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Archive for August, 2016

FTA Offers Technical Assistance (Aug. 31, 2016)

Wednesday, August 31st, 2016

Are you working on a federally funded transit project and interested in supporting development that helps communities grow their economies, achieve social equity goals, and improve quality of life? If so, consider applying for help from national experts as part of FTA’s Transit-Oriented Development technical assistance initiative. Our technical assistance, provided through a partnership with Smart Growth America (SGA), provides new ideas, resources, and capacity for building transit-oriented development. Local or regional governments with an active federally funded transit project (such as New Starts, Small Starts, or TIGER) are eligible to apply.

To learn more about this opportunity and the application process, join SGA for an informational webinar at 1 p.m. EDT Wednesday, September 7 for an overview of the application process and tips for successful applications.. This online event is free, but registration is required.

Office of Disability Employment Policy Newsletter (Aug. 26, 2016)

Friday, August 26th, 2016

For more information, go to www.dol.gov/odep.

ODEP Adds New Policies in Practice Profiles to Its Website
ODEP has added five new faces to the Policies in Practice series on its website. These profiles highlight real people with disabilities and their successes in the workplace. Visit ODEP’s website to learn about Michael Adams, Accounting Assistant; Sam Joehl, Principal Technical Consultant; Meghan Jones, Office Clerk; Elizabeth Kumar, Peer Mentor; and Eric Wright, Lead Technologist. While you are there, read about all of the folks featured as examples of ODEP’s policies in everyday practice.

What’s in a Routine? — JAN Blog
In an August 19 post on the Job Accommodation Network (JAN) blog site, Melanie Whetzel, Lead Consultant on the Cognitive/Neurological Team, provided a comprehensive overview of ways that establishing a daily routine can be helpful to everyone, including people with cognitive or neurological disabilities. She offered tips for establishing a routine at work, as well as examples of people who have successfully used routines as a job accommodation. “With a routine we master tasks by becoming better and quicker,” noted Whetzel. “And as we accomplish things, we move closer and closer to our goals.”

Latest EARN Newsletter Now Available
The Employer Assistance and Resource Network on Disability Inclusion (EARN) has issued its August 19 newsletter, featuring information on accommodations for educators with disabilities, the 2016 Henry Viscardi Achievement Award, upcoming web events, and more.

VA Seeks Comments on VEPFS Grant Program Interim Final Rule
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is establishing a Veterans Employment Pay for Success (VEPFS) program to award grants to eligible entities to fund projects that are successful in accomplishing employment rehabilitation for Veterans with service-connected disabilities. VA will award grants on the basis of an eligible entity’s proposed use of a Pay for Success (PFS) strategy to achieve goals. The VA has published an interim final rule establishing regulations for awarding a VEPFS grant, including the general process for awarding the grant, criteria and parameters for evaluating grant applications, priorities related to the award of a grant, and general requirements and guidance for administering a VEPFS grant program. Comments on the rule must be received on or before October 11, 2016.

Access Board to Hold an Open Q&A Webinar — September 1, 2:30 PM ET
The Access Board will hold a session in its regular webinar series that provides an opportunity to ask questions on any topic related to the Board’s work and activities. Questions are welcome on the Board’s accessibility requirements and rulemaking activities, including the ADA and ABA Accessibility Standards, and other topics related to the Board’s work. Accessibility specialists will answer questions submitted in advance during the first half of the session, leaving time in the second half to answer questions in the live session. Speakers include Bill Botten, Accessibility Specialist, and Marsha Mazz, Director, both of the Access Board’s Office of Technical and Information Services.

Apply Now for Technical Assistance for Transit-Oriented Development (Aug. 23, 2016)

Wednesday, August 24th, 2016

Are you working on a federally funded transit project and interested in supporting development that helps communities grow their economies, achieve social equity goals, and improve quality of life? If so, consider applying for help from national experts as part of FTA’s Transit-Oriented Development technical assistance initiative. Our technical assistance, provided through a partnership with Smart Growth America (SGA), provides new ideas, resources, and capacity for building transit-oriented development. Local or regional governments with an active federally funded transit project (such as New Starts, Small Starts, or TIGER) are eligible to apply.

To learn more about this opportunity and the application process, join SGA for an informational webinar at 1 p.m. EDT Wednesday, September 7 for an overview of the application process and tips for successful applications.. This online event is free, but registration is required.

