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FAIR HOUSING NEWS (July 2019)

Friday, July 12th, 2019

Dear Colleague,

WASHINGTON- The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) today announced that it is charging Plano, Texas, landlords Quang Dangtran and his wife, Ha Nguyen, with violating the Fair Housing Act by refusing to lease a room to a prospective tenant because she is black. Read HUD’s charge.

The Fair Housing Act makes it illegal to discriminate in housing because of race or color, which includes making discriminatory statements with respect to the rental of a dwelling.

“A person’s race should never determine whether or not they have access to a place to call home,” said Anna Maria Farias, HUD’s Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. “Today’s action reflects HUD’s ongoing commitment to taking appropriate action when the Fair Housing Act has been violated.”

HUD’s charge alleges that in advertising on craigslist for a room in a five-bedroom house, Mr. Dangtran required applicants to identify their race and submit a photograph of themselves. When Complainant, a woman who had expressed an interest in renting, contacted Mr. Dangtran about the rental, he reiterated his request for a picture or “selfie. HUD’s charge further alleges that although the woman refused, Dangtran later agreed to meet her at the house but when he saw that she is black, he refused to show her the room, stating that her race would make his wife and the other tenants uncomfortable.

“In 2019, more than 50 years after enactment of the Fair Housing Act, it should be universally known and accepted that racial discrimination in housing is illegal and unacceptable,” said Paul Compton, HUD’s General Counsel. “When HUD becomes aware of such discrimination, it will aggressively pursue remedies provided for by law.”

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 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.

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 by going to hud.gov/fair housing, or by downloading HUD’s free housing discrimination mobile application, which can be accessed through Apple and Android devices.

OFCCP: Introducing the New Excellence in Disability Inclusion Award (July 2019)

Saturday, July 6th, 2019

We are excited to announce the U.S. Department of Labor’s new award program for federal contractors – the Excellence in Disability Inclusion (EDI) Award.

Established by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) and the Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP), the EDI Award recognizes federal contractors who go above and beyond to recruit, hire, retain, and advance individuals with disabilities in the workplace.

The 2019 application process is now underway. Interested federal contractors can click here to learn more and apply.

In addition to presenting an opportunity for federal contractors to be recognized for their disability-inclusion efforts, the EDI Award will help showcase successful programs and best practices that others can emulate.

In addition to being recognized for excellence in disability inclusion, EDI Gold Award recipients will receive a three-year moratorium from OFCCP compliance evaluations.

Federal contractors will need to meet certain criteria to be considered for the EDI Award.

EEOC Weekly Digest Bulletin | Investigator Refresher Training in July 2019

Sunday, June 30th, 2019

EEO Training Investigator Refresher

July 16, 2019

This course meets the annual 8-hour requirement for federal EEO investigators. Participants will receive instruction on recent developments in
federal sector EEO and discuss how these changes affect investigation of complaints filed by federal employees. Participants will also practice their investigative skills.

Location of Training

919 18th St, NW, Suite 800
Washington, D.C. 20006

Register On-Line & Get More Information at: www.eeotraining.eeoc.gov

Contact Us at: EEOC Training Institute – Federal Sector Training E-mail: federaltrainingandoutreach@eeoc.gov

*** Please email your requests for federal sector training and outreach to directly to the Training and Outreach Division at: federaltrainingandoutreach@eeoc.gov ***

For Federal Sector News and Training Updates Please Follow Us On Twitter and Like Us On Facebook: @EEOCFEDENEWS

Subscribe to Our YouTube Page: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCUYqgTshvvYPcLzPvKUuZsA

Register for Upcoming FTA PTASP Webinars in July 2019

Monday, June 24th, 2019

The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) is hosting a webinar series on the Public Transportation Agency Safety Plan (PTASP) Final Rule. The rule requires:

certain rail and bus operators to develop safety plans to better manage safety risk using Safety Management Systems;
transit operators to certify they have a safety plan in place meeting the rule requirements by July 20, 2020: and
the safety plan to be updated and certified by the transit agency annually.
Registration is required for all sessions. Previous webinar sessions covering the PTASP regulation are archived on the PTASP resource page.

