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What happens if I feel I am being discriminated against on the basis of my disability?

You have options if you feel that you are being illegally discriminated against:

File an appeal or complaint with your school through the disability office or dean of students; it is in your best interest to appeal or complain as soon as possible after the discriminatory event.

File a complaint with the Office for Civil Rights of the Department of Education; complaints must be made within 180 days of the event or within 60 days of the completion of an appeal with your school.

You can submit your complaint online, by email, or by mail.

You may use the Office of Civil Rights’ complaint form or write your own letter being sure to include your name and contact information; information about whom the discrimination affected; the name and contact information of the offending individual, business, or organization; a description of the discriminatory act; the dates of the offense; and a description of why the act was discriminatory.

File a complaint with the U.S. Department of Justice; there is no limit to how long after the event you may file this type of complaint.

You can submit your complaint online or fax it to (202) 307-1197.

You may submit complaints by mail, but they will take longer to be processed due to security screenings.

US Department of Justice

950 Pennsylvania Avenue NW

Civil Rights Division

Disability Rights Section - 1425 NYAV

Washington D.C. 20530

If you need assistance filing your complaint, you may schedule an appointment with the Department of Justice by calling 1-800-514-0301 or 1-800-514-0383 (TTY).

Your complaint must include your name and contact information; the name and contact information of the offending individual, business, or organization; a description of the discriminatory act; the dates of the offense; copies of supporting documents; and information about how you wish to be communicated with in the future.

Allow up to three months to receive communication from the Department of Justice regarding your complaint.

File a lawsuit; for ADA and Section 504 violations, lawsuits must be filed with a U.S. District Court within two years of the date of discrimination.

You will likely need a lawyer, though self-representation in court is also an option.

This will be your most costly option.

Both the ADA and Section 504 prevent your institution from retaliating against you if you file an appeal, complaint, or lawsuit. This would constitute a new form of discrimination and is illegal. If you feel that there have been consequences from your institution after filing, you may have grounds for another complaint.

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