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U.S. Department of Justice Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (Oct. 18, 2017)

Thursday, October 19th, 2017

Upcoming Webinar Schedule

IER Webinars

The Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (IER) is offering a number of free, informative webinars for the public in October and November. These include webinars for workers, employers, and advocates. Please review the webinar schedule to choose the right presentation for you.

IER enforces the anti-discrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act. This law prohibits citizenship, immigration status, and national origin discrimination in hiring, firing, or recruitment or referral for a fee; unfair documentary practices; retaliation and intimidation. For more information visit www.justice.gov/ier.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017 at 1:00 pm ET
IER Worker Advocate webinar

Register Here

Tuesday, October 31, 2017 at 11:00 am ET
IER Worker Advocate “en Español” webinar

Register Here

Thursday, November 9, 2017 at 3:30 pm ET
IER Employer/HR Representative webinar

Register Here

Thursday, November 23, 2017 at 11:30 am ET
IER Worker Advocate webinar

Register Here

RELIABLE NISSAN AGREES TO SETTLE EEOC RACE, RELIGION AND NATIONAL ORIGIN HARASSMENT CASE (Oct. 11, 2017)

Tuesday, October 17th, 2017

Minority Employees Were Subjected to Degrading Slurs and Innuendos

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Reliable Inc., doing business as Reliable Nissan, along with other entities involved in operating the Albuquerque car dealership, has agreed to settle charges of discrimination based on race, national origin, and religion, along with retaliation, that were filed with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today.

The agreement follows conciliation between the EEOC and Reliable Nissan over claims that two Reliable Nissan Managers repeatedly used the “N-word” during a sales meeting, and referred to African, African-American, Native American, Muslim and Hispanic employees in a derogatory manner. Employees alleged that managers made offensive jokes about Muslim and Native American employees’ religious practices and traditions, and used racial epithets like “n—-r,” “drunken Indians,” “red.” and “redskins.” Racially offensive pictures targeted against minority employees were also posted in the workplace.

The EEOC investigated the charges and found that the racial slurs and innuendos created a hostile work environment for minority employees, and that Reliable Nissan failed to take prompt and remedial action to stop the harassment. The EEOC’s investigation further revealed that employees who complained were retaliated against.

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits an employer from discriminating against employees because of their race, national origin or religion. Title VII also protects employees who complain about discrimination from retaliation.

As part of the conciliation agreement, Reliable Nissan agreed to pay a total of $205,000 to three emp-loyees who filed discrimination charges with the EEOC and 11 other minority employees who were subjected to the hostile work environment. The company also agreed to provide annual training for two years for its emp-loyees, including managers and human resources employees. Additionally, Reliable Nissan agreed to re¬view its policies and procedures to ensure that employees have a mechanism for reporting discrimination and to make certain that each complaint will be appropriately investigated.

“It is important for all employees to feel safe and free to come forward with reports of harassment,” said EEOC Albuquerque Area Director Derick Newton. “As soon as an employer becomes aware of any kind of harassment because of race, national origin, or religion, the employer must act promptly and appropriately.”

EEOC Phoenix Office District Director Elizabeth Cadle added, “It is illegal for employees to be subjected to such degrading comments and innuendos based on their race, national origin and religion. The EEOC will continue to hold employers accountable for such offensive and discriminatory conduct.”

The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov.

FAIR HOUSING NEWS (Oct. 2017)

Friday, October 13th, 2017

Dear Colleague,

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced today that it is charging the owners and operators of two apartment buildings in Altoona, Pennsylvania with violating the Fair Housing Act by posting online classified ads that discriminate against families with children. Read HUD’s charge.

The Fair Housing Act makes it unlawful to discriminate against families with children and pregnant women, including unlawfully denying or limiting housing, making discriminatory statements, or imposing discriminatory rules or policies.

“No family should be denied the opportunity to rent a home simply because they have children,” said Anna Maria Farías, HUD Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. “Today’s enforcement action reaffirms HUD’s commitment to make sure housing providers meet their obligations to treat all applicants fairly, regardless of whether they have kids or not.”