For more information, go to https://todresources.org/.

Office of Disability Employment Policy: Business $ense (Aug. 23, 2016)

Wednesday, August 24th, 2016

Small Business Spotlight: Avery Hall Insurance Company

Avery Hall Insurance — an insurance group with offices in Eastern Maryland and Delaware — is on a mission to provide its customers and the companies it represents with the highest standard of service, professionalism and dedication. Key to delivering on that mission is the people it hires, which includes people of all abilities.

For many businesses, particularly small ones, it takes a great first experience hiring a person with a disability to help launch a disability inclusive work environment. That was certainly the case at Avery Hall, which was won over by the skills and talents of a young intern with a disability named Caitlyn.

The firm recruited Caitlyn through its local Business Leadership Network (BLN) chapter, the Eastern Shore Business Leadership Network (ESBLN), which contacted Avery Hall about a possible intern placement. While Avery Hall’s hiring managers had some initial trepidations about the prospect of hiring an intern with a disability, due merely to their lack of experience and exposure, their concerns were allayed by ESBLN, which clearly explained how Caitlyn’s skills matched the company’s needs.

The next step was the interview. Caitlyn, who uses a walker, expressed her eagerness to learn and her excitement about the internship opportunity. She impressed Avery Hall’s hiring manager with her confidence, qualifications and ambition, and she was quickly offered the job. Caitlyn joined Avery Hall three days a week for half-day shifts after her morning at school. She commuted by bus and proved herself to be a loyal and productive worker, eager to learn any task her colleagues were willing to teach her. Caitlyn began her internship learning basic computer processing, and her skills grew from there. Avery Hall ultimately offered her a part-time position, and today she continues to tackle any task that comes her way.

Since hiring Caitlyn, Avery Hall has also hired another full-time employee with a disability named Lauren. Because Lauren uses a wheelchair, the company installed a lift to allow barrier-free access to its second floor, which enables both Lauren and Caitlyn to participate in company luncheons and parties. Lauren has obtained her Property & Casualty insurance license, and is moving through the channels at the company very quickly.
“They say that employers who offer internships for people with disabilities are more likely to hire a person with a disability than those who do not. That’s certainly been the case at our company, where one great intern served as a gateway to a disability-inclusive workplace culture,” said Avery Hall’s Assistant Vice President Angie Strouth.

For more information on internships and other leading practices, access Small Business and Disability Employment: Steps to Success, which provides practical guidance for small businesses on how to recruit and retain qualified people with disabilities.

Editor’s Note: This is the latest installment in a periodic series of “Business Sense” issues showcasing the experiences of actual small businesses that are working to foster a disability-inclusive workplace culture. If you know of additional small businesses we should feature here, please tell us about them by contacting the Employer Assistance and Resource Network on Disability Inclusion (EARN)

Office of Disability Employment Policy Newsletter (Aug. 19, 2016)

Saturday, August 20th, 2016

For more information, go to www.dol.gov/odep.

Advisory Committee on Increasing Competitive Integrated Employment for Individuals with Disabilities to Meet August 29, 1:00-2:00 PM ET
The next meeting of the Advisory Committee on Increasing Competitive Integrated Employment for Individuals with Disabilities (the Committee) will be open to the public and take place by webinar on August 29, 1:00-2:00 PM ET. On August 29, the Committee will meet to confirm consensus on the Final Report. Members of the public wishing to participate in the webinar must register in advance of the meeting, by August 19, 2016.

U.S. Department of Labor Announces Grant Opportunities for University-Based Labor Research and Evaluation
The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has announced the availability of approximately $2 million in grants intended to support university-based research of labor policies and issues. DOL’s Chief Evaluation Office will administer a total of up to 10 Labor Research and Evaluation grants, ranging from $100,000 to $250,000, to support evaluation and research on the following suggested topics: employee benefits security; miner safety and health; wage and hour and labor standards; worker and workplace safety and health; workers’ compensation; labor-management relations; international topics in worker protection including child and forced labor issues; improving equal employment opportunities; innovative approaches to evaluating the impact of DOL’s worker protection programs and policies using existing administrative or other data; and low-cost, randomized controlled trials or natural experiments to evaluate the impact of DOL programs. The deadline to apply is 4:00 PM ET on October 3, 2016.

