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External Civil Rights Division

FEMA’s Office of Equal Rights External Civil Rights Division (ECRD) is responsible for ensuring compliance with and enforcement of FEMA’s external Civil Rights obligations under Sections 308 and 309 of the Stafford Act, Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972, and the Age Discrimination Act of 1975.  The Office of Equal Rights also oversees efforts to meet agency obligations under Executive Order 13166, “Improving Access to Services for Persons with Limited English Proficiency,” and Executive Order 12898, “Environmental Justice in Minority and Low-Income Populations.”

Under Federal civil rights laws and the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Act (Stafford Act), FEMA, State, local, Tribal, and Territorial (SLTT) partners, and non-governmental relief and disaster assistance organizations engaged in the “distribution of supplies, the processing of applications, and other relief and assistance activities shall [accomplish these activities] in an equitable and impartial manner, without discrimination on the grounds of race, color, religion, [national origin], sex, age, disability, English proficiency, or economic status.”  Civil rights laws and legal authorities remain in effect, and cannot be waived, during emergencies. 

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act requires that FEMA and its recipients ensure nondiscrimination for individuals with disabilities by providing equal access to programs, physical accessibility of facilities, effective communication, and reasonable accommodations.

Civil Rights Authorities

OER External Civil Rights Division is the principal office responsible for compliance with and enforcement of civil rights obligations in connection with programs and services provided by FEMA and by recipients of FEMA financial assistance under the following authorities:

  • Sections 308 and 309 of the Stafford Act
  • Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended
  • Sections 504 and 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended
  • Age Discrimination Act of 1975, as amended
  • Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, as amended
  • 44 C.F.R. Parts 7, 16, and 19, non-discrimination based on race, color, national origin, disability, and age
  • 44 C.F.R. § 206.11, non-discrimination in disaster assistance
  • Executive Order 13166, Improving Access to Services for Persons with Limited English Proficiency
  • Executive Order 12898, Environmental Justice in Minority Populations and Low-Income Populations

Contact OER External Civil Rights Division with Complaints or Concerns

Members of the public may bring civil rights complaints to OER’s attention in connection with FEMA activities or FEMA-funded programs and activities as follows:

Mail a complaint to the FEMA Office of Equal Rights:

FEMA Office of Equal Rights
C Street, SW, Room 4SW-0915
Washington, DC 20472-3505

FEMA-CivilRightsOffice@fema.dhs.gov
833-CVL-RGHT
833-285-7448
FEMA TTY: 800-462-7585