The case came to HUD’s attention when the Fair Housing Partnership of Greater Pittsburgh, a local HUD-assisted fair housing organization, filed a complaint alleging that the owners and managers of the Altoona properties repeatedly violated the Fair Housing Act by running ads on Craigslist that discriminate against families with children. One ad for a two-bedroom unit read: “Not suitable for children/pets.”

After the online ad was posted, the Fair Housing Partnership of Greater Pittsburgh conducted fair housing tests to determine if the landlords intended to reserve apartments at the property exclusively to people without children, as advertised. One tester, posing as a married man with a pregnant wife and a three-year-old son, was told by the owner that he would not show him the unit because it “wouldn’t work out for either of us.” A second tester, posing as a man with no children, was told by the owner that the unit would be available in a week. A third tester, posing as a married woman with a child, was told that having children was a problem because the unit is located above the leasing office and children would make noise and because there is no yard. Three additional tests also revealed the owner demonstrated a preference for renting to applicants who did not have children.

HUD’s charge will be heard by a United States Administrative Law Judge unless any party elects for the case to be heard in federal court. If the administrative law judge finds after a hearing that discrimination has occurred, he may award damages to the complainant for his or her loss as a result of the discrimination. The judge may also order injunctive relief and other equitable relief, as well as payment of attorney fees. In addition, the judge may impose civil penalties in order to vindicate the public interest.

Any person who believes she or he has experienced discrimination may file a complaint by contacting HUD’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity at (800) 669-9777 (voice) or (800) 927-9275 (TTY). Housing discrimination complaints may also be filed online or by downloading HUD’s free housing discrimination mobile application, which can be accessed through Apple and Android devices.

Office of Disability Employment Policy News Brief (Oct. 2017)

Friday, October 13th, 2017

Autonomous Vehicles: Driving Employment for People with Disabilities — October 20, 12:00-1:00 PM ET
ePolicyWorks invites you to participate in our Twitter chat, “#EPWChat — Autonomous Vehicles: Driving Employment for People with Disabilities,” on October 20 from 12 to 1 p.m. ET. This interactive conversation, co-hosted with Securing America’s Future Energy (SAFE), will feature special guests Amitai Bin-Nun, SAFE’s Vice President of Autonomous Vehicles and Mobility Innovation; Dylan Hedtler-Gaudette, Government Affairs Specialist, National Federation of the Blind; and Kent Keyser, Policy Fellow, United Spinal Association. Through this event, ePolicyWorks is seeking to gather insights on transportation technologies such as autonomous vehicles (AV) and how they can best serve to increase workplace participation for the disability community. Participants can join this real-time Twitter conversation by following and tagging their posts with the hashtag #EPWChat. This chat is being held in tandem with the ePolicyWorks online dialogue, “Autonomous Vehicles: Driving Employment for People with Disabilities” that runs from October 10 to October 20.

Advancing Disability Employment in Your State: Resources and Information — October 18, 3:00-4:30 PM ET
Are you interested in national and state-level disability employment statistics, policy and initiatives? Join this LEAD Center webinar to review the valuable comprehensive resources on the newly branded Data and Resources to Inspire a Vision of Employment (DRIVE) web platform. This website houses over 80 disability-employment related statistics, state disability employment policies by various categories, information about WIOA implementation from a disability perspective, capacity-building information and more. Learn how to compare state statistics and policies side by side, and how to find very specific and useful information.

ODEP Releases #ApprenticeshipWorks Guides
Apprenticeship is a growing strategy for connecting more workers with the skills they need to get jobs. ODEP’s efforts in apprenticeship promote inclusive program models that fulfill employer needs by attracting a diverse array of candidates, including people with disabilities. Now ODEP has released its #ApprenticeshipWorks Guides, which introduce youth, educators, service providers, and businesses to the benefits and opportunities of inclusive apprenticeship.