Helping Workers Keep Their Jobs After an Injury, Illness, or Disability — September 13, 12:00-1:30 PM ET
On September 13, 12:00-1:30 PM ET, the Stay-at-Work/Return-to-Work (SAW/RTW) Policy Collaborative of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy and Mathematica’s Center for Studying Disability Policy will host a policy forum and webinar to share actionable recommendations for policies that can improve the SAW/RTW outcomes of workers who experience injury, illness, or disability. State and federal policymakers, employers, workers, service providers, staff of professional associations, and researchers are invited to participate to learn more about SAW/RTW initiatives and contribute to a discussion of critical policy and programmatic issues.

Reasonable Accommodation Toolkit: Implementing an Inclusion Infrastructure — JAN Archived Webcast
The Job Accommodation Network (JAN), in collaboration with Deb Dagit, Principal for Deb Dagit Diversity, Inc., have created an online toolkit for enhancing disability inclusivity in the workplace through a robust and equitable reasonable accommodation (RA) process. This suite of tools for managing the RA process includes sample accommodation policies and practices, forms for each stage of the interactive process, and three training presentations with embedded role play videos illustrating best practices for managers and supervisors for handling disability disclosures and requests for RA. While the toolkit will not be formally launched until late September, this archived webcast serves as an overview of the toolkit and its contents.

ODEP Website Features Resources for Small Businesses
Small businesses employ half of all private sector employees in the United States, but they employ people with disabilities at a much lower rate than larger companies. ODEP has created a topic page on its website designed to provide small employers with the tools they need to recruit, hire, and retain people with disabilities.

Workforce Recruitment Program Seeks Federal Employees to Recruit Students with Disabilities
The Workforce Recruitment Program (WRP) is a recruitment and referral program that connects federal and private sector employers nationwide with highly motivated college students and recent graduates with disabilities who are eager to prove their abilities in the workplace through summer or permanent jobs. The WRP is the primary pipeline bringing students and recent graduates with disabilities into federal employment. Volunteers are needed to act as WRP recruiters for the upcoming recruitment season, which runs from October 27 through November 18, 2016. Recruiters must be federal employees who can commit to conducting at least 10 30-minute phone interviews with students from across the country, and to evaluate each student candidate in writing. The required recruiter training is conducted online and can be completed in about 90 minutes. Registration is open until September 2, 2016.

Webinar: Disability Diversity in the Higher Education Workforce — October 13, 1:00-2:00 PM ET
On October 13 from 1:00-2:00 PM ET, the Employer Assistance and Resource Network on Disability Inclusion (EARN) and the Higher Education Recruitment Consortium (HERC)—an ODEP Alliance partner—will co-host a webinar on best practices for disability inclusion in the higher education workplace environment. All professionals involved in higher education recruitment and hiring are invited to attend, and the webinar is approved for one HR general recertification credit hour through the HR Certification Institute. There is no cost to participate, but registration is required.

PEAT Blog Explores the ADA and Accessible Workplace Technology
The ODEP-funded Partnership on Employment & Accessible Technology (PEAT) has issued a blog post recapping its recent “PEAT Talk” webinar held in honor of the 26th anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The piece offers insights from the event’s featured speaker, legal expert Bobby Silverstein, who addressed how the ADA and related policy developments apply to accessible technology in the workplace.

WISE Webinar — Ticket to Work: Working with a Federal Contractor — August 31, 3:00-4:30 PM ET
The “Ticket to Work: Working with a Federal Contractor” Work Incentive Seminar Event (WISE) webinar will be held August 31, 3:00-4:30 PM ET. The webinar is for people receiving Social Security disability benefits, and will present information on Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act. Section 503 is a regulation that prohibits federal contractors and subcontractors from discriminating against people with disabilities and requires these employers to take action to recruit, hire, promote, and retain more people with disabilities. Topics to be covered include Section 503 changes and what they mean for Social Security disability beneficiaries, tips for self-identification during the application and hiring process, and Ticket to Work and work incentives.

