Resources for Public Accommodations & Business Establishments

Table of Contents

The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) & the Unruh Civil Rights Act 

The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) is responsible for investigating complaints of discrimination in violation of the Unruh Civil Rights Act, which prohibits many forms of discrimination by business establishments in California.  DFEH prosecutes violations of the Unruh Act and assists involved parties to resolve complaints. 

Contact DFEH:

More Information:


The U.S. Department of Justice - Civil Rights Division

The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) Civil Rights Division handles complaints of discrimination under federal laws. DOJ may investigate complaints regarding discrimination by business establishments, schools, police, jails, or prisons, as well as discrimination in employment, housing, or voting rights.

Contact the Department of Justice to report a civil rights violation:

U.S. Department of Justice
Civil Rights Division
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20530-0001


Other Resources for Complaints about Business Establishments/Public Accommodations

San Francisco & Bay Area

San Francisco District Attorney, Consumer Protection Unit
Phone: (415) 551-9595, Fraud Hotline: (415) 553-9535

San Francisco Small Claims Court, ACCESS Self-Help Center
400 McAllister St., Room 509
Information Line: (415) 551-5880

Alameda County District Attorney
Consumer and Environmental Protection Division
Phone: (510) 383-8600

Alameda County Consumer Affairs Commission
Alameda County Administration Building
1221 Oak Street, Suite 536, Oakland, CA 94612
Referral Assistance: 510-208-9672

San Mateo County District Attorney
Consumer and Environmental Protection Unit
Phone: (650) 363-4651
400 County Center, 3rd Floor, Redwood City

Community Boards (mediation services)
(415) 920-3820
601 Van Ness Avenue, Suite 2040, San Francisco, CA 94102

Consumer Action
Phone: (415) 777-9635
221 Main Street, Suite 480, San Francisco, CA 94105

The Utility Reform Network (TURN)
(for Phone, Gas, & Electric utilities)
Phone: (415) 929-8876
Office: 785 Market Street, Suite 1400

Child Care Law Center 
The Child Care Law Center works to protect children and child care providers from discrimination, and to ensure equal access to high quality, inclusive child care. 
(415) 558-8005
445 Church Street, San Francisco, CA 94114


California Attorney General
Phone: (916) 322-3360 or (800) 952-5225

California Dept. of Consumer Affairs
Phone: (800) 952-5210
Complaint Referral Table (listing of state agencies for many types of complaints):

Consumer Federation of California
Phone: (916) 498-9608

State Bar of California
For complaints against lawyers.
Phone: 800-843-9053


U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ)
Title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination because of race, color, religion, or national origin in certain places of public accommodation, such as hotels, restaurants, and places of entertainment.  The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Civil Rights Division, is responsible for enforcement of the Civil Rights Act.
Civil Rights Division
(202) 514-4609

US Department of Transportation
Aviation Consumer Protection
Phone: 1 (202) 366-4000

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
Phone: (855) 411-2372
Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 4503, Iowa City, Iowa 52244


Resources for People with Disabilities

Pacific ADA Center
Provides information and assistance to implement the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
1-800-949-4232 (Voice & TTY)
SF Mayor's Office on Disability (MOD)
MOD works to ensure the accessibility of City & County properties and programs for people with disabilities.  MOD also staffs the Mayor’s Disability Council, which provides a forum for public interaction with City leaders on disability issues.
1155 Market Street, 1st Floor, San Francisco, CA 94103
Phone: 415-554-6789
Fax: 415-554-6159
Disability Rights California
1330 Broadway, Suite 500, Oakland, CA 94612
(510) 267-1200 or (800) 776-5746
Guidance Materials on Service and Support Animals in Business Establishments and Public Accommodations
SF Mayor's Office on Disability - Service and Support Animals:
Service Animals and the Americans with Disabilities Act
Frequently Asked Questions about Service Animals and the ADA:
Disability Discrimination Fact Sheet: Business and Other “Public Accommodations”:

Resources for Complaints about Doctors, Hospitals, or Health Care Matters

California Medical Board (for complaints about Physicians, Surgeons, Midwives, Psychoanalysts, and certain other health care providers)