Buy IT! Offers Guidance on Purchasing Accessible Technology for Your Workplace
Implementing accessible technology in your workplace means buying accessible tech in the first place. Just in time for National Disability Employment Awareness Month, the Partnership on Employment & Accessible Technology has launched “Buy IT!: Your Guide for Purchasing Accessible Technology.” This free online resource helps employers and their resource purchasing staff build accessibility and usability into their information technology (IT) procurement processes. Featuring background and sample language, Buy IT! offers step-by-step guidance on researching IT vendors, specifying accessibility requirements in your RFPs, and validating the accessibility of your product choices. As such, it addresses a crucial step in reducing the technology-related barriers facing many employees, job seekers, and customers with disabilities by helping businesses buy and implement technology that works for everyone.

JAN Announces Its 2017-2018 Monthly Webcast Series
The Job Accommodation Network announced its 2017-2018 Monthly Webcast Series schedule. These hour-long, free webcasts will allow participants to learn from the experts and help refine the way to resolve accommodation situations. The series will provide more information on job accommodations for motor, sensory, psychiatric and cognitive issues. Topics will also address telework, modified schedules, parking and current events, as well as the annual update on the Americans with Disabilities Act. Certificate of participation are provided.

JAN Publishes New Blogs and Consultants’ Corner
With new blogs and a Consultants’ Corner publication, the Job Accommodation Network is keeping up to date with hot topics in the field of accommodations. Blog topics include “All Disabilities Matter in an Inclusive Workplace” and “Workplace Supports for Employees with Breast Cancer.” The Consultants’ Corner takes on the issue of “Getting to Work on Time.”

Technology Changes Everything: Innovating to Include People of All Abilities in a More Diverse Workforce — October 26-27
Jennifer Sheehy, deputy assistant secretary of labor for disability employment policy, will be a presenter at the Technology Changes Everything Forum, sponsored by the Yang-Tan Institute on Employment and Disability. Through several panels and keynote speakers, this event will highlight existing and emerging innovations promoting greater disability inclusion in the workplace. Topics to be addressed include: workforce development initiatives in technology and tech-intensive industries, training initiatives in the tech sector for people on the Autism Spectrum, inclusive design in tech products and services, entrepreneurship training and promotion for individuals with disabilities, and a discussion on how recruitment, screening, career development and job matching online tools can be designed to facilitate greater inclusion of people with disabilities in the workplace.

Webinar: Impacts of Laws and Regulations on Automated and Connected Vehicle Introduction in Transit (November 16, 2017)

Friday, October 13th, 2017

Explore issues related to connected vehicle and automated vehicle use in public transportation during this webinar featuring contributors to Impacts of Laws and Regulations on CV and AV Technology Introduction in Transit Operations, a recent report by the National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP).

The webinar will discuss potential barriers imposed by operating policies, agency regulations, and laws related to the transit environment. Without adjustment, the combination of new technology with old rules could result in delays and restrictions to deployment, which may reduce the societal benefits of automated technologies. The report presents a road map of activities that industry groups, legislatures, the federal government and others could undertake to facilitate automated roadway transit operations.

This NCHRP webinar is offered through the Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP). FTA sponsors TCRP to develop innovative solutions and adapt technologies and approaches to help meet the demands placed on the nation’s public transit systems.

Webinar Presenters

Douglas Gettman, Kimley-Horn
Sam Lott, Texas Southern University
Jerome Lutin, New Jersey Transit, retired (moderator)

Justice Department Settles with Montgomery County, Maryland, After School Program to Ensure Compliance with the ADA (Oct. 2017)

Friday, October 13th, 2017

The Justice Department announced today that it reached an agreement with Bar-T Year Round Programs for Kids (Bar-T), located in Montgomery County, Maryland, to remedy alleged violations of Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

The Department investigated whether Bar-T discriminated against a student with a disability, specifically Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), and her parents when it expelled the student on the basis of behaviors associated with ASD, without properly considering whether Bar-T staff could implement reasonable modifications to permit the student to remain enrolled.

The Settlement Agreement requires Bar-T to adopt a nondiscrimination policy; designate staff at each operating location to address ADA issues; implement a process for parents or guardians of children with disabilities to request reasonable modifications and for Bar-T to conduct an individualized assessment of each request; provide ADA training to staff; and report on compliance with the agreement. Bar-T will also pay $13,500 in compensatory damages to the student and her parents.

