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U.S. Department of Justice Updates the Title VI Legal Manual (Sept. 27, 2016)

Wednesday, September 28th, 2016

Federal Coordination and Compliance Section, Civil Rights Division, U.S. Department of Justice

Ensuring consistent and effective enforcement of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 across the federal government

I write to share the publication today of the first portion of our updated and expanded Title VI Legal Manual. Updated sections cover key Title VI concepts, including legislative history, the Department of Justice role, and scope of coverage. The Manual is designed to assist federal funding agencies in meeting their critical obligation to remedy discrimination in federally funded programs through strong administrative enforcement. It also serves as a resource for Title VI practitioners and others interested in learning more about how the law protects against race, color, and national origin discrimination.

We will release additional portions of the Manual as they become available. Upcoming updates will address conduct prohibited by Title VI, including intentional discrimination, disparate impact, and retaliation.

Executive Order 12250 charges DOJ with ensuring the consistent and effective enforcement of Title VI and related statutes. In order to fulfill this mandate, DOJ, through the Civil Rights Division’s Federal Coordination and Compliance Section (FCS), provides assistance, training, and guidance to agency civil rights offices. The Legal Manual is a critical component of the Civil Rights Division’s initiative to restructure, reevaluate, and strengthen our Title VI coordination program.

In addition to the Legal Manual, Title VI News @FCS provides information on current implementation and enforcement efforts across the federal agencies; FCS issues Title VI guidance, including the recent joint guidance on emergencies; and files briefs to facilitate accurate and effective application of Title VI standards. Visit FCS’s website for more information about these efforts.

Please direct any comments about the Manual to FCS (use this email address: fcs.crt@usdoj.gov). It is our intention to revise the document periodically to both update evolving legal principles and respond to agency needs for guidance in new areas. As such, we welcome any feedback you may have.

Finally, a huge thank you to FCS Deputy Chief Peter Gray and Staff Attorney Laurie Gelman, editors of the Title VI Legal Manual, and to so many others in FCS and other offices who are contributing to the development of this important resource.

And thank you for your continued interest in and pursuit of Title VI enforcement.

Christine Stoneman

Acting Chief
Federal Coordination and Compliance Section
Civil Rights Division
U.S. Department of Justice
www.usdoj.gov/crt/fcs and www.lep.gov

U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division News (Sept. 23, 2016)

Monday, September 26th, 2016

Civil Rights Division Updates

Friday, September 23, 2016

The Justice Department opened a civil rights investigation into the death of Terence Crutcher in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The recent death of Keith Lamont Scott in Charlotte, North Carolina, is currently under local investigation. We are aware of the tragic events that resulted in his death, and the Department of Justice and FBI are currently monitoring the situation.

In remarks on Thursday, Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch addressed these recent events and said: “Let us work together to ensure that all Americans have both a voice and value in this great country of ours. I want to reaffirm my full commitment – and the full commitment of the Department of Justice – to advancing that effort. To those exercising that most fundamental of our freedoms, we hear your voices and feel your pain. To all of the law enforcement officers who continue to risk their lives day in and day out to keep us safe and protect those essential freedoms, I extend my deepest thanks.”

Head of the Civil Rights Division Vanita Gupta delivered remarks at a Southern Center for Human Rights Symposium on the Criminalization of Race and Poverty. In her speech she said, “When the criminal justice system ends up punishing people for the size of their bank account or the color of their skin rather than the severity of their crime, it raises serious constitutional concerns. It traps the most vulnerable among us in perpetual cycles of poverty, debt and incarceration. It undermines the legitimacy of our justice system. It threatens the integrity of our democracy.”

The Justice Department reached a resolution agreement with Wheaton College in Massachusetts to ensure the college implements a swift and effective response to allegations of sexual assault and harassment involving students.

The Justice Department announced it has reached an agreement with the Superior Court of California, County of Los Angeles (LASC) to ensure that limited English proficient (LEP) court users will have access to timely and accurate language assistance services.

Vanita Gupta gave remarks at a White House Conference on Trauma-Informed Approaches in School to Support Girls of Color and Rethink Discipline. She explained that “Whether due to bullying, sexual assault or discriminatory discipline, the trauma of injustices and indignities can reverberate for years. Trauma can invade nearly every area of a girl’s life. It can damage family relationships. It can interfere with schoolwork and academic performance. It can carry over into one’s social life by making the already awkward, challenging years of adolescence, all the more difficult. And it can leave an emotional and psychological toll that may not be the most visible harm, but that can linger painfully for years.”

The Justice Department issued a new publication, “Language Access in State Courts,” that provides an overview of the importance of legal requirements for, and accomplishments in, providing language access services in state courts across the country. The report – published by the Civil Rights Division’s Federal Coordination and Compliance Section – covers several key areas related to language access in state courts, including: court services and programs; criminal court proceedings; civil court proceedings; limited English Proficient (LEP) witnesses, victims, and others; no-cost language services; and qualification and training of interpreters. The Division’s efforts are part of its ongoing Courts Language Access Initiative, which seeks to level the playing field for people with limited English proficiency in state courts.

The Justice Department filed a proposed consent decree with 30 Hop restaurant and bar in Coralville, Iowa, resolving claims that the establishment violated the new construction requirements of Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

The Justice Department reached a comprehensive settlement agreement with the California Department of Education (CDE) and the California State Board of Education to improve their compliance monitoring systems and ensure language instruction services to the approximately 1.4 million English Learner (EL) students in the state’s public schools.

For additional information, go to www.justice.gov.

OFCCP Sues Silicon Valley Company Palantir Technologies for Discrimination (Sept. 26, 2016)

Monday, September 26th, 2016

To view the complaint, go to www.dol.gov/ofccp.

The US DEPARTMENT OF LABOR SUES SILICON VALLEY TECH COMPANY FOR DISCRIMINATING AGAINST ASIAN JOB APPLICANTS

PALO ALTO – The U.S. Department of Labor has filed a lawsuit charging that Palantir Technologies, a Palo Alto technology company, discriminated systematically against Asian job applicants in its hiring process and selection procedures.

Filed with the department’s Office of Administrative Law Judges, the lawsuit seeks to end the company’s alleged discriminatory hiring policies and practices. Palantir provides software and data analysis services under federal contract to the U.S. Department of Justice’s Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Special Operations Command and the U.S. Department of the Army.

The suit also seeks complete relief for the affected class, including lost wages, interest, retroactive seniority and all other lost benefits of employment. The department filed the complaint after the department and Palantir were unable to resolve the findings through the conciliation process.

The suit follows a compliance review by the department’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, which found that from January 2010 to the present, Palantir violated Executive Order 11246 by:

Using a hiring process and selection procedures that discriminated against Asian applicants for software engineering positions on the basis of their race.
Maintaining a hiring process in which Asian applicants were routinely eliminated in the resume screen and telephone interview phases despite being as qualified as white applicants.
Hiring a majority of applicants from a discriminatory employee referral system. The overwhelming preference for referrals, combined with the contractor’s failure to ensure equal employment opportunity for all applicants without regard to race, resulted in discrimination against Asian applicants.

“Federal contractors have an obligation to ensure that their hiring practices and policies are free of all forms of discrimination,” said OFCCP Director Patricia Shiu. “Our nation’s taxpayers deserve to know that companies employed with public funds are providing equal opportunity for job seekers.”

If Palantir fails to provide relief as ordered, OFCCP requests the cancellation of all of the company’s government contracts and debarment from entering into future federal contracts.

In addition to Executive Order 11246, OFCCP enforces Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974. These laws, as amended, make it illegal for contractors and subcontractors doing business with the federal government to discriminate in employment because of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability or status as a protected veteran. In addition, contractors and subcontractors are prohibited from discriminating against applicants or employees because they have inquired about, discussed or disclosed their compensation or that of others, subject to certain limitations. For more information, please call OFCCP’s toll-free helpline at 800-397-6251 or visit http://www.dol.gov/ofccp/.