California Department of Public Health, License & Certification
Responsible for ensuring health care facilities comply with state laws and regulations; also oversees the certification of nurse assistants, home health aides, hemodialysis technicians, and the licensing of nursing home administrators.
150 N. Hill Drive, Brisbane, CA 94005
Phone: (415) 330-6353

Board of Registered Nursing (for complaints about nurses)
PO Box 944210, Sacramento, CA 94244-2100
Phone: (916) 322-3350  Web:
Complaint information:
Complaint Form:

Dental Board of California (for complaints about dentists)
2005 Evergreen Street, Suite 1550, Sacramento, California 95815
Phone: (916) 263-2300  Web:

Complaint information:

California Department of Managed Health Care (for complaints about health insurance plans & health maintenance organizations)
Phone: 1-888-466-2219
Mail: 980 9th Street, Suite 500, Sacramento, CA 95814-2725


Resources for Complaints about Schools, Colleges, or Universities

San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD)
The SFUSD Office of Equity implements the Uniform Complaint Procedures (UCP) for complaints of discrimination, harassment, intimidation, and/or bullying.
555 Franklin Street, 3rd Floor, San Francisco, CA 94102 
Phone: 415-355-7334 

California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (to make a complaint about a teacher/educator)
Mailing address: California Commission on Teacher Credentialing, 1900 Capitol Avenue, Sacramento, CA 95811-4213
Email: or 

California Department of Education, Uniform Complaints Procedures (for pupils, parents, teachers, and community)
For questions regarding appeals please contact the Education Equity UCP Office at 916-319-8239 or e-mail

City College of San Francisco, Student Affairs & Wellness: Complaints & Grievances
Information on City College’s internal complaint procedures:
Phone: 415-239-3211

California Community Colleges Chancellor's Office
Information on CCCCO discrimination complaints:

General information:

The Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)
Mail: 10 Commercial Boulevard, Suite 204, Novato, CA 94949 
Phone: (415) 506-0234
Fax: (415) 506-0238

U.S. Department of Education (DOE), Office for Civil Rights (OCR)
Information on filing a complaint with the Department of Education Office for Civil Rights:
Office for Civil Rights hotline: 1-800-421-3481

San Francisco Office
Office for Civil Rights
U.S. Department of Education
50 United Nations Plaza
Mail Box 1200, Room 1545, San Francisco, CA 94102

Telephone: 415-486-5555
FAX: 415-486-5570; TDD: 800-877-8339


Resources for Complaints about Public Transportation

Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART)
Mailing address: Office of Civil Rights, 300 Lakeside Drive, Suite 1800, Oakland, CA 94612
Phone: 510-874-7333
Complaint form and additional information:

San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) 
For discrimination complaints involving MUNI stations, trains, buses, streetcars, and cable cars. 
Phone: in San Francisco, call 311. From outside San Francisco, call 415.701.2311 or TTY 415.701.2323
Mailing address for Title VI Complaints: One South Van Ness Avenue, 7th Floor, San Francisco, CA  94103
Information about filing a discrimination complaint:
Online form for complaints/feedback:

Federal Transit Administration
Mailing address: Office of Civil Rights
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE, Washington, DC 20590
Phone: 888-446-4511
Information about filing a complaint for discrimination by a public transit provider:

Resources for Complaints about Airport Access or Services

Federal Transit Administration (FTA)
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20590
Phone: 202-366-4043
Complaint form and additional information:

San Francisco Airport Commission
Title VI/§504 Compliance Coordinator
Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
San Francisco International Airport
PO Box 8097
San Francisco, CA 94128
Phone: 650.821.3588
Information about filing a complaint:

Resources For Legal Advice/Representation

Lawyer Referral & Information Service - Bar Association of San Francisco
(415) 989-1616

American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Northern California
The ACLU may be able to offer legal guidance or representation for matters involving discrimination by a government agency or matters involving discrimination by a business establishment due to race, ethnicity, religion, disability or other protected characteristics.  
(415) 621-2488

National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR)
NCLR is a national legal organization committed to advancing the civil and human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and their families through litigation, legislation, policy, and public education.  NCLR may be able to offer legal advice, referrals, or representation for matters involving discrimination due to sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, or related issues.
Legal Help Line: 1.800.528.6257 or 415.392.6257


Resources for Small Business Owners

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Guide for Small Businesses (U.S. Small Business Administration & U.S. Department of Justice)