AAPD Seeks Disability Mentoring Day Coordinators
Disability Mentoring Day (DMD) is a large-scale national effort coordinated by the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) to promote career development for students and job-seekers with disabilities through hands-on career exploration and ongoing mentoring relationships. While DMD has been and continues to be officially launched the third Wednesday of each October during National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM), the foundation of the program has expanded from a one-day event to a year-round initiative across the country. The growth of DMD is made possible by the unwavering work of DMD Coordinators across the country who volunteer their time to host and manage the logistical requirements for local and regional programs. These events produce life changing results for mentees, such as full time employment and internship opportunities. AAPD continues to increase the reach of DMD through growing its network of DMD coordinators. If you or anyone you know may be interested or want additional information on becoming a DMD coordinator, please email AAPD at DMD@aapd.com.

Office of Disability Employment Policy News Brief (Aug. 12, 2016)

Friday, August 12th, 2016

For more information, go to www.dol.gov/odep.

Advisory Committee on Increasing Competitive Integrated Employment for Individuals with Disabilities to Meet August 29, 1:00-2:00 PM ET
The next meeting of the Advisory Committee on Increasing Competitive Integrated Employment for Individuals with Disabilities (the Committee) will be open to the public and take place by webinar on August 29, 1:00-2:00 PM ET. On August 29, the Committee will meet to confirm consensus on the Final Report. Members of the public wishing to participate in the webinar must register in advance of the meeting, by August 19, 2016.

Event Brings Mental Health to the Forefront
As part of its observance of the 26th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) this week hosted a special event focused on the importance of workplace supports for people with mental health conditions. The event included a screening of the powerful documentary “Mind/Game: The Unquiet Journey of Chamique Holdsclaw,” followed by a discussion with Holdsclaw, a former basketball star who now dedicates her time to advocating for others with mental health conditions, as well as the film’s creator, Rick Goldsmith. Following the event, Holdsclaw penned a blog post for DOL about the importance of ensuring support for all people with disabilities, including those whose disabilities are not visible to the eye.

ODEP Puts a Focus on Mental Health and Employment
Nearly one in five Americans may experience some form of mental illness each year. Every day people with mental illness contribute considerable skills and talents to America’s workforce; therefore, supporting the mental health needs of workers is good for employees, employers and society at large. To provide resources to assist in fostering mental health-friendly workplaces, ODEP has created a Mental Health topic page on its website.

PEAT Talks: The IAAP and the Growth of a Global Accessibility Profession — August 18, 2:00-2:30 PM ET
The next PEAT Talk, to be held August 18, 2:00-2:30 PM ET, will feature Rob Sinclair, President of the IAAP Global Leadership Team, who will discuss the mission of the International Association of Accessibility Professionals (IAAP) and its approach to encouraging the growth of a worldwide accessibility profession. This includes its active member community answering implementation and strategy questions, education and certification programs to help professionals keep their skills up-to-date, and creating tools and templates to help organizations build and run their own internal accessibility programs. The recently announced merger with G3ict will help take these programs to the next level by increasing global reach and much more.

Department of Justice Revises Regulations to Implement Requirements of ADA Amendments Act of 2008
A final rule revising the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Title II and Title III regulations to implement the requirements of the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA) was published in the Federal Register on August 11 and will take effect on October 11, 2016. The ADAAA made a number of significant changes to the meaning and interpretation of the ADA definition of disability to ensure that the term would be broadly construed and applied without extensive analysis so that all individuals with disabilities could receive the law’s protections. Although the ADAAA is already in effect and applies to entities covered under Title II and III of the ADA, DOJ’s changes to its Title II and III regulations will help clarify the interpretation and application of the ADAAA.

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Weekly Digest Bulletin

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2016

On July 26, 1990, President George H.W. Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Act into law, making it illegal for employers to discriminate against qualified job applicants and employees based on their physical or mental disabilities. The law also requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to applicants and employees who need them because of their disabilities, unless doing so would cause undue hardship.

EEOC is proud to be a leader in advancing opportunity for people with disabilities. To honor the ADA’s 26th anniversary, we invite you to check out our disability discrimination page for helpful information about disability rights and responsibilities and how EEOC is helping people with disabilities in the workplace. Let this web page be your guide to learning more about your rights and responsibilities at work.

For more information, go to www.eeoc.gov.

Participate in FTA’s National Online Dialogue to Develop 5-Year Research Strategic Plan (Aug. 2016)

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2016

FTA’s Associate Administrator for Research, Demonstration and Innovation Vincent Valdes invites you to participate in FTA’s National Online Dialogue to develop our 5-Year Research Strategic Plan.