To find out more about this agreement, or the ADA, call the Justice Department’s toll-free ADA information line at 1-800-514-0301 or 1-800-514-0383 (TDD), or access its ADA website at www.ada.gov.

On-Demand Civil Rights Webcasts Available: Delivering Public-Facing Programs and Activities in Compliance with Federal Law

Tuesday, October 10th, 2017

Delivered by Civil Rights Expert and Author Seena Foster

In 2017, State and local government officials are applauding the webcasts, stating they are “outstanding,” “very informative,” and “extremely useful.” Each webcast is only $29.00.

Available Selection

Compliance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act: An Overview

Compliance with the Nondiscrimination and Equal Opportunity Provisions of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act: A Comprehensive Overview

Discrimination Complaint Investigations under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act:  Proper Process and Technique

State and local government officials responsible for the delivery of, or monitoring the delivery of, services, aid, training, or benefits to the public must comply with Federal civil rights laws. These laws also apply to service providers, on-the-job trainers, contractors, and partners that assist in delivering public-facing programs and activities. Our webcasts provide practical training for new and experienced professionals working in the area of equal opportunity.

Because the webcasts are on-demand and certificate-based, they provide a convenient and inexpensive way to acquire and document training of staff, contractors, service providers, and partners.

How to register:
To register, simply click on the “Webcast Registration” icon on the left side of this blog. Or, go to https://engage.vevent.com/rt/titleviconsulting.

Cost-effective.  Only $29.00 each. No travel costs.  No lost time from work. These webcasts are absolutely the best value for your dollar!

Content-rich.  Each webcast is packed with useful information, guidance, and helpful tips. Each participant receives a copy of the detailed PowerPoint presentation for the webcast, which may be used as a checklist going forward.

Certificate-based.  Within three to five weeks, each participant who registers and attends the webcast will receive a personalized, signed “Certificate of Completion” to document the training.  

Title: Compliance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act: An Overview
Description:
This popular webcast provides an informative overview of how to comply with the nondiscrimination mandates of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Title VI applies to the administration, oversight, and delivery process of all state and local programs and activities that are federally-assisted. In this webcast, we’ll focus on the scope and meaning of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, and we will touch on a variety of compliance-related issues, including environmental justice, serving limited English proficient populations, contracting and procurement, discrimination complaints, harassment and hostile environment, training, monitoring, and data collection. Participants will understand the meaning of race, color, and national origin-based discrimination through Ms. Foster’s use of a variety of easy-to-understand examples. And, participants will learn about surprising federal enforcement policies to include certain types of religious-based discrimination as prohibited under Title VI. A detailed PowerPoint is available for download to viewers of this webcast.

Title: Compliance with the Nondiscrimination and Equal Opportunity Provisions of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act: A Comprehensive Overview
Description: 
This webcast provides a wealth of information, guidance, and tips to help you ensure compliance with the nondiscrimination and equal opportunity provisions of Section 188 of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), and related Federal civil rights laws that apply to the administration, oversight, and delivery process for WIOA Title I-financially assisted programs and activities. In this webcast, we’ll cover a broad range of compliance issues, including taglines, assurances, Equal Opportunity officers (their selection and duties, and the recipients’ obligations in support of EO officers), serving persons with disabilities, serving LEP populations, differences between program complaints and discrimination complaints, harassment and hostile environment, and data collection, including requirements for the discrimination complaint log and storage of medical information. A detailed PowerPoint, updated after promulgation of the final version of the WIOA regulations at 29 C.F.R. Part 38, is available for download to viewers of the webcast.

Title: Discrimination Complaint Investigations under the Workforce Investment Act:  Proper Process and Technique
Description:
This webcast covers the discrimination complaint investigation process from start to finish, including determining jurisdiction, developing a complaint investigation plan, framing the issue of an investigation, developing interrogatories, preparing a letter of acceptance, gathering and analyzing information, interviewing the parties and witnesses, and writing the notice of final action.  Each participant of this webcast will receive a set of templates that they may customize and use for their investigations, including a jurisdiction checklist, sample complaint investigation plans, sample notices rejecting a complaint, a sample letter of acceptance, and a sample notice of final action. Complaint investigation templates and a detailed PowerPoint are available for download to viewers of the webcast. Complaint processing templates and a detailed PowerPoint are available for download to viewers of the webcast.

