Frequently Asked Questions

  • When should I file a complaint?

    Please contact our office as soon as possible after the incident(s). The longer you wait, the more difficult the investigation can become. For employment and contracting, you must file your complaint with SOCR within 1.5 years of the incident. For housing and public places, you must file your complaint with SOCR within 1 year of the incident.   

  • What will it cost me to file a complaint?

    All of SOCR's services, including case investigations, are free.

  • What can I do to help my case?

    Gather as much evidence as you can to give to SOCR's investigator. Write down the details of what happened to you, including dates, times, people involved, as well as names of possible witnesses. Keep a running log of events, especially if this is an on-going situation. Be sure and save anything in writing that relates to your case.

  • If I file a complaint, will the details be made public?

    Records kept by the Seattle Office for Civil Rights are subject to disclosure according to the Washington Public Records Act (RCW 42.56). Complainants have the option to request non-disclosure of personal identity information at the time they file a complaint. To request a public record, visit the city's public disclosure portal. You can also call (206) 685-4500 or visit our office.

  • What if they retaliate against me after I file a complaint?

    Retaliation and harassment are both illegal. If it occurs, you can file another complaint. SOCR investigates complaints involving retaliation and harassment regardless of the findings or outcome of the original complaint.

  • Can I file a complaint about police misconduct with SOCR?

    You can file a complaint about police conduct by contacting SOCR at 206-684-4500. We will document your complaint and file it with the Office of Professional Accountability (OPA). OPA is the office within the Seattle Police Department that investigates complaints about police misconduct. The office is headed by a civilian. OPA will review your complaint and follow-up with you. Get more information.

  • How can I report a hate crime?

    Find out how SOCR can help.

  • What if my business receives a complaint of illegal discrimination?

    Find out how to respond to a complaint.