What transportation innovations should FTA’s research program support in the next five years? FTA is taking a fresh look at its research program priorities through the lens of a five-year strategic plan. The plan will guide how FTA positions itself to be forward-thinking in how we develop new tools and technologies to advance access and mobility for all.

We want to hear from you! FTA has launched an online dialogue to inform the agency’s Research Strategic Plan. We welcome any and all ideas during the dialogue, which closes September 8. The Research Strategic Plan will set the stage for what types of research FTA should support and highlight pathways for translating proven research solutions into new and better ways of doing business. For example, years of investment in the National Fuel Cell Bus Program led to several rounds of low or no-emission bus technology deployment and in 2016, the agency established an annual grants program with dedicated funding for new technology buses.

For more information on how you can contribute to FTA’s 5-Year Research Strategic Plan online dialogue, join us for an informational webinar on Thursday, August 11 from 3:30-4:30 p.m. EDT.

For more information, go to https://connectdotcqpub1.connectsolutions.com/content/connect/.

“EO Is the Law” and “EEO is THE LAW”: Understanding Some of The Distinctions

Monday, August 1st, 2016

Depending on your source(s) of federal funding, there are certain required notices and posters that must be displayed prominently throughout areas where you meet, greet, and work with members of your public.  For example, if you receive funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for public housing, you are required to place “Fair Housing is The Law” posters throughout the areas where you interact with the public. For entities that receive funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, you are required to post the “Non-Discrimination Notice and Non-Discrimination Statement.” Recipients of funding by the U.S. Department of Education also must post a nondiscrimination notice.

These notices and posters are intended to promote compliance with federal civil rights laws by notifying members of (1) the public of their right to nondiscrimination, and (2) your staff of their obligations to conduct programs and activities in compliance with applicable civil rights laws.

Knowing what federal posters to display in the area of equal opportunity often can be confusing.  And, this is particularly true for Equal Opportunity (EO) Officers of agencies, organizations, and other entities that deliver services, aid, training, and benefits funded under Title I of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), amending the Workforce Investment Act (WIA).  For WIOA-funded programs and activities, the “Equal Opportunity is The Law” (referred to as “EO Is the Law”) poster must be prominently displayed throughout all public areas.  Recipients of WIOA Title I-financial assistance include state and local governments, American Job Network centers, Job Corps centers, local Workforce Investment Boards, Unemployment Insurance call centers, colleges, universities, and many other providers involved in the system of delivering WIOA Title I-related aid, benefits, services, and training.

The “EO Is the Law” poster, however, is often confused with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s “Equal Employment Opportunity is The Law” (referred to as the “EEO Is the Law”) poster.  Similarities in the titles of these notices often lead to confusion in understanding some of their differences.

For purposes of this paper, we will assume you serve as the EO Officer for an entity offering WIOA-funded workforce development programs and activities.  By law, the “EO Is the Law” notice must be prominently displayed throughout your public areas.  29 C.F.R. § 37.30 (WIA); 29 C.F.R. § 38.34, 38.36, and 38.39 (WIOA).

    The “Equal Opportunity Is the Law” notice

Equal Opportunity Is the Law

 It is against the law for this recipient of Federal financial assistance under WIOA-Title I to discriminate on the following bases:

against any individual in the United States, on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, political affiliation or belief; and

against any beneficiary of programs financially assisted under Title I of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014 (WIOA), on the basis of the beneficiary’s citizenship/status as a lawfully admitted immigrant authorized to work in the United States, or his or her participation in any WIOA Title I-financially assisted program or activity.

The recipient must not discriminate in any of the following areas:

deciding who will be admitted, or have access, to any WIOA-Title I financially assisted program or activity;

providing opportunities in, or treating any person with regard to, such a program or activity; or

making employment decisions in the administration of, or in connection with, such a program or activity.

 What to Do If You Believe You Have Experienced Discrimination

 If you think that you have been subjected to discrimination under a WIOA Title I-financially assisted program or activity, you may file a complaint within 180 days from the date of the alleged violation with either:

the recipient’s Equal Opportunity Officer (or the person whom the recipient has designated for this purpose); or

the Director, Civil Rights Center (CRC), U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue NW, Room N-4123, Washington, DC 20210.