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 compliance and civil rights investigations to state and local governments, colleges and universities, private companies, and non-profit organizations. To that end, she offers one-hour on-demand webcasts, full-day and half-day in-person training sessions, discrimination complaint investigation assistance, and mediation services addressing a variety of types of discrimination such as racial discrimination, sex discrimination, disability discrimination, age discrimination, and religious discrimination. Federal non-discrimination laws are complex, and they affect our workplaces as well as the delivery of our Federally-funded programs and activities. Her book, Civil Rights Investigations under the Workforce Investment Act and Other Title VI Related Laws: From Intake to Final Determination, has been described as an “eye-opening” reading experience and a “stand-alone” training resource. Ms. Foster’s resources and materials are designed to support the work of civil rights and discrimination professionals in the public and private sectors.

Her background includes 24 years as Senior Legal Advisor to the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Administrative Law Judges, where she drafted decisions and orders and developed resources and aids promoting consistency and efficiency in several national adjudication programs. In 2012, Ms. Foster received the U.S. Secretary of Labor’s Exceptional Achievement Award “for outstanding leadership and legal guidance in helping the Office of Administrative Law Judges address the major changes in law” stemming from enactment of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

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 CRC Director Annabelle Lockhart, 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 Section 188 disability checklist, conducting discrimination complaint investigations and writing final determinations, and conducting investigations of allegations involving harassment and hostile environment.

Ms. Foster is a graduate of the George Washington University Law School, and she carries certification in federal workplace mediation from the Northern Virginia Mediation Service as well as mediation certification from the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute (DEOMI). Ms. Foster also is a member of the Human Rights and Discrimination Law committees of the International Bar Association. You may contact her at seena@titleviconsulting.com.

Paperback and E-Book: Conducting Civil Rights Investigations in Government Programs and Activities

Tuesday, October 10th, 2017

This is the only book on the market that focuses on discrimination complaint investigations in a wide range of Federally-assisted, public-facing programs and activities! Reviews by State and local equal opportunity officials in 2017 include “I love your book,” and the book is “outstanding,” “easy to follow,” and “extremely useful.”

Paperback:
Cost: $19.99 per copy

Go to www.outskirtspress.com/civilrights; or

Email the author at seena@titleviconsulting.com, and you will receive an invoice by PayPal; or

Mail a check for $19.99 per book (plus $3.00 per book for shipping and handling in the United States) payable to Title VI Consulting at 107 S. West St., PMB 713, Alexandria, VA 22314.

Electronic book:
Cost: $9.99 per electronic copy

Available through Nook, or Kindle. For iPad and iTunes, you’ll find the book in the “Law Library.” Access the e-book through the publisher at http://www.outskirtspress.com/civilrights.

Reviewers describe the book as “the most thorough and the best product on the market,” “an eye-opening experience,” “an excellent reference book,” and “an invaluable resource for its target audience of professionals who must respond to complaints of discrimination.”

About the Book

In Civil Rights Investigations, Ms. Foster assembles a tremendous amount of information, presents it in an organized and easy-to-understand format, and delivers it to you along with practical and useful guidance. Whether you are a novice or expert, this book is a truly exceptional resource that takes you step-by-step through the investigative process. And, the teachings offered are applicable to any discrimination complaint investigation.

Starting with the basics of knowing whether you have a complaint and authority to investigate it, to navigating more in-depth concepts such as understanding the burdens of the parties, properly framing the issues of an investigation, interviewing witnesses, analyzing conflicting evidence, and writing final determinations, Civil Rights Investigations is with you each step of the way, providing insights, tips, and examples.

