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The Office of Civil Rights Enforcement (OCRE) is a division of the Attorney General's Office that has the authority to investigate, conciliate, and litigate complaints of discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodation based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, and age (40 and above) (plus genetic information in employment and familial status in housing).
The OCRE also accepts, serves, and reports on complaints of racial profiling based on race and national origin.
If you believe you suffered employment-related discrimination (such as but not limited to discriminatory discharge; discriminatory failure to hire or promote; discrimination in regard to other terms, conditions, or privileges of employment; or sexual or other unlawful harassment, or retaliation for opposing a discriminatory employment practice or for participating in an investigation, or proceeding regarding a discriminatory practice), you may file a complaint with the OCRE.
If you believe you have been discriminated against in housing (such as but not limited to sale, rental, mortgage lending, threatened, intimidated, coerced, and denied a reasonable accommodation or modification) you may file a complaint with the OCRE.
Public Accommodation Discrimination
If you believe a place of public accommodation has denied you the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, and advantages offered to others because of your race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, or disability, you may file a complaint with the OCRE. A “place of public accommodation” generally includes any place, store or other establishment that supplies goods or services to the general public or which solicits or accepts the patronage or trade of the general public.
Upon Receipt of a Discrimination Complaint
The OCRE will investigate your complaint and determine whether there is cause to believe discrimination occurred. The OCRE also may attempt to help conciliate your complaint, which means we may try to reach a confidential settlement of the matter. The OCRE also may file an enforcement action in State court to stop any further discrimination and obtain relief on behalf of the victim of discrimination.
If you believe you have been discriminated against in employment, housing, at a place of public accommodation, or racially profiled, contact the OCRE to file a complaint.
If you have any questions or concerns, please e-mail the OCRE or call the OCRE at (918) 581-2201.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the investigative process?
After a sworn complaint is filed, OCRE assigns an investigator to the case and sends copy of the complaint to the party or parties accused of engaging in discrimination. The accused party is called the “Respondent” and will be required to respond to the allegations and provide evidence supporting its position. The investigator will gather evidence and testimony from the complaining party, the Respondent, and any third parties who may have relevant evidence. After a thorough investigation is completed, OCRE will decide whether there is cause to believe unlawful discrimination or retaliation occurred.
Is there a fee for services?
Is this a lawsuit?
No. Filing a complaint initiates an administrative process that must be completed before a lawsuit may be filed. As a result of the administrative investigative process, the OCRE may file a lawsuit on behalf of the complainant or may issue to the complainant a “Dismissal and Notice of Right to Sue,” which grants the complainant the right to file a lawsuit within 90 days.
How long does it take to investigate a complaint, and why?
The amount of time required to investigate a complaint depends upon the nature of the complaint, the number of issues involved, the complexity of the issues, the degree of participation and cooperation of the parties, and various additional factors. Each complaint is different and investigated accordingly. OCRE works as diligently as possible to complete the investigation promptly.
Why is age discrimination based only on 40 years of age and over?
The age requirement of at least 40 years and above is set by state and federal statute.
Do I need an attorney?
No, you are not required to obtain an attorney, but you may do so at any time. If you do obtain an attorney, you must advise the assigned investigator immediately so that OCRE may contact your attorney regarding your complaint.
What will happen after the investigation is completed?
There are several things that can happen once your investigation is completed depending upon the determination made by OCRE. Examples of things that can happen include but are not limited to administrative closure of the case, notice of a finding of cause or no cause to believe discrimination occurred, dismissal and notice of your right to file suit within 90 days, conciliation and settlement of the complaint, and the filing of civil court enforcement action by the OCRE to obtain legal relief on behalf of the complainant.
What does the OCRE do if discrimination is found and what do I get out of it?
If OCRE determines after the investigation that there was reasonable cause to believe that discrimination occurred, the parties are notified and attempts to successfully resolve the complaint are conducted. With employment discrimination complaints, if resolution attempts are unsuccessful, the complaining party may request his or her state and federal right to sue; the complaint may be forwarded to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) for possible further processing; or the OCRE may file a civil enforcement action in State court to obtain legal relief on behalf of the complainant. In housing discrimination complaints, if resolution attempts are unsuccessful, either of the parties may elect to proceed to an appropriate court.
What is the difference between the Office of Civil Rights Enforcement (OCRE) and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)?
OCRE is a division of the Oklahoma Attorney General's Office that has jurisdiction to investigate, conciliate, and litigate employment, housing, and public accommodation discrimination complaints. EEOC is the federal agency that investigates employment discrimination complaints.
Is OCRE my attorney, and do you represent me?
No. The OCRE is a neutral fact finding investigative unit with the responsibility of investigating, conciliating, and litigating discrimination complaints.
What is the deadline for filing a discrimination complaint?
Complaints of employment discrimination must be filed with the OCRE within 180 days from the last alleged discriminatory act or the right to seek legal relief may be lost.
Complaints of public accommodation discrimination also must be filed within 180 days from the last alleged discriminatory act or the right to seek legal relief may be lost.
Complaints of housing discrimination must be filed within one (1) year from the last alleged discriminatory act or the right to seek legal relief may be lost.