If you file your complaint with the recipient, you must wait either until the recipient issues a written Notice of Final Action, or until 90 days have passed (whichever is sooner), before filing with the Civil Rights Center (see address above).

If the recipient does not give you a written Notice of Final Action within 90 days of the day on which you filed your complaint, you do not have to wait for the recipient to issue that Notice before filing a complaint with CRC. However, you must file your CRC complaint within 30 days of the 90-day deadline (in other words, within 120 days after the day on which you filed your complaint with the recipient).

If the recipient does give you a written Notice of Final Action on your complaint, but you are dissatisfied with the decision or resolution, you may file a complaint with CRC. You must file your CRC complaint within 30 days of the date on which you received the Notice of Final Action.

√    Initial and continuing notice required

As the EO professional for a recipient of WIOA-Title I financial assistance, you must ensure that “initial and continuing notice” is provided.  29 C.F.R. § 37.29 (WIA); 29 C.F.R. § 38.34, 38.36, and 38.39 (WIOA).  What does this mean?

This means the “EO Is the Law” notice must be “prominently” posted in a variety of places at your center, agency, facility, office headquarters, and the like.  And, it must be available in an alternative formats for persons with disabilities.

You must document initial and continuing notice to a beneficiary or potential beneficiary.  For this reason, you must ensure there is “a record that such notice has been given” in “the participant’s file.”

Persons who are limited English proficient (LEP) also must receive notice.  Consequently, the “EO Is the Law” notice should be available in appropriate languages.  Check with your state EO leadership, or with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Civil Rights Center, for LEP-related materials, including versions of the “EO Is the Law” notice in other languages.  The U.S. Department of Justice Web site, at www.lep.gov, also offers valuable guidance.  

Providing notice on a “continuing basis” means, in addition to prominently-placed posters, the notice must be communicated through internal memoranda and other written or electronic communications.  It must be included in your handbooks and materials.

Continuing notice extends to including taglines that the recipient is an “equal opportunity employer/program,” and “auxiliary aids and services are available upon request to persons with disabilities” in your:

●     recruitment brochures;

●    orientation materials and presentations;

●    written and oral communications to staff, clients, or the public regarding WIOA-Title I programs and activities; and

●    publications and broadcasts regarding the WIOA-Title I programs and activities.

Moreover, during each orientation session, you must include a discussion of rights under WIOA’s nondiscrimination and equal opportunity provisions at Section 188, including the right to file a complaint of discrimination with the Director of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Civil Rights Center.

    The “EEO Is the Law” notice

The “EEO Is the Law” notice was developed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC).  The EEOC’s “EEO Is the Law” notice reads, in part, as follows:

Equal Employment Opportunity is THE LAW

 Private Employers, State and Local Governments, Educational Institutions, Employment Agencies and Labor Organizations

Applicants to and employees of most private employers, state and local governments, educational institutions, employment agencies and labor organizations are protected under Federal law from discrimination on the following bases:

RACE, COLOR, RELIGION, SEX, NATIONAL ORIGIN

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, protects applicants and employees from discrimination in hiring, promotion, discharge, pay, fringe benefits, job training, classification, referral, and other aspects of employment, on the basis of race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), or national origin. Religious discrimination includes failing to reasonably accommodate an employee’s religious practices where the accommodation does not impose undue hardship.

DISABILITY

Title I and Title V of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended, protect qualified individuals from discrimination on the basis of disability in hiring, promotion, discharge, pay, fringe benefits, job training, classification, referral, and other aspects of employment. Disability discrimination includes not making reasonable accommodation to the known physical or mental limitations of an otherwise qualified individual with a disability who is an applicant or employee, barring undue hardship.

AGE

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, as amended, protects applicants and employees 40 years of age or older from discrimination based on age in hiring, promotion, discharge, pay, fringe benefits, job training, classification, referral, and other aspects of employment.

SEX (WAGES)

In addition to sex discrimination prohibited by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, as amended, the Equal Pay Act of 1963, as amended, prohibits sex discrimination in the payment of wages to women and men performing substantially equal work, in jobs that require equal skill, effort, and responsibility, under similar working conditions, in the same establishment.

GENETICS

Title II of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 protects applicants and employees from discrimination based on genetic information in hiring, promotion, discharge, pay, fringe benefits, job training, classification, referral, and other aspects of employment. GINA also restricts employers’ acquisition of genetic information and strictly limits disclosure of genetic information. Genetic information includes information about genetic tests of applicants, employees, or their family members; the manifestation of diseases or disorders in family members (family medical history); and requests for or receipt of genetic services by applicants, employees, or their family members.

