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Complaints & Legal Assistance

The Modesto/Stanislaus NAACP Branch works as a liaison between legal agencies and services but does not offer legal services. If you wish to file a complaint with the NAACP, please complete and submit a complaint form.

For all low-income civil cases, you can obtain free representation with the

Legal Services of Northern California.

Civil Rights

Civil rights are personal rights guaranteed and protected by the U.S. Constitution and federal laws enacted by Congress, such as the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. Civil rights include protection from unlawful discrimination.

"Civil rights" are the rights of individuals to receive equal treatment (and to be free from unfair treatment or "discrimination") in a number of settings - including education, employment, housing, and more -- and based on certain legally-protected characteristics.

Historically, the "Civil Rights Movement" referred to efforts toward achieving true equality for African-Americans in all facets of society, but today the term "civil rights" is also used to describe the advancement of equality for all people regardless of race, sex, age, disability, national origin, religion, or certain other characteristics.

A criminal civil rights violation involves the use or threat of force, and can occur with:

  • Hate crimes

  • Migrant worker exploitation

  • Law enforcement misconduct

  • Religious interference or property damage

  • Health care access interference, such as phone threat or bombing

  • Slavery rings

You may contact the U.S. Department of Human Services, Office of Civil Rights regarding any violations.

California's Civil Rights Agency:

The Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) is the state agency charged with enforcing California’s civil rights laws. The mission of the DFEH is to protect the people of California from unlawful discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations and from hate violence and human trafficking.


Employment discrimination happens when an employee or job applicant is treated unfavorably because of his or her race, skin color, national origin, gender, disability, religion, or age. It is illegal to discriminate in any facet of employment, so workplace discrimination extends beyond hiring and firing.

Examples of Employment Discrimination:

  • Stating or suggesting preferred candidates in a job advertisement

  • Excluding potential employees during recruitment

  • Denying certain employees compensation or benefits

  • Paying equally-qualified employees in the same position different salaries

  • Discriminating when assigning disability leave, maternity leave, or retirement options

  • Denying or disrupting the use of company facilities

  • Discrimination when issuing promotions or lay-offs

Please contact the Department of Fair Employment and Housing. Also contact the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, with offices located in Oakland and San Francisco.


Project Sentinel: Modesto Office

Project Sentinel assists individuals with housing problems such as discrimination, mortgage foreclosure & delinquency, rental issues including repairs, deposits, privacy, dispute resolution, homebuyer education, post-purchase education and reverse mortgages. 


The federal Fair Housing Act and the Fair Housing Amendment Acts (42 U.S. Code 3601-3619, 3631) and many state and local laws, prohibit a landlord from selecting tenants based on certain criteria. 

A landlord must treat every tenant equally. Illegal discrimination occurs when the landlord:

  • Refuses to rent to members of a certain race

  • Denies the availability of an available rental dwelling or steers renters to a certain area based on race

  • Creates unreasonable restrictions on the number of people that may live in the rental unit

  • Includes preferences or limitations in a rental advertisement

  • Creates different terms or standards for certain tenants

  • Terminates a tenancy based on a discriminatory reason

  • Provides services or facilities only for certain tenants

  • Demands sexual favors or creates a sexually hostile environment

  • Refuses to make reasonable accommodations for a disabled tenant

  • Fails to stop another tenant from making discriminatory, harassing, or threatening comments to a person in a protected category

The Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) is responsible for enforcing state fair housing laws that make it illegal to discriminate in housing.

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