PTASP – Safety Assurance

Thursday, July 11 at 2:00 PM ET | Register

PTASP – Employee Safety Reporting

Wednesday, July 31 at 2:00 PM ET | Register

Title VI Consulting Offers On-Demand Webcasts for EO Officers and Title VI Coordinators | Compliance with Federal Civil Rights Laws and Conducting Discrimination Complaint Investigations (2019)

Saturday, June 22nd, 2019

OUR PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT SERIES

As part of our Professional Development Series, we offer certificate-based webcast courses designed to help policymakers and professionals in the areas of equal opportunity, compliance, and complaint investigations gain a better understanding of the requirements of applicable federal civil rights laws. Our course selections are as follows:

How to Comply with Section 188 of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act: A Comprehensive Overview

Conducting Discrimination Complaint Investigations under WIOA Section 188: Proper Process and Technique

How to Comply with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964: An Overview

Comments for our webcasts include “I thoroughly enjoyed them,” “extremely informative,” “outstanding,” “highly relevant,” and “very impressive.”

OUR ON-DEMAND WEBCASTS ARE:

    Convenient.

Watch the webcast of your choice at a time and place convenient to you. Get yourself, your staff, and your service providers, partners, and contractors up-to-speed quickly.

    Cost-effective.

At a cost of only $29.00 per webcast, you’ll find no more cost-effective solution to your training needs. There are no travel costs, and no lost time from work. These webcasts are the best value for your dollar!

    Content-rich.

Each webcast is packed with useful information, guidance, and helpful tips. Participants state that our webcasts are “excellent,” “very informative,” and “highly-organized.” Participants will receive a copy of the PowerPoint presentation used for the webcast.

    Certificate-based.

Within three to five business days, webinar participants receive, by email, a certificate of attendance at the training for their records.

COURSE DESCRIPTIONS

Title: How to Comply with Section 188 of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act: A Comprehensive Overview

Date: AVAILABLE ON-DEMAND NOW! State Equal Opportunity officers, and leadership of workforce investment boards have required this training of staff, partners, service providers, and contractors, stating it is “very relevant” and delivers “extremely useful guidance.”

Duration: Approximately 52 minutes

Free Handouts Available for Download During the Webcast Are: The detailed PowerPoint presentation used during the webcast, a guidance paper on Equal Opportunity Officers and conflict of interest, sample “I speak” cards, and the PowerPoint presentation used during a Labor Department-hosted presentation on gender identity.

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 of 2014 (WIOA) and related federal civil rights laws that apply to the administration, oversight, and delivery process for 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.

Developed for: Whether you are a newly-appointed EO professional, or you are in need refresher training, this webcast is designed for state and local government EO officers, agency heads, legal advisors, contracting and procurement personnel, and other officials involved with issues of compliance with WIOA Section 188. Similarly, management and equal opportunity professionals for private companies and other organizations that contract with state and local governments to operate WIOA Title I-financially assisted programs and activities will find this webcast extremely useful and informative.

Title: Conducting Discrimination Complaint Investigations under WIOA Section 188: Proper Process and Technique

Date: AVAILABLE ON-DEMAND NOW!

Duration: Approximately 39 minutes

Free Handouts Available for Download During the Webcast Are: The detailed PowerPoint presentation used during the webcast, a credibility determinations job aid, and a full set of WIOA Section 188 discrimination complaint templates, including a sample discrimination complaint form and consent form, jurisdiction checklist, complaint investigation plans, and sample notices and letters.

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.

Participants also are encouraged to purchase our book titled, Discrimination Complaint Investigations under the Workforce Investment Act and other Title VI-Related Laws: From Intake to Final Determination. This 5-star rated guide contains numerous examples, sample questions for the parties, and detailed explanations of how to efficiently and effectively conduct and resolve or close a discrimination complaint investigation.

The electronic book is available for $9.99 per copy through iPad, Nook, Kindle, or the publisher at www.outskirtspress.com/civilrights.

Paperback cost: $19.99 per copy. To order the paperback version:

Go to www.outskirtspress.com/civilrights; or

Email the author at seena@titleviconsulting.com, and you will receive an invoice by PayPal ($2.50 per book is added for shipping).

