Home About Contact |
Icon-UpArrow Civil Complaint (Federal)

How-To: Draft/File Your Discrimination Complaint (Federal)

Background: You are preparing your federal lawsuit
Problem: You are unsure how to write/fill out your federal discrimination complaint
Solution: You follow this guide for creating your discrimination complaint (Federal)

I. Definitions

the depositing of documents with the court or with other public officials to become preserved as part of the official record. Often specific deadlines are imposed by which time the documents must be filed. Failure to meet the deadline may result in the imposition of late fees or may result in the document being excluded from consideration. Court documents must be served on the opposing party.
see service. See also return [FILING].
statements, in logical and legal form, of the facts that constitute plaintiff's cause of action and defendant's ground of defense. Pleadings are other allegations by the parties affirming or denying certain matters of fact, or other statements in support or derogation of certain principles of law, which are intended to describe to the court or jury the real matter in dispute.
AFFIRMATIVE PLEADINGS: any defensive pleadings that affirmatively allege the existence of facts, rather than merely deny the existence of the facts alleged by the plaintiff. For instance, if a plaintiff alleges the nonpayment of a promissory note, the defendant may deny that the note exists, or he may affirmatively plead that the note has been paid.


II. Legal Citations

Rule 3 Fed. R. Civ. P. | Commencing an Action
"A civil action is commenced by filing a complaint with the court."
Rule 8 Fed. R. Civ. P. | General Rules of Pleading
"(a) CLAIM FOR RELIEF. A pleading that states a claim for relief must contain:
(1) a short and plain statement of the grounds for the court’s jurisdiction, unless the court already has jurisdiction and the claim needs no new jurisdictional support; (2) a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief; and (3) a demand for the relief sought, which may include relief in the alternative or different types of relief."
Local Rule 5.7 USFLND | Pro Se Civil-Rights Cases and Collateral Attacks on Criminal Convictions
"(A) Required Forms. A party not represented by an attorney must file... on a form... [any] complaint in a civil-rights case. A case is a civil-rights case if it asserts a claim under the United States Constitution or a statute creating individual rights, including, for example, 42 U.S.C. §1983 or the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The Court need not — and ordinarily will not — consider a petition, motion, or complaint that is not filed on the proper form."
"(B) Requirement to Set Out Claims and Facts as Part of the Form; Memorandum Optional. A petition, motion, or complaint described in subdivision (A) must set out specific claims and supporting facts and may not make reference to a memorandum. A party may, but need not, also file a memorandum with the petition, motion, or complaint. A petition, motion, or complaint, together with any memorandum, must not exceed 25 pages, unless the Court authorizes it."

III. Samples

# PDF Comments
1logoAdobeTBD case. USFLMD. Pro Se Filing. 2020. NOS 442. §1981 Case (+ §760 FS). Employment.iconPriceTag
2alogoAdobeTBD case. USFLND. Pro Se Filing. 2021. §1983 Case. ALJ Perjury. Court FormiconPriceTag
2blogoAdobeTBD case. USFLND. Pro Se Filing. 2021. §1983 Case. ALJ Perjury.iconPriceTag
3logoAdobeUSNYWD. 2007. Pro Se Filing. Title VII. ADEA. 6 Pages.iconPriceTag
4logoAdobeUSNYWD. 2007. Attorney Filing. ADA. Title VII. Title IX. 33 Pages.iconPriceTag
5logoAdobeUSNYWD. 2007. Attorney Filing. Title VII. Race. Conciliation Attempted. 11 Pages.iconPriceTag
6logoAdobeUSNYWD. 2007. Attorney Filing. ADA. State Law. 14 Pages.iconPriceTag
7logoAdobeUSNYWD. 2007. Attorney Filing. ADA. Title VII. State Law. 21 Pages.iconPriceTag
8logoAdobeUSNYWD. 2007. Attorney Filing. EPA. Title VII. State Law. 17 Pages.iconPriceTag
9logoAdobeUSNYWD. 2007. Attorney Filing. ADEA. State Law. 15 Pages.iconPriceTag
10logoAdobeUSNYWD. 2007. Attorney Filing. ADEA. 4 Pages.iconPriceTag
11logoAdobeUSNYWD. 2007. Attorney Filing. ADEA. State Law. 7 Pages.iconPriceTag
12logoAdobeUSNYWD. 2007. Pro Se Filing. ADEA. 7 Pages. Court Form.iconPriceTag
13logoAdobeUSNYWD. 2007. Attorney Filing. ADEA. State Law. 8 Pages.iconPriceTag
14logoAdobeUSNYWD. 2007. Attorney Filing. ADEA. State law. 13 Pages.iconPriceTag
15logoAdobeUSNYWD. 2007. Pro Se Filing. ADEA. 6 Pages. Court Form.iconPriceTag
16logoAdobeUSNYWD. 2007. Attorney Filing. Title VII. 12 Pages.iconPriceTag
17logoAdobeUSNYWD. 2007. Attorney Filing. ADA. 8 Pages.iconPriceTag
18logoAdobeUSNYWD. 2007. Attorney Filing. Title VII. State Law. §1983. 10 Pages.iconPriceTag
19logoAdobeUSNYWD. 2007. Pro Se Filing. ADA. Title VII. 15 Pages. Court Form.iconPriceTag
20logoAdobeUSNYWD. 2007. Attorney Filing. ADEA. FMLA. State Law. 11 Pages.iconPriceTag
21logoAdobeUSCOAD. 2023. Pro Se. ADA. CADA (State Law). Title VII. 26 Pages. Wrongfully Assumed Disability.iconPriceTag