A wide array of discriminatory bases is explored, including race, color, national origin, gender, sexual harassment, religion, disability, political affiliation, citizenship, and age. And, the book contains sample interrogatories covering numerous adverse actions in government programs such as denial of access, denial of training, denial of services, denial of benefits, and denial of proposals or bids. Other sample interrogatories address adverse actions in the workplace, such as sexual harassment, reasonable accommodation, reasonable modification, retaliation, termination, non-selection, non-promotion, adverse performance appraisals, and damages. Finally, the book contains a jurisdiction checklist as well as templates for every stage of the investigation–from notifying the parties that you do not have jurisdiction to investigate a complaint or notifying the parties you have accepted a complaint for investigation to sample complaint investigation plans and a sample final determination on the merits of a complaint.

Civil Rights Investigations is packed with useful information, and it serves as a top-of-the-line resource for any public or private sector equal opportunity professional.

Civil Rights Investigations addresses several Federal civil rights statutes, including Titles VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990 and the Americans With Disabilities Act Amendments of 2008, Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972, and the Age Discrimination Act of 1975. Its guidance, however, is useful in any civil rights discrimination investigation, and in developing and implementing preventative measures.

Reviews of the Book

Get this one-of-a-kind book judged by a panel of industry experts as a Finalist in the Business Reference category of The USA “Best Books 2011″ Awards, sponsored by USA Book News. The book also received a Bronze Medal in the Government/Politics category (top 5% of over 3,000 entries) for the 2012 International Readers Favorite Book Awards. And, in October 2012, Ms. Foster was announced as a “Finalist of 50 Great Writers You Should Be Reading,” presented by The Authors Show. In October 2013, Civil Rights Investigations was Amazon’s Featured Title of the Week.

Lisa Connor states: “You obviously have a passion for your subject matter–you present your findings in a very well-researched, thorough manner. … I have to say that you have put together an excellent piece”

Omoye Cooper of Albany, New York states: “I have worked in the field of Equal Opportunity for over 30 years and have attended numerous trainings on EO investigations. After attending Seena Foster’s Civil Rights Investigations workshop, I can say without a doubt that it is the most thorough and the best product on the market. Ms. Foster not only gives the technical information, but she also provides step by step guidelines and tools for effective implementation.”

“Ms. Foster’s workshops and book, “Civil Rights Investigations,” are professional resources that are highly recommended for all new and seasoned AA and EEO practitioners. Utilization of her materials will help new EEO professionals build a solid knowledge base that will make it possible to conduct defendable investigations; and for the veteran practitioners, it will take you to another level. Outstanding!”

Readers Favorite (5 out of 5 star ratings):

Brenda Ballard states: Discrimination is a very real problem in the work place but what can a person do? Seena K. Foster, author of “Civil Rights Investigations Under the Workforce Investment Act” leads the reader through the law, the process and the various scenarios of the subject. Citing law and providing examples of letters and check lists, information is outlined in concise and understandable terms. The subject matter is broken down into the simplest legal language possible considering the depth and complexity. Believable examples make sense of it all, guiding the reader step by step.

As anybody knows, legal reading can be dry and confusing. Admittedly, there were a few places I personally had to re-read but that would be attributed to my own lack of experience with the subject. I found the examples very useful and was able to utilize the bullet points and checklists to realize the meaning of it all. It was an eye-opening learning experience to read this book! I never realized how much is involved in filing such a suit, getting an investigation underway, working with both parties, and finding resolution. Businesses should consider having this book in their own library as a reference guide in their personnel department. This work could be used as a stand-alone in training sessions for employees and managements. The tremendous effort the author has put into “Civil Rights Investigations Under the Workforce Investment Act” is immediately evident. Nothing is left to question and, should there be any residual wonder, references can be looked up. Highly recommended! 5 out of 5 stars!

Lori M. states: Because I am currently taking a graduate-level Human Resources class in Employment Law, this book about civil rights investigations by Seena K. Foster interested me very much. This would make an excellent reference book for HR managers, lawyers, and anyone involved in employee or labor issues. It is very well-organized and provides just the right amount of information that you need on a number of different topics. Foster, who has a law degree, does a good job making the contents interesting, understandable, and easy to follow.