Developed for: WIOA Equal Opportunity (EO) officers, Title VI coordinators, Title VI compliance officers, Title VI liaisons, and any other equal opportunity professionals responsible for conducting investigations of, and resolving, discrimination complaints involving federally-assisted programs and activities. While this webcast uses the nondiscrimination provisions of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014 as the source of examples, the material in this webcast is equally applicable when conducting discrimination complaint investigations in any federally-assisted program or activity.

Through this webcast, equal opportunity professionals are provided the process and tools they need to get their jobs done efficiently and competently.

Title: How to Comply with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act: An Overview

Date: AVAILABLE ON-DEMAND NOW!

Duration: Approximately 42 minutes

Free Handouts Available for Download During the Webcast Are: The detailed PowerPoint presentation used during the webcast and sample “I speak” cards.

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.

Developed for: Whether you are new to the field, or need refresher training, this webcast is designed for state and local government officials from any size agency or department, such as equal opportunity officers, Title VI liaisons, Title VI compliance officers, Title VI coordinators, agency heads, legal counsel, and contracting and procurement personnel. Also, management and equal opportunity professionals for private companies and other organizations that contract with state and local governments to operate federally-assisted programs and activities will find this webcast extremely useful. Whether you receive funding directly from a federal agency, or indirectly through a state or local agency, the federal civil rights requirements discussed in the webcast apply to you.

Once you have completed this webcast and understand the requirements of the federal civil rights laws that apply to your programs, and if you are responsible for conducting discrimination complaint investigations in these programs, we recommend that you take our course titled, “Discrimination Complaint Investigations under the Workforce Investment Act: Proper Process and Technique.” The sound investigative processes and techniques discussed in this webcast are easily applied to discrimination complaint investigations conducted in any federally-assisted program or activity.

Justice Department: Resources on Refugees’ Employment Rights (June 2019)

Friday, June 21st, 2019

If you are a refugee, you have permission to live and work in the United States. Several federal laws protect your right to work regardless of where you live in the United States. The Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (IER) has information for workers and employers on its website, including these materials that discuss refugees’ and asylees’ employment rights:

Information for Refugees and Asylees About the Form I-9 – Available in 17 languages

Employment Rights and Resources for Refugees and Asylees

Refugees and Asylees Have the Right to Work; Information for Employers

You can also call IER at 1-800-255-7688 if you have questions about your employment rights or believe an employer has discriminated against you. In certain situations, IER can contact your employer to help resolve problems.

Celebrating 20 Years of the Supreme Court’s Olmstead Decision (June 2019)

Friday, June 21st, 2019

The Department of Justice celebrates the 20th Anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision in Olmstead v. L.C. This landmark decision made clear that Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits the unjustified segregation of individuals with disabilities in institutions. Robust federal enforcement of Title II’s “integration mandate“ continues today, with Civil Rights Division attorneys at trial in Jackson, Mississippi, litigating the Department’s allegations of unnecessary segregation of adults with serious mental illness in state hospitals. The Division concluded another multi-week Olmstead trial last Fall on behalf of adults with intellectual or developmental disabilities consigned to nursing facilities in Texas. And just last month, the Department entered into a settlement agreement with West Virginia to expand that State’s community-based service array for children with serious emotional or behavioral health disabilties.

Read the Department of Justice blog post on the 20th Anniversary of the Olmstead decision here.

New Mexico Corrections Department to Pay $700,000 to Settle EEOC Age Discrimination / Retaliation Suit (June 2019)

Sunday, June 16th, 2019

Older Workers Denied Promotions and Suffered Retaliation for Complaining, Federal Agency Charged

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – The State of New Mexico, Corrections Department (NMCD), the state agency that operates correctional facilities throughout New Mexico, will pay $700,000 and furnish other relief to settle an age discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, NMCD discriminated against several employees by denying them promotions and job assignments as well as in other terms, conditions, or privileges of employment because of their ages, over 40. The EEOC’s lawsuit further charged that NMCD retaliated against employees because they opposed age discrimination, filