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Legal and Self Advocacy

About ODHH

Legal and Self Advocacy

There are many laws in place to ensure that people who are Deaf or hard of hearing are not discriminated against and have equal and full access to resources and services.

Maryland Commission on Civil Rights

About MCCR
Maryland anti-discrimination laws for housing, employment, and public accommodations are enforced by the Maryland Commission on Civil Rights (MCCR). These laws can be found by visiting Michie’s Legal Resources online and clicking on “State Government.” Then click on “Title 20. Human Rights.”
How To File a Complaint
If you have experienced discrimination in one of these areas, you should contact MCCR. The vlog on the left explains how to file a complaint if you experienced discrimination in a place of public accommodation. The process is similar for complaints of discrimination in housing and employment.


United States Department of Justice
The U.S. Department of Justice is responsible for enforcing the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) with respect to businesses (any size; for-profit and non-profit) and discrimination by state and local governments.

Making Your Case

A self-study course designed to help people advocate for positive changes in public policies that impact people who are Deaf and hard of hearing.

Check out this video about being an advocate for positive change in public policy

Filing a Complaint

When you encounter discrimination by businesses or service providers, you can file a complaint under ADA Title III.  There is no time limit for filing an ADA Title III complaint with the U.S. Department of Justice, but you should file as soon as possible.

When you encounter discrimination by state and local governments, you may file a complaint under ADA Title II. You must file an ADA Title II complaint within 180 days of the discrimination.

You may also file a complaint lawsuit in state or federal court.  There are deadlines for filing complaints in court.  These deadlines differ in each state.

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is responsible for investigating charges of workplace discrimination by businesses (for-profit; non-profit; with 15 or more employees) and state and local government agencies.  If you believe that your employer has discriminated against you on the basis of disability, you may file a complaint with the EEOC.  You must first file a complaint with the EEOC before you can file a lawsuit in court.

You may find your local EEOC office online at

After you file a complaint, the EEOC can investigate your case.  The EEOC may try to resolve your case informally through mediation.  If the EEOC cannot resolve the case through mediation, the EEOC will decide whether to bring a lawsuit on your behalf.  If the EEOC decides not to bring a lawsuit or finds that there was no discrimination, you will get letter that permits you to file a lawsuit in court.  This is called a “right to sue” letter.  After you receive this letter, you have 90 days to file a lawsuit in court.

For more information, see

Federal Communications Commission

The Federal Communication Commission (FCC) is responsible for enforcing closed captioning requirements for television programs.

When you see a television program that has no captions, missing captions, delayed captions, captions that are garbled, displayed too fast, or unreadable, you can file a complaint.

How to File a Captioning Complaint

Closed captioning complaints must be sent first to your local television station, cable television provider, or satellite television service.  If they cannot solve the problem, or you are not satisfied with the response you receive (or if you receive no response), you can send your complaint to the FCC.

For more information about filing closed captioning complaints, see the FCC’s Tips on Filing Closed Captioning Complaints at

Maryland Governor’s Office of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Resources


Virtual Directory NEW!

Policies & Resource Guides

Resource Guide: Public Closed Captioning in Maryland

Community Resources


Maryland Commission on Civil Rights (State of Maryland)
Maryland Disability Law Center


National Association of the Deaf’s Law and Advocacy Center

Mid-Atlantic ADA Center

Eisenberg & Baum Law, LLP: Law Center for Deaf and Hard of Hearing

Americans with Disabilities Act

Office for Civil Rights
Office of Compliance

Office of Health Care Quality

Federal Communications Commission: Closed Captioning