Frequently Asked Questions
Q. How do I file a complaint of discrimination?
A. If you believe you have been discriminated against because of your race, color, creed, age, religion, sex (including harassment and pregnancy), physical or mental disability, national origin, marital status, sexual orientation, or gender identity or expression in the areas of employment, housing, public accommodations, education, or finance in violation of Article 29 of the Baltimore County Code, 2003, you may file a complaint with the Baltimore County Human Relations Commission (BCHRC).
A complaint must be filed within six months from the date of the occurrence of the alleged discriminatory act. For employment complaints, the law covers employers with one or more employees. You may file your complaint by contacting BCHRC to arrange an appointment to speak to an investigator, or you may visit the Commission’s office between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. to file complaints.
Q. Can I be fired for filing a discrimination complaint?
A. Retaliation is against the law for filing a discrimination complaint.
Q. Do I need a lawyer to file a complaint?
A. No. The Commission's work is free to the public. It is your decision to determine if you need an attorney. However, if you have the need to appeal the decision regarding your compliant, you may decide to seek the assistance of an attorney.
Q. As an employer, do I have rights when a complaint is filed?
A. Yes. The BCHRC conducts unbiased investigations through its neutral investigative process. Technical assistance is provided to employers through explanation of the investigative procedures, explaining rights of the employers, providing EEO training, and answering questions prior to complaints being filed and during the process.
Q. My employer promoted another employee who is younger with less experience and training. I feel I’ve been discriminated against because of my age. Is this age discrimination?
A. Under Article 29 of Baltimore County Code, it is unlawful to discriminate because of age. You can contact the BCHRC and someone will assist you in determining if your complaint meets the jurisdictional requirements.
Q. My religion requires that I wear special attire, but my employer says it violates the uniform dress policy and I will be fired if I continue to wear my religious attire. Is this true?
A. Employees have the right to request a religious accommodation. You may file a complaint if you believe you are being discriminated against.
Q. My supervisor, a male, makes unwelcome sexual advances toward me on a frequent basis. Even after telling him that I am offended and want the harassment to stop, he continues. I am afraid to tell anyone because he may fire me. What can I do to stop him from sexually harassing me on the job?
A. Sexual harassment in the work place is unlawful under Article 29 of the Baltimore County Code. If your complaint meets the jurisdiction requirements, an investigation of sexual harassment can be conducted by BCHRC to determine if there is a violation of the law.
Q. There were only four employees in my company. I was the only African-American. I was fired due to unexcused absences. Although I have missed work, other Caucasian employees were not disciplined or dismissed for the same offense. I believe I was discriminated against because of my race. May I file a complaint of discrimination?
A. Yes. If your complaint meets the jurisdictional requirements, an investigation can be conducted to determine if your firing was discriminatory. Under Article 29 it is illegal to discriminate because of race.
Q. I have a disability, but the Condominium Association will not give me a disability parking space. Can I file a discrimination charge?
A. Yes, you may file a complaint. In order to determine if you have been discriminated against, your condition must meet the definition of a disability, which is related to your need for the disability parking space. Discrimination complaints based on disability are decided on a case-by-case basis.
Q. I was with my wife and son waiting to be seated at a restaurant when a Caucasian couple came in and were seated and served before we were served. When I mentioned something to the Waiter, he told me I could leave if I did not like how they were handling their customers. I feel like we were discriminated against because of my national origin and religion. Can I file a complaint?
A. Yes, if you believe you were discriminated against and your complaint meets the jurisdictional requirements, you file a complaint.
Q. Can I file a discrimination complaint with the BCHRC against the Baltimore County Public School System, County Government, or the Community Colleges?
A. No. The BCHRC does not have jurisdiction to investigate discrimination complaints against the County Government, public schools, or the community colleges. The BCHRC’s jurisdiction is within the private sector; however, the staff will provide technical assistance to answer questions regarding any complaint of discrimination.
Q. I applied for a loan to purchase a house, but I was told that the bank does not finance houses in the area where I was trying to purchase. Can I file a discrimination complaint?
A. Yes. If your complaint meets BCHRC’s jurisdictional requirements and you believe your protected class (race, national origin, etc.) was a factor, your complaint will be investigated.
Revised November 7, 2012