Tampa Office of Human Rights Frequently Asked Questions
How can I file a discrimination complaint in employment, housing or public accommodations?
You may come to the City of Tampa's Office of Human Rights (TOHR) where you will fill out a questionnaire with the information regarding your situation. Once reviewed and all the jurisdictional requirements are met, a complaint will be filed under the corresponding federal laws, and/or the City of Tampa Human Rights Ordinance (Tampa Code).
The questionnaire forms are also available online (see below) which you can fill out and submit or print. After the form is completed, you can bring it to our office, mail it, or fax it. By filling out the online questionnaire, it does not mean that you have filed an official complaint.
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Once we receive the questionnaire, a staff member will contact you by phone or mail, to discuss your situation and the filing process. There is no cost involved for this administrative process and no legal representation is needed.
If you have any questions regarding your particular circumstances, or if you would like to make an appointment to find out more about the process, please contact us.
Tampa Office of Human Rights (TOHR)
4900 W. Lemon St.
Tampa, Florida 33609
Hours: Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Phone: (813) 274-5835
Fax: (813) 274-7941
How long do I have to file a discrimination complaint?
A discrimination complaint may be filed with the TOHR as soon as discrimination occurs, but no later than one hundred and eighty (180) days, or six months, from the date that the discriminatory event occurred. In some cases, housing discrimination complaints may be filed up to one year from the date of the discriminatory housing practice.
Which human rights laws are enforced by the City of Tampa?
The City of Tampa enforces local, state and federal laws that prohibit discrimination in the areas of employment, public accommodations and housing under the protected class of race, color, sex, religion, national origin, age, disability, sexual orientation, marital or familial status, gender identity/expression or retaliation.
Who can file a charge of employment discrimination?
Any person who believes that they have been discriminated against by an employer, labor union or employment agency when applying for a job or on the job, may file a discrimination complaint under federal laws, or the City of Tampa Human Rights Ordinance (Tampa Code) , once the jurisdictional requirements are met.
Who can file a charge of discrimination in Public Accommodation?
If you believe that your rights of equal access and the full enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations of any place of public accommodation have been denied, you may file a discrimination complaint under the City of Tampa Human Rights Ordinance (Tampa Code), once the jurisdictional requirements are met.
Additional protection is available if you or someone associated with you has a physical or mental disability that substantially limits one or more major life activities.
Who can file a Housing discrimination complaint?
Housing discrimination occurs when you are restricted from living where you choose because of your race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, age, disability, familial status and marital status, or retaliation.
Every citizen has the right to equal access to all neighborhoods of their choice for decent and affordable housing. It is illegal to discriminate against any person:
- In the sale or rental of housing or residential lots.
- In advertising the sale or rental of housing.
- In the financing of housing.
- In the provision of real estate brokerage services.
If you believe you have been discriminated against when seeking any of the above services for housing located within the City of Tampa limits, you can file a complaint at the TOHR based on your protected class under the different Fair Housing laws.
What Happens After I file a Complaint?
TOHR notifies via mail both the Complainant and the Respondent who will receive a copy of the charge and will be invited to mediation. If mediation fails, or if one party declines mediation, the charge will be investigated by an unbiased, trained civil rights investigator.
What is Mediation?
Mediation is a voluntary attempt to resolve the case at an early stage. In order for it to take place, both parties must agree to participate in a mediation conference which is an alternative to a full investigation.
How can I file a Title II ADA grievance?
Title II requires that the City will not discriminate against individuals with disabilities in providing services, programs or activities, and reasonable accommodations will be made to policies and programs. A person with an inquiry or concern about the rights of a person with disabilities can file an ADA Title II grievance with the City of Tampa by contacting Raquel Pancho, ADA Coordinator, 306 E. Jackson St., 4N, Tampa, Florida 33602 at 813-274-3964 or by e-mail at Raquel.Pancho@tampagov.net.
What do I do if I have been sexually harassed/assaulted while on my job?
- If you feel comfortable doing so, tell the person who is harassing you to stop.
- If you do not feel comfortable confronting the harasser directly, or if the behavior does not stop, follow the steps below:
- Check to see if your employer has an anti-harassment policy. This may be on the employer’s website. If it’s not, check your employee handbook. Finally, you can ask any supervisor (it does not have to be your supervisor) or someone in Human Resources (if your employer has an HR department) whether there is an anti-harassment policy and if so, to give you a copy.
- If there is a policy, follow the steps in the policy. The policy should give you various options for reporting the harassment, including the option of filing a complaint.
- If there is no policy, talk with a supervisor. You can talk with your own supervisor, the supervisor of the person who is harassing you, or any supervisor in the organization. Explain what has happened and ask for that person’s help in getting the behavior to stop.
- The law protects you from retaliation (punishment) for complaining about harassment. You have a right to report harassment, participate in a harassment investigation or lawsuit, or oppose harassment, without being retaliated against for doing so.
- You always have an option of filing a charge of discrimination with the Tampa Office of Human Rights (TOHR) to complain about the harassment. There are specific time limits for filing a charge (180 or 300 days, depending on where you work), so contact TOHR promptly. See TOHR’s “File A Complaint”. You can also meet with TOHR to discuss your situation and your options. This conversation is confidential. Additional information on workplace harassment can be found by calling 813.274.5835.
What do I do if I am a victim of sexual harassment/assault in my housing?You should never have to choose between housing and sexual harassment. Sexual harassment in housing includes demands for sex or sexual acts in order to buy, rent, or continue renting a home. It also includes other unwelcome sexual conduct that makes it hard to keep living in or feel comfortable in your home.
The following may be examples of sexual harassment in housing:
- My landlord made a lot of comments about having sex with me. I ignored him. When I fell behind on rent, he said there was another way I could pay. I said no and he evicted me.
- The housing authority inspector wouldn’t approve the apartment I wanted to rent with my voucher unless I performed a sexual act on him. I agreed in order to get my family off the street.
- The maintenance man won’t fix anything in my apartment unless I have sex with him. I don’t know what I’m going to do about the broken heater when it gets even colder.
- I went to look at a home to rent and the owner told me he would lower the rent if I had sex with him.
- I wanted to buy a home. When I went to look at it, the loan officer grabbed my breasts. I said no and left immediately. I never heard about the home or the loan again.
- The security guard in my apartment building has been talking about my body and sending me naked pictures. I asked him to stop. I came home one day and found him naked in my bed.
- The owner of the home I rent makes comments about my body, clothes, and the sexual acts he wants me to perform on him.
The law protects you from retaliation (punishment) for complaining about harassment. You have a right to report harassment, participate in a harassment investigation or lawsuit, or oppose harassment, without being retaliated against for doing so.
You always have an option of filing a housing charge of discrimination with the Tampa Office of Human Rights (TOHR) to complain about sexual harassment. There are specific time limits for filing a charge (365 days), so contact TOHR promptly. See TOHR’s “File A Complaint”. You can also meet with TOHR to discuss your situation and your options. This conversation is confidential. Additional information on sexual harassment in housing can be found by calling 813.274.5835. You may also contact the U.S. Department of Justice at https://www.justice.gov/crt/sexual-harassment-housing-initiative or call the Sexual Harassment in Housing Initiative at 1.844.380.6178.