RETALIATION

All of these Federal laws prohibit covered entities from retaliating against a person who files a charge of discrimination, participates in a discrimination proceeding, or otherwise opposes an unlawful employment practice.

WHAT TO DO IF YOU BELIEVE DISCRIMINATION HAS OCCURRED

There are strict time limits for filing charges of employment discrimination. To preserve the ability of EEOC to act on your behalf and to protect your right to file a private lawsuit, should you ultimately need to, you should contact EEOC promptly when discrimination is suspected: The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), 1-800-669-4000 (toll-free) or 1-800-669-6820 (toll-free TTY number for individuals with hearing impairments). EEOC field office information is available at www.eeoc.gov or in most telephone directories in the U.S. Government or Federal Government section. Additional information about EEOC, including information about charge filing, is available at www.eeoc.gov.

Employers Holding Federal Contracts or Subcontracts

Applicants to and employees of companies with a Federal government contract or subcontract are protected under Federal law from discrimination on the following bases:

RACE, COLOR, RELIGION, SEX, NATIONAL ORIGIN

Executive Order 11246, as amended, prohibits job discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin, and requires affirmative action to ensure equality of opportunity in all aspects of employment.

INDIVIDUALS WITH DISABILITIES

Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, protects qualified individuals from discrimination on the basis of disability in hiring, promotion, discharge, pay, fringe benefits, job training, classification, referral, and other aspects of employment. Disability discrimination includes not making reasonable accommodation to the known physical or mental limitations of an otherwise qualified individual with a disability who is an applicant or employee, barring undue hardship. Section 503 also requires that Federal contractors take affirmative action to employ and advance in employment qualified individuals with disabilities at all levels of employment, including the executive level.

DISABLED, RECENTLY SEPARATED, OTHER PROTECTED, AND ARMED FORCES SERVICE MEDAL VETERANS

The Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974, as amended, 38 U.S.C. 4212, prohibits job discrimination and requires affirmative action to employ and advance in employment disabled veterans, recently separated veterans (within three years of discharge or release from active duty), other protected veterans (veterans who served during a war or in a campaign or expedition for which a campaign badge has been authorized), and Armed Forces service medal veterans (veterans who, while on active duty, participated in a U.S. military operation for which an Armed Forces service medal was awarded).

RETALIATION

Retaliation is prohibited against a person who files a complaint of discrimination, participates in an OFCCP proceeding, or otherwise opposes discrimination under these Federal laws.

Any person who believes a contractor has violated its nondiscrimination or affirmative action obligations under the authorities above should contact immediately:

The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP), U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20210, 1-800-397-6251 (toll-free) or (202) 693-1337 (TTY). OFCCP may also be contacted by e-mail at OFCCP-Public@dol.gov, or by calling an OFCCP regional or district office, listed in most telephone directories under U.S. Government, Department of Labor.

√    Comparing the notices

Comparing the “EO Is the Law” notice with the “EEO is THE LAW” notice, we see both notices set forth nondiscrimination requirements, and inform us regarding where to file a discrimination complaint.  However, the “EEO is THE LAW” notice is limited to addressing nondiscrimination with regard to employment practices, whereas the “EO Is the Law” notice is much broader—it applies to employment practices of WIOA-Title I funded recipients and sub-recipients as well as the entire system of delivering WIOA-Title I funded aid, training, benefits, and services to the public.

Moreover, while some “bases” of prohibited discrimination are the same in the two notices (race, color, national origin, religion, disability, gender), there also are important differences.  For example, the WIOA-related “EO Is the Law” notice also prohibits discrimination on the bases of citizenship, WIOA participant status, and political affiliation.  And, the “EEO is THE LAW” notice prohibits discrimination in employment practices on the basis of genetics.

Additionally, although both notices prohibit discrimination on the basis of age, the “EEO is THE LAW” nondiscrimination provisions apply to persons over 40 years of age in the workplace.  But, the age-based nondiscrimination provisions of the “EO Is the Law” notice prohibit discrimination on the basis of any age in WIOA-Title I-related employment practices as well as in the delivery of WIOA-Title I funded programs and activities.