There are specific sections defining race, color, national origin, gender, religion, age, citizenship, and disability issues in depth so that any reader can understand what constitutes the definition of discrimination against each. Additionally, she takes you through the steps of how to determine whether or not you have a discrimination complaint, a glossary of terms, jurisdiction, and filing the complaint. I like how Foster included easy-to-use checklists throughout the book to graphically depict what she has already told you in the text. It is a good way to help the reader grasp the information provided and double-check the details. This book talks about statutes of limitations and time frames within which a party has to file a complaint, notifying the parties of a complaint, jurisdictional issues, and even alternative dispute resolution topics such as arbitration or mediation. This book is a great toolkit for those interested in employment law matters dealing with civil rights investigations under the workforce investment act and Title VI-related laws. 5 out of 5 stars!

Alice D. states: “Civil Rights Investigations Under the Workforce Investment Act and Other Title VI Related Laws” is a book that really needed to be written and now it has been, thank goodness! Author Seena Foster has created a book that focuses on the treatment of individual and class action complaints. From the beginning where she asks the readers to decide whether they have a complaint and whether there is jurisdiction to investigate the complaint, Foster clearly establishes that those pursuing an issue such as discrimination must have merit; in other words, they must have a covered basis such as race, gender and nationality. She is quite clear in insisting that the person charged with the complaint must receive federal funds, and the CP, the charging party, must know how to organize a complaint, how to fill it with statistics and witness information. Then she shows the reader how exactly the CP and the respondent must reply in cases involving such things as employment, hostile work environ ment, and disability. She discusses sexual harassment, especially in the school environment, and writes about the use of mediation in helping parties come to a mutually acceptable solution. Do you think your civil rights have been violated at work? This is the book for you.

“Civil Rights Investigations” is not the type of book that people will grab off bookstore shelves, but they should. Author Seena Foster discusses, clearly and concisely, how the charging party and the respondent should respond in a variety of cases. Chapter after chapter deals with how to handle potential civil rights violations in the workplace and in federally funded programs and activities that have an impact on all of us. The author states that those filing the complaint must give details like why they were not hired, etc., and those who answer the claim must show the same clarity in their response. Specific and easy to read, this book should be in readers’ hands everywhere. 5 out of 5 stars!

Laurie Gray states: “Civil Rights Investigations under the Workforce Investment Act and Other Title VI-Related Laws from Intake to Final Determination” by Seena K. Foster offers guidance to professionals handling discrimination complaints for governmental agencies and employers that receive federal funding covered by the Workforce Investment Act of 1964. The book focuses on individual and class actions as opposed to third-party complaints, identifying and devoting a chapter to each protected class: race, color, national origin, sex, religion, disability, citizenship, age, political affiliation and belief. The chapters on sexual harassment, religion, and disability are most comprehensive. Foster provides specific examples, sample notices, and clear explanations on how to assess the merit of each complaint, properly frame the issues, develop a Complaint Investigation Plan, and investigate complaints without violating confidentiality policies. She further outlines the relevant burdens of proof and reliability of direct, circumstantial and comparative evidence. Though not for the average lay person, this book is an invaluable resource for its target audience of professionals who must respond to complaints of discrimination in a timely and consistent manner or risk losing their agencies’ federal funding. Ms. Foster clearly understands complex federal laws and regulations and concisely organizes the information in a user-friendly way, highlighting important deadlines, providing detailed questions to ask complaining parties and respondents, and encouraging professionals to seek competent legal advice when necessary. An introduction, conclusion and biography outlining the author’s credentials would be helpful additions to the next edition of the book. I do hope that Ms. Foster will update this informative guide as the laws continue to evolve. 5 out of 5 stars!

EEOC LAUNCHES NEW TRAINING PROGRAM ON RESPECTFUL WORKPLACES (Oct. 2017)

Monday, October 9th, 2017

Trainings Focus on Harassment Prevention and Creating Respectful Workplaces for All

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced today that it will launch two new trainings for employers: Leading for Respect (for supervisors) and Respect in the Workplace (for all employees). Instead of traditional compliance training that solely focuses on legal definitions and standards for liability, the new program provides an exciting training alternative for harassment prevention. The trainings will be conducted by EEOC Training Institute staff.

The training program focuses on respect, acceptable workplace conduct, and the types of behaviors that contribute to a respectful and inclusive, and therefore ultimately more profitable, workplace. The program is customizable for different types of workplaces and includes a section for reviewing employers’ own harassment prevention policies and procedures.

