappy with how my complaint is being handled?
THRC strives to provide good customer service. If you are not happy with our service, please contact us at 1-800-251-3589 or email us.

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