Community Relations Commission


The Department of Neighborhoods' Community Relations Commission protects the rights of Columbus residents by offering investigations into discrimination, providing voluntary mediations, and by hosting programming to eliminate discrimination and remove the effects of past discrimination within the City of Columbus.

The Community Relations Commission (CRC) is granted the authority to investigate discrimination complaints by Columbus City Code Sections 2331 and 139. These define unlawful discriminatory practice in Columbus. Currently there are 12 protected classes. There are also 3 areas in which discrimination is prohibited. They are employment, housing, and public accommodation.

Once you file a complaint with the CRC, you will be contacted by a CRC Investigator. The investigator will work with you to gather facts, offer information, and guide you through the process. At the end of the investigation, the Commissioners of the CRC will review the complaint to make a final determination.

As your front door to the City of Columbus, the Department of Neighborhoods, looks forward to serving all communities through the work of the Community Relations Commission and our other programming.

File a Complaint

For the CRC to accept a complaint of discrimination, it must meet the following requirements:

  • Must have occurred within the geographical limits of the City of Columbus

  • Must have occurred because of your membership in a protected class and in the area(s) of employment, public accommodation, or housing

  • For complaints of employment discrimination, the employer must have four or more employees

  • Must have occurred within the past six months

You can file a complaint:

  1. Online by visiting the online complaint form
  2. By downloading the complaint form and mailing it to 1410 Cleveland Ave, Columbus, OH 43211, ATTN: CRC Investigator
  3. Calling 614-645-1993 and requesting a paper form be mailed to you
  4. Calling 614-645-1993 and setting up an in-person appointment

Examples of Discrimination

For the purpose of the City Code, the definition of discrimination is to segregate or separate, or any difference in treatment, on the basis of ones belonging in a protected class. 

Examples of potential discrimination include, but are not limited to the following:


  • I feel I was passed over for a promotion because I am female. (Gender)
  • I think I was terminated from my job because I am black. (Race)
  • I was denied a training opportunity because I am from Nepal. (National Origin)


  • I believe I am being charged more rent because I have three children. (Familial Status)
  • I feel that I was evicted from my apartment because I am in the Army Reserves. (Military Status)
  • My apartment is not serviced as often as others because I use a wheelchair. (Disability)

Public Accommodation

  • I was denied membership to a gym because I am Muslim. (Religion)
  • I was seated in the back of a restaurant, when many seats were available in the front, because I am gay. (Sexual Orientation)
  • I was told to use the women’s restroom although I identify as a male. (Gender Identity)


Protected Classes and Areas

In the City of Columbus, there are 12 protected classes and three areas of protection from discrimination. A protected class is a group of people with a common characteristic who are protected from discrimination on the basis of that characteristic. The protected classes in the Columbus City Code are: 

  • Race
  • Sex
  • Sexual Orientation
  • Gender Identity or Expression
  • Color
  • Religion
  • Ancestry
  • National Origin
  • Age
  • Disability
  • Familial Status
  • Military Status

The areas in which you may file a complaint are:

  • Employment
  • Housing
  • Public Accommodation

Every complaint of discrimination must have a protected class and an area in which the alleged discriminatory action occurred. For example, a complaint may state an individual was treated differently based on their race in the area of employment.



Housed in the Department of Neighborhoods, the Community Relations Commission (CRC) was created to help eliminate discrimination or remove the effects of past discrimination within the City of Columbus. One way the Commission seeks to achieve this is by investigating complaints of discrimination. The CRC is authorized by Chapter 139 of the City Code to investigate, mediate, or refer for prosecution complaints of discrimination. In addition, the CRC may now issue a fine if you believe you were subjected to discrimination, the CRC provides:

  • An efficient, thorough, and fair investigation
  • A voluntary option to resolve your complaint through mediation
  • Information and options to file with other governmental agencies charged with resolving discrimination complaints
  • Referrals to the City Attorney’s Office for complaints with a “Probable Cause” determination.  
  • Accountability in the form of a civil fine if is found that discrimination has occurred. 