Finally, both notices provide instructions for filing discrimination complaints, but we see the complaints are filed at different locations.  The WIOA-related “EO Is the Law” notice provides that complaints may be filed within 180 days of the date of the adverse action with:

√  the recipient’s Equal Opportunity Officer (or the person whom the recipient has designated for this purpose); or

√ the Director, Civil Rights Center (CRC), U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue NW, Room N-4123, Washington, DC 20210.

This is compared to the discrimination complaint process set forth in the “EEO is THE LAW” notice, which provides:

There are strict time limits for filing charges of employment discrimination. To preserve the ability of EEOC to act on your behalf and to protect your right to file a private lawsuit, should you ultimately need to, you should contact EEOC promptly when discrimination is suspected: The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), 1-800-669-4000 (toll-free) or 1-800-669-6820 (toll-free TTY number for individuals with hearing impairments). EEOC field office information is available at www.eeoc.gov or in most telephone directories in the U.S. Government or Federal Government section. Additional information about EEOC, including information about charge filing, is available at www.eeoc.gov.

√    Conclusion

If you operate WIOA-Title I financially assisted programs and activities, you must prominently display, and provide initial and ongoing notice of, the U.S. Department of Labor’s “Equal Opportunity Is The Law” notice at your agency, American Job Network Centers (also known as “One Stops”), Local Workforce Investment Board offices, Unemployment Insurance call centers, Job Corps Centers, operator offices, service provider locations, and the like.  You cannot rely solely on the “EEO is THE LAW” notice to meet this requirement.  And, this notice must be provided to each participant of your WIOA-Title I financially assisted programs and activities, and this must be documented in each participant’s file (usually this is accomplished by placing a copy of the notice with the participant’s signature on it in the participant’s file).

About Seena Foster

Seena Foster, award-winning civil rights author and Principal of the discrimination consulting firm, Title VI Consulting in Alexandria, Virginia, provides expertise and guidance in the areas of civil rights compliance and discrimination complaint investigations related to the delivery of federally-assisted workforce development programs and activities. Her customers include state and local governments, colleges and universities, private companies, private counsel, and non-profit organizations. You may contact her at seena@titleviconsulting.com, or visit her web site at www.titleviconsulting.com for additional information regarding the services and resources she offers.

By way of background, in 2003, Ms. Foster served as a Senior Policy Analyst to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Civil Rights Center (CRC). In that capacity, she led a team of equal opportunity specialists to conduct disability-based technical assistance reviews of One-Stop centers, and she assisted the CRC’s leadership in preparing for limited English proficiency-based compliance reviews. Ms. Foster also analyzed and weighed witness statements and documents to prepare numerous final determinations for signature by the CRC Director, which resolved discrimination complaints under a variety of federal civil rights laws such as Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, the Age Discrimination Act, the Rehabilitation Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and Section 188 of the Workforce Investment Act. In 2006, Ms. Foster received the Secretary of Labor’s Equal Employment Opportunity Award in recognition of “exceptional efforts to ensure that individuals with disabilities have full access to employment and related services and benefits at the Nation’s One-Stop Career Centers.” And, at the request of the CRC, Ms. Foster served as a popular workshop speaker at national equal opportunity forums co-sponsored by the CRC and the National Association of State Workforce Agencies. Her presentations covered topics such as the WIA Section 188 disability checklist, conducting discrimination complaint investigations and writing final determinations, and conducting investigations of allegations involving harassment and hostile environment.

With a passion for ensuring nondiscrimination and equal opportunity in the delivery of federally-assisted programs and activities, Ms. Foster remains highly active in the field through her series of on-demand webcasts for equal opportunity professionals as well as through her mediation services, training, and assistance developing policies and procedures designed to ensure compliance with applicable federal civil rights laws. Her training in the areas of compliance and complaint investigations has been described as “dynamic,” “hitting the nail on the head,” “well-organized,” and “informative.” And, her award-winning book on conducting discrimination complaint investigations is viewed as “eye-opening” and “the best on the market.”

Ms. Foster has a “Federal Workplace Mediation” certification through the Northern Virginia Mediation Service. She is a member of the Discrimination Law and Human Rights Law Committees of the International Bar Association. Ms. Foster received her undergraduate degree from Michigan State University, and she has a Juris Doctorate from The George Washington University Law School.