X X X

Media Contacts:

Leo Kay, 415-625-2630, kay.leo.f@dol.gov
Jose Carnevali, 415-625-2631, carnevali.jose@dol.gov

Justice Department Issues New Publication: “Language Access in State Courts” (Sept. 15, 2016)

Saturday, September 17th, 2016

Today the Justice Department issued a new publication, “Language Access in State Courts,” that provides an overview of the importance of legal requirements for, and accomplishments in, providing language access services in state courts across the country.

The report – published by the Civil Rights Division’s Federal Coordination and Compliance Section – covers several key areas related to language access in state courts, including:

Court services and programs;
Criminal court proceedings;
Civil court proceedings;
Limited English Proficient (LEP) witnesses, victims, and others;
No-cost language services; and
Qualification and training of interpreters.

The publication also provides different sets of resources, including examples of the Justice Department’s enforcement and technical assistance work along with other materials.

The Civil Rights Division has committed to a Courts Language Access Initiative to focus on the implementation of language access requirements and best practices in courts. Despite the significant progress that we have achieved, however, the challenge of providing meaningful language access in state courts demands that we continue to modernize, innovate, and keep pace with the evolving demographics of our country.

We hope you find this publication useful as you encounter these challenges in your communities in the months and years ahead. At the Department of Justice, we look forward to advancing the mission of equal access to state courts by forging dynamic partnerships with all stakeholders, by removing language access barriers, and by celebrating the diversity of our people that has always defined the resiliency and strength of our nation.

To access the publication, go to https://www.justice.gov/crt/file/892036/download.

DOT Seeks Nominations for Every Place Counts Leadership Academy (Sept. 14, 2016)

Wednesday, September 14th, 2016

Call for nominations! On October 5, Secretary Anthony Foxx will launch the Every Place Counts: Leadership Academy with a kickoff event at USDOT Headquarters in Washington, DC. He will bring together hundreds of community members from across the country to learn how they can stay informed about transportation decisions and bring their insights to the decision-making process. Participants will also have a unique opportunity to provide feedback on the initial version of the Transportation Toolkit and help us make it more user-friendly.

We invite you to nominate yourself or someone from your community. Selected nominees will be invited to participate in the kickoff event. Nominees should have limited experience with transportation decision-making, and should not be paid to work in the field of transportation. USDOT encourages nominations of emerging community leaders who are interested in transportation equity and who would like to expand opportunities in their communities.

To nominate yourself or someone else to participate in the Leadership Academy kickoff event, please complete the nomination form. Nominations are due no later than noon EDT Monday, September 19, 2016.

Office of Disability Employment Policy Newsletter (Sept. 10, 2016)

Saturday, September 10th, 2016

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

Fielding a Full Team in Rio — Secretary of Labor’s Blog
In a September 7 post on the Department of Labor blog, Labor Secretary Tom Perez looked forward to the start of the Paralympics in Rio, which will run from September 7-18, 2016. Reflecting on the part that sports has played in his life and the lives of his children, Perez noted that competing on the field, including in the Paralympic arena, helps people prepare for success in the workplace. “People with disabilities are some of our most valuable players,” remarked Perez. “Employers are always looking for people who are forward-thinking, ready for a challenge, and bring fresh perspectives to the table. All of those qualities are part of everyday life for people with disabilities.”

Hiring America Features Deputy Assistant Secretary Sheehy
Hiring America is a nationally syndicated television series designed to help veterans leaving the military prepare for new careers. At the Society for Human Resource Management annual conference last June, Hiring America interviewed Office of Disability Employment Policy Deputy Assistant Secretary Jennifer Sheehy about ODEP’s resources for employment of people with disabilities, including veterans with disabilities. “It isn’t just about creating a job for a person, it’s about including people with disabilities in the whole employment culture,” observed Sheehy.