The CRC will initiate an investigation of a complaint if the alleged discriminatory action meets the following requirements:

  • Occurred within the geographical limits of the City of Columbus
  • Occurred within the past six months
  • Occurred because of your membership in a protected class and in the area(s) of employment, public accommodation, or housing
  • For complaints of employment discrimination, the employer must have four or more employees


If you believe you were subjected to discrimination, there are four ways to file a complaint.

  1. Online: You may complete the online form available on the City of Columbus website at:
  2. Mail: You may print, complete, and mail the form to: 

    Department of Neighborhoods – Community Relations Commission
    1410 Cleveland Ave, 2nd Floor
    Columbus, OH 43211

    The form is available to download here.

  3. In Person: You may visit the Department of Neighborhoods at 1410 Cleveland Ave, Columbus, OH 43211 in person to receive a paper form, guidance, and to submit your complaint. Please call 614-645-1993 to schedule an in-person appointment

    Investigation Procedure

1.Upon submission of your complaint, the CRC will contact you to discuss your discrimination complaint and gather more information. If your complaint does not meet the requirements listed above, a CRC staff member will provide you information and options to file with other government agencies.

2.The CRC strives to resolve complaints through voluntary mediation. If the complaint meets the requirements listed above, the CRC will invite both parties with an offer of to resolve the issue(s) through voluntary mediation with a trained mediator. If voluntary mediation is successful, the complaint will be considered resolved and dismissed. 

3.If the complaint is not resolved through voluntary mediation, the complainant has the option to resolve the complaint with a formal investigation. The formal investigation is conducted by a CRC staff member. This includes the finding of facts through interviews, reviewing relevant documents, and other steps as needed needed in order to produce a report and recommendation for the members of the CRC to review and vote on. 

4.If the CRC finds that unlawful discriminatory action occurred, it may issue a notice of administrative violation and with it a civil fine. Fines will be in the amount of $1,000 for a first offense, $2,500 for a second offense, and $5,000 for any additional offenses within a 5 year period. 

5. If the CRC finds that unlawful discrimination occurred, and no fine has been issued, it may refer the complaint to the City Prosecutor for review and potential criminal prosecution

6.If the CRC finds that no unlawful discriminatory action occurred, it may dismiss the complaint. 


COMPLAINANT: The person or organization filing a charge of discrimination alleging they were subjected to discrimination as defined by Title 23, Chapter 2331 of the Columbus City Codes. 

RESPONDENT: The person or entity alleged to have engaged or is engaging in unlawful discriminatory practices as defined in Title 23, Chapter 2331 of the Columbus City Codes.

VOLUNTARY MEDIATION:A process in which an unbiased third party facilitates communication and negotiation and promotes voluntary decision making by the parties to the dispute. This process shall abide by nationally recognized standards as adopted by the CRC.

Police and Fire Complaints

Per existing collective bargaining agreements, complaints involving a member of the Fraternal Order of Police or the International Association of Fire Fighters are automatically referred one of the following organizations for review. Please reach out to the appropriate organization for further information on how to file a complaint and the process that is used. 

Columbus Division of Police Internal Affairs Bureau
750 E. Long St. 
Columbus, OH 43203
7:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m.
(614) 645-4880

Professional Standards Unit
750 E. Long St. 
Columbus, OH 43203
(614) 645-4046

Office of the Inspector General
50 W. Town St. 
Suite 100
Columbus, OH 43210


Federal And State Discrimination Assistance

If you believe you were subject to different treatment in Columbus, you may also be protected under State or Federal Law. To learn more, please contact the following organizations.

The Ohio Civil Rights Commission
30 East Broad Street, Fifth Floor, Columbus OH, 43215
1-888-278-7101 (Toll Free)

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
1240 E. 9th Street, Suite 3001, Cleveland,OH44199
1-800-669-6820 (Toll Free)