Protestors marching in the streets

Office of Civil Rights

Who We Are

Approved by the Austin City Council in August 2020, the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) is a newly formed department which provides a centralized entity to enforce civil rights anti-discrimination ordinance and federal statutes. OCR will provide education and outreach to the community, deliver feedback and recommendations to city management involving new and expanded initiatives and programs citywide and will work extensively with local, state and federal partners and stakeholders to ensure that Austinites live free from discrimination and other civil rights violations. The Office of Civil Rights will work strategically to promote visibility, transparency, accountability, and responsibility.

What We Do

Office of Civil Rights Enforcement and Compliance

The Office of Civil Rights will focus on critical areas of enforcement and compliance:

Civil Rights Enforcement

  • Housing
  • Employment
  • Public Accommodations
  • Title VI

Labor Standards Enforcement

  • HIV Ordinance
  • Fair Chance Hiring
  • Earned sick time
  • Source of Income
  • Anti-discrimination by City Contractors Ordinance
  • Equal Pay Act of 1963

Title VI Regulatory Compliance

Office of Civil Rights Education, Outreach and Community Engagement

Education/Outreach and Community Engagement

  • Civil Rights Advisory Group
  • Labor Standards Advisory Group
  • Civil Rights Fellowship Program (Interns and Externs/Collaboration with business, legal and university partners)

The Office of Civil Rights provides Executive and Staff liaison support for the following Boards and Commissions:

  • Human Rights Commission
  • Women’s Commission
  • Veteran’s Commission
  • Mayor's Committee for People with Disabilities

Have a complaint?

If you have a complaint you would like to file with the Office of Civil Rights click here, you do so online, by mail or in person by appointment only.

Interested in Community Engagement?

The Office of Civil Rights is committed to creating opportunities for civic engagement. If you are interested in helping to promote civil and worker rights for the City of Austin through OCR’s Civil Rights and Labor Standards advisory groups, send us a note by emailing us. We’ll let you know how to become involved. 

Higher Education Partnerships

The Office of Civil Rights believes in empowering student leadership and helping to train the next generation of Civil Rights Practitioners.  OCR’s Civil Rights Fellowship Program is designed to provide undergraduate and graduate students who are interested in civil and human rights and public service with real-world work experience in civil rights enforcement. OCR’s Civil Rights Fellowship Program will provide interns/externs with an opportunity to increase their knowledge and awareness of civil and human rights issues and learn about local government.

If you’re interested in learning more about OCR’s Civil Rights Fellowship Program, send us a note by emailing us.

COVID-19 Information and Resources

For more information about COVID-19 in the Austin area, please visit the COVID-19 website


Tamela Saldana

Dr. Tamela Saldana, Interim Civil Rights Director 

Dr. Saldana works for the City of Austin’s Small and Minority Business Resources Department, serving as the Assistant Director. She is also currently serving as the City’s Civil Rights Interim Director. Dr. Saldana has close to 25 years of federal, state, and local government experience, having worked as the Director of the federal Disadvantaged and Small Business Program for the Texas Department of Transportation.  

Dr. Saldana earned her Doctorate from the University of Texas in Anthropology of the African and African American Diaspora, emphasizing racial and cultural studies. Dr. Saldana has earned two master’s degrees, an M.P.A. in Public Administration from Texas State University and an M.A. in Anthropology from the University of Texas at Austin. She has been a graduate professor at Texas State University in the Masters of Public Administration Program for more than ten years.  

She is a City of Austin’s Executive Academy graduate, a Leadership Texas graduate, and a previous recipient of the Outstanding Women in Texas Government Community Involvement Award. She has received numerous awards recognizing her efforts and support of small and minority businesses.