Complaints of Unlawful Discrimination Under Title 5,
California Code of Regulations
- How do I file an unlawful discrimination complaint?
- What is the appeal process if I am not happy with the decision on my complaint?
- Where can I get a complaint form?
- Resources for Students, Employees and College Districts.
- Resources for College Districts.
"no person in the State of California shall, on the basis of ethnic group identification, national origin, religion, age, sex or gender, race, color, ancestry, sexual orientation, or physical or mental disability, or on the basis of these perceived characteristics or based on association with a person or group with one or more of these actual or perceived characteristics, be unlawfully denied full and equal access to the benefits of, or be unlawfully subjected to discrimination under any program or activity that is administered by, funded directly by, or that receives any financial assistance from, the Chancellor or Board of Governors of the California Community Colleges." (Title 5, California Code of Regulations, section 59300.)
"Each community college district has primary responsibility to insure that its programs and activities are available to all persons without regard to ethnic group identification, national origin, religion, age, race, sex or gender, color, sexual orientation, ancestry, or physical or mental disability, or to their association with a person or group with one or more of these actual or perceived characteristics. Therefore, each community college district shall investigate complaints of unlawful discrimination in its programs or activities, and seek to resolve those complaints in accordance with the provisions of [sections 59300 et seq.]." (Title 5, California Code of Regulations, section 59320.)
Filing a Complaint
California Code of Regulations, title 5, sections 59300 et seq., establishes the procedure for handling complaints alleging violation of state and federal nondiscrimination laws within the California Community College system.
If a student or employee of a community college district wishes to file a complaint of unlawful discrimination under title 5, section 59300, he or she may do so by filing the complaint with either the district or the Chancellor's Office. In either instance, the district is required to assess the complaint, and in most cases must investigate and attempt to resolve the matter.
Please note that, pursuant to title 5, section 59328(a), "The complaint shall be filed by one who alleges that he or she has personally suffered unlawful discrimination or by one who has learned of such unlawful discrimination in his or her official capacity as a faculty member or administrator."
Please also note that a complaint must be filed on the proper form.
If the complainant is not satisfied with the district's resolution of the matter, he or she may file an appeal with the local board of trustees. If the complainant is not satisfied with the determination of the local board of trustees, he or she may file an appeal with the Chancellor's Office, unless the complaint involves employment discrimination. However, please be aware that the Chancellor's Office has no authority under title 5 to award monetary damages.
A community college district employee may also file his or her employment-related complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), and/or the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH). 1-800-884-1684.
On the state level DFEH has final jurisdiction over employment-related cases. Therefore, complainants in employment discrimination cases do not have the right to appeal to the State Chancellor's Office and may file with DFEH if the matter is not resolved at the local level.
Community college students may also file an unlawful discrimination complaint with the Office for Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Education (OCR) (1-800-421-3481 or 1-415-486-5555).
Download complaint form PDF or Word
Please note that complaints cannot be filed by e-mail or fax. The original form must be signed and dated, and filed with either the college district or the Chancellor's Office. Regardless of where a complaint is filed, under title 5, the investigation is done by the college district.
Resources for Students, Employees and College Districts
Title 5 Regulations on Unlawful Discrimination
You may also want to use the links on our Legal Resources page to search for and view title 5 regulations, state and federal laws, and other legal resources.