Seamless Transition from School to Competitive Integrated Employment — State Examples from Michigan and Utah — EFSLMP Webinar — September 14, 3:00-4:30 PM ET
On September 14, 3:00-4:30 PM ET, the Office of Disability Employment Policy’s Employment First State Leadership Mentoring Program (EFSLMP) will be hosting a Community of Practice (CoP) webinar on seamless transition from school to competitive integrated employment. Speakers Yasmina Bouraoui, MPH, DrPH, Deputy Director, Michigan Developmental Disabilities Council; Katie Knapp-Wyman, Transition Coordinator for Clare-Gladwin Regional Education Service District and COOR Intermediate School District; Susan Loving, Transition Specialist, Utah State Board of Education; Aimee Langone, MEd., CRC, LVRC, Transition & Supported Employment, Utah State Office of Rehabilitation; and Tricia Jones-Parkin, MMPA, Employment First Program Administrator, Division of Services for People with Disabilities, will explain how they developed seamless transition plans by closely collaborating with many state partners.

Section 508 Interagency Accessibility Forum — October 11, 8:00 AM-4:00 PM ET
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and other federal agencies are sponsoring a free conference focused on Section 508 Technology Accessibility and Inclusion. The Accessibility Forum is open to federal employees and contractors who want to learn more about accessibility. The Forum will explore the impact of accessibility and look into the future of accessibility through plenary sessions, and participants will be able to select workshops that meet their experience level and interests. Exhibitors will provide hands-on opportunities to learn about new tools and resources. Participants will have a chance to share best practices, learn about new technologies, and network with other federal employees to broaden the dialogue concerning Section 508 implementation. Interpreters and captioning will be provided. All videos will be captioned and described. Materials will be available in accessible formats. The Forum will be held October 11, 8:00 AM-4:00 PM ET at the Natcher Conference Center at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland.

FCC Announces Anticipated Renewal of Its Disability Advisory Committee and Solicits Applications for Membership
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has announced the anticipated renewal of its Disability Advisory Committee and is soliciting applications for membership on the Committee, subject to renewal of the Committee’s charter. The Committee provides a vehicle for consumers and other stakeholders to provide feedback and recommendations to the FCC on a wide array of disability issues within its jurisdiction. The FCC is seeking applications from interested consumer organizations, industry and trade associations, corporations, governmental entities, and individuals that wish to be considered for membership on the Committee. Selections will be made on the basis of factors such as expertise and diversity of viewpoints that are necessary to effectively address the questions before the Committee. It is expected that the two-year membership term on the Committee, if renewed, would commence on December 30, 2016. Applications for membership are due by 11:59 PM ET on October 14, 2016.

The Justice Department partners with the United Mexican States to Combat Employment Discrimination (Sept. 2016)

Saturday, September 10th, 2016

The Justice Department and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of the United Mexican States established a formal partnership to protect workers from discrimination based on citizenship, immigration status and national origin. On September 1, 2016, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, and Mexican Ambassador Carlos Sada signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the embassy and its consulates and the Division’s Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices (OSC). You may view the MOU in English and Spanish.

Go to https://www.justice.gov/opa/file/889381/download for the English version, and https://www.justice.gov/espanol/file/889436/download for the Spanish version.

EEOC Issues Guidance Addressing Retaliation

Saturday, September 10th, 2016

August 29, 2016: Today the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued its final Enforcement Guidance on Retaliation and Related Issues, to replace its 1998 Compliance Manual section on retaliation. The guidance also addresses the separate “interference” provision under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which prohibits coercion, threats, or other acts that interfere with the exercise of ADA rights.

The Commission has also issued two short user-friendly resource documents to accompany the new guidance: a question-and-answer publication that summarizes the guidance document, and a short Small Business Fact Sheet that condenses the major points in the guidance in non-legal language.