The training program is an outgrowth of the Report of the Co-Chairs of the EEOC’s Select Task Force on the Study of Harassment in the Workplace.

“We always said the report was just a first step,” said EEOC Acting Chair Victoria Lipnic, co-author of the report. “Implementation of the report’s recommendations is key. These trainings incorporate the report’s recommendations on compliance, workplace civility, and bystander intervention training. I believe the trainings can have a real impact on workplace culture, and I hope employers make use of them.”

EEOC Commissioner Chai Feldblum, the report’s other author, said, “A strong training program is a critical piece of a holistic harassment prevention effort. We know that workplace incivility often acts as a ‘gateway drug’ to workplace harassment. These trainings, therefore, provide employees with the specific skills they need to act respectfully and to intervene when they observe disrespectful or abusive behavior. In short, the program is designed to stop improper behavior before it ever rises to the level of illegal harassment.”

For more information on the Respectful Workplaces Training Program for private employers or state or local government agencies, go to the EEOC Training Institute website, contact your nearest Outreach and Education Coordinator, or contact Program Analyst Michelle Crew at michelle.crew@eeoc.gov. For more information on the Respectful Workplaces Training Program for federal agencies, contact FederalTrainingandOutreach@eeoc.gov.

The trainings were designed by Fran Sepler, of Sepler and Associates, under a contract with the EEOC.

The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov.

Fair Housing News (Oct. 2017)

Saturday, October 7th, 2017

Dear Colleague,

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) today announced an agreement to resolve a discrimination complaint brought by fair housing advocates against Maryland’s Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) challenging the fairness of the State’s Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Program. The agreement establishes policies, incentives, and more flexible program rules that will streamline the creation of affordable housing in higher opportunity neighborhoods in the Baltimore region.

Specifically, the settlement will increase the number of affordable housing units in the region by as many as 1,500, with more than 1,000 of those units being new construction. In addition, developers of affordable housing will no longer have to satisfy previously required local scoring or approval criteria before applying for state-allocated tax credits. Read the Conciliation and Voluntary Compliance Agreement.

“Skyrocketing housing prices in the Baltimore region are making it harder than ever for hardworking families to find decent housing at prices they can afford,” said Anna Maria Farías, HUD Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. “Today’s agreement will help ensure that people of all backgrounds who call this area home have more affordable housing options in higher opportunity neighborhoods.”

The agreement announced today is the result of a complaint filed with HUD in 2011 by the Baltimore Regional Housing Campaign (BRHC), a coalition of housing and civil rights organizations. BRHC said the state maintained a policy requiring local jurisdictions to approve proposed affordable housing projects prior to the consideration or allocation of Low-Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) to fund construction. The coalition’s complaint alleged that requiring local jurisdiction pre-approval prevented the placement of LIHTC-funded properties in predominately White areas, thereby limiting housing opportunities for African American and Hispanic families in communities of opportunity.

Under the terms of the agreement, DHCD will:

Not reinstate the previously required local approvals of proposed affordable housing projects, or impose new threshold or scoring criteria that require the approval of a local governing body;
Ensure that no fewer than 1,500 units of Family Housing are developed in communities of opportunity within the Baltimore region, 1,050 of which will be newly constructed units;
Revise the state’s Qualified Allocation Plans (QAP) Transit-Oriented Development Guide to award points to any proposal to develop family housing in a community of opportunity, and adjust the incentive in QAPs for units with two or more bedrooms;
Expand its affirmative fair housing marketing plans with specific outreach to public housing authorities, voucher administrators and mobility counseling programs; and
Pay $225,000 to sustain BRHC’s mission of working to increase choice, educational opportunity and social equity for low-income families in the Baltimore region.

People who believe they have experienced discrimination may file a complaint by contacting HUD’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity at (800) 669-9777 (voice) or (800) 927-9275 (TTY). Housing discrimination complaints may also be filed at www.hud.gov/fairhousing or by downloading HUD’s free housing discrimination mobile application, which can be accessed through Apple and Android devices.