IV. Forms

# Link Comments
1Official Court Form. Interactive/Electronic. PDF Version. USFLMD.Free
2Official Court Form. Interactive/Electronic. PDF Version. USFLND.Free
3Official Court Form. Interactive/Electronic. MS Word Version. USFLMDFree

V. Templates

# Link Comments
1iconMSWordReplace all of the placeholder tags with real information (eg "[plfName]" becomes "John Doe").iconPriceTag

VI. Quick Commentary

  • Remember to check the box to indicate whether or not you want a Jury Trial
    • Almost all cases (≈99%) elect to have a trial by jury
    • The alternative is a bench trial
  • Consider labeling your complaint "Verified Civil Complaint"
    • Do this if the ultimate facts in your case are indisputable (eg, "ABC Inc. never promotes the women into executive positions")
  • Note: You can get by with only using the court form
    • some districts (eg, USFLND) require it from you (ie, a Pro Se litigant)
    • check the local rules of court for your district
  • Important Tip: Write "Based upon information & belief" for the facts you are unsure of (ie, things you suspect)
    • Example: "Upon information & belief, Defendant's CEO instructed Plaintiff's manager to fire Plaintiff because Defendant had 'too many of them'."
  • Use the court-issued form (see Part III - above) to complete your federal 'Civil Complaint'
  • Utilize the free-hand template (see Part IV - above) to write your federal 'Civil Complaint'
  • Read the court-issued guide for additional help
  • Review the District Court Lookup Table to help identify the proper court
  • Cite all of the statutes that you are suing under (eg, Title VII, 42 USC §2000e; 42 USC §1981; §760 FS; etc.)
  • Download as many sample documents as you'd like
    • Model your language after the language that lawyers use
  • Save the final version as a PDF file.
  • Assemble the package
    1. Civil Cover Sheet
    2. Handle the Filing Fee
      • Pay the filing fee (≈$400); OR
      • Apply for a waiver of fees (ie, Motion for Leave to Proceed in Forma Pauperis
    3. This complaint
    4. The Federal Summons/
  • File the final version in court

VII. Quick Analysis

  • Almost every complaint lists multiple protected characteristics (eg, "Age and Sex", "Disability, Color, Race, Sex", etc.)
For deeper insight, please see TBD's Civil Complaint Analysis

VIII. Additional Notes

  • Estimated Time ≈ 1-5 hours
  • Pro Se 7 (Employment Discrimination Complaint Form)

IX. Conclusion

With the use of the form (as well as the samples above), you can more easily draft your Civil Complaint (Federal).


Congratulations! You're now booked up on how to write your Civil Rights Complaint (federal).

Please get the justice you deserve.


Pages That You
Might Also Like
File Federal Cover Sheet File State Complaint
Petition for Relief
add a comment
IconQuiz IconLike
Icon-Email-WBIcon-Email-WG Icon-Youtube-WBIcon-Youtube-WG Icon-Share-WBIcon-Share-WG