“Retaliation is asserted in nearly 45 percent of all charges we receive and is the most frequently alleged basis of discrimination,” said EEOC Chair Jenny R. Yang. “The examples and promising practices included in the guidance are aimed at assisting all employers reduce the likelihood of retaliation. The public input provided during the development of this guidance was valuable to the Commission in producing a document to help employers prevent retaliation and to help employees understand their rights.”

On Jan. 21, 2016, EEOC published a proposed guidance for public input on www.regulations.gov. The final guidance issued today reflects the Commission’s consideration of feedback received on the proposal from approximately 60 organizations and individuals representing a wide range of viewpoints. In preparing the final guidance, the agency also considered the stakeholder views expressed at the June 17, 2015 Commission Meeting held on this topic.

The guidance addresses retaliation under each of the statutes enforced by EEOC, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), Title V of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Section 501 of the Rehabilitation Act, the Equal Pay Act (EPA) and Title II of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA).

Topics explained in the new guidance include:

The scope of employee activity protected by the law.
Legal analysis to be used to determine if evidence supports a claim of retaliation.
Remedies available for retaliation.
Rules against interference with the exercise of rights under the ADA.
Detailed examples of employer actions that may constitute retaliation.

Since EEOC’s 1998 Compliance Manual section on retaliation, the U.S. Supreme Court has issued seven decisions addressing retaliation under EEOC-enforced laws, and the filing of EEO claims that include a retali­ation allegation has continued to grow. Charges of retaliation surpassed race discrimination in 2009 as the most frequently alleged basis of discrimination, accounting for 44.5 percent of all charges received by EEOC in FY 2015. In the federal sector, retaliation has been the most frequently alleged basis since 2008, and retaliation findings comprised between 42 percent and 53 percent of all findings of EEO violations from 2009 to 2015.

EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws against employment discrimination. Further information about the agency is available at www.eeoc.gov.

Office of Disability Employment Policy Newsletter (Sept. 2, 2016)

Saturday, September 10th, 2016

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

Pursuing a Degree While Working, Thanks to Flexible Options — DOL Blog
In an August 29 post on the Department of Labor (DOL) blog, Tiffany Jolliff, program specialist in DOL’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) reflected on her experiences in pursuing her Master’s degree while working full time in ODEP. Jolliff started working at ODEP shortly after beginning her Master’s program in Organization Development and Knowledge Management at George Mason University. DOL’s workplace flexibility policies were the key to her success. Noted Jolliff, “Juggling a new job and a fairly new class schedule could have been a nightmare; however, thanks to the efforts of Labor Secretary Tom Perez, I ended up in one of the best workplaces for working full-time and completing my education.”

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.

PEAT Talk: The Global Public Inclusive Infrastructure (GPII) — September 15, 2:00-2:30 PM ET
The Partnership on Employment & Accessible Technology (PEAT) will hold its next PEAT Talk on September 15, 2:00-2:30 PM. Today, the ability to use ICT technologies is a core element of most jobs, but many applications and websites aren’t accessible to everyone. But what if users could invoke and use the access features they need anywhere, anytime, on any device? The Global Public Inclusive Infrastructure (GPII) is a software and service enhancement to our broadband infrastructure designed to make access simpler, more inclusive, available everywhere and more affordable. In this webinar, Raising the Floor’s Gregg Vanderheiden will discuss how and why they are building this new global infrastructure, and the potential it has to impact the employment of people with disabilities.

NCWD/Youth Releases Publications on Financial Capability for Youth
The National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth (NCWD/Youth) has published a new Info Brief for families, “Developing Financial Capability Among Youth: How Families Can Help.” Developing financial capability has been recognized as an important part of preparing youth for the transition to adulthood, including under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act. Families are one of the most significant influences on young people’s financial knowledge and attitudes. This brief provides families with suggestions and resources on how to talk with youth about money and assist them in learning and practicing financial management skills through their interactions at home. NCWD/Youth has also published a new Info Brief for youth, “Taking Charge of Your Money: An Introduction to Financial Capability.” Developing financial capability — the capacity based on knowledge, skills and access to manage financial resources effectively — is an important part of becoming an adult. This brief provides a starting point for youth to learn about and develop financial capability so that they can make smart decisions about managing money now and in the future.

Latest EARN Newsletter Now Available
The Employer Assistance and Resource Network on Disability Inclusion (EARN) has issued its August 31 newsletter, featuring information on Disability Mentoring Day, telecommuting, upcoming web events and more.

LEAD Center Issues Policy Update — Employment, Health Care and Disability
The LEAD Center’s Policy Update — Employment, Health Care and Disability is a monthly update focusing on the intersection of disability, employment and health care policy. The LEAD Center’s Policy Update — Employment, Health Care and Disability provides policymakers, disability service professionals, individuals with disabilities and their families with information about relevant policy developments regarding Medicaid, the Affordable Care Act and related topics, with a focus on improving employment outcomes for individuals with disabilities. The July/August 2016 update features stories on select state HCBS plan updates, a new CMS report on long-term supports and services (LTSS) expenditures, a Harvard School of Public Health study on the connections between poor workplace accommodations and health outcomes for workers with disabilities and more.

AAPD Seeks Nominations for the 2017 Paul G. Hearne Leadership Awards
Through the AAPD Paul G. Hearne Leadership Awards, the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) recognizes outstanding emerging leaders with disabilities who exemplify leadership, advocacy and dedication to the broader cross-disability community. Two individuals will each receive $2,500 in recognition of their outstanding contributions and $7,500 to further a new or existing initiative that increases the political and economic power of people with disabilities. The recipients of the AAPD Paul G. Hearne Leadership Awards are honored among national disability leaders each year at the AAPD Leadership Awards Gala in Washington, DC. Nominations are due by 5:00 PM ET on September 30, 2016.

AAPD Now Accepting Applications for Its Summer Internship Program
The American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) Summer Internship Program develops the next generation of leaders with disabilities and offers host employers access to a talented, diverse workforce. Each summer, AAPD places college students, graduate students, law students and recent graduates with all types of disabilities in paid 10-week summer internships in Congressional offices, federal agencies, non-profit and for-profit organizations in the Washington, DC area. Each intern is matched with a mentor who will assist them with their career goals. AAPD provides the interns with a stipend, transportation to and from Washington, DC and fully-accessible housing. At the beginning of the summer, interns participate in a 1-week orientation session to learn about AAPD as well as the disability rights movement, meet the other interns and participate in a variety of engaging workshops and events. As part of the AAPD network, interns also receive opportunities to attend events on Capitol Hill, conferences, community events, happy hours and more. Applications for the program must be completed by 5:00 PM ET on November 7, 2016.

Justice Department: OSC video warns employers not to discriminate against Salvadoran workers with Temporary Protected Status (Aug. 31, 2016)

Thursday, September 1st, 2016

The U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Special Counsel (OSC) has launched an updated educational video reminding employers that Salvadorans with Temporary Protected Status (TPS) may continue working beyond the Sept. 9, 2016, expiration date of their employment authorization documents. In this video, OSC also cautions employers that requesting additional work-authorization documents from these workers may violate anti-discrimination law.

USCIS has automatically extended the validity of employment authorization documents issued under the last extension/designation of TPS El Salvador for an additional 6 months, through March 9, 2017. If you have a TPS El Salvador EAD with an original expiration date of September 9, 2016, you are covered by this automatic extension and may continue to work. For more information on TPS eligibility requirements, what to file, and step by step instructions go to http://www.uscis.gov/tps.

For more information about OSC, go to https://www.justice.gov/crt/office-special-counsel-immigration-related-unfair-employment-practices.

To view the video, to go https://www.justice.gov/crt/video/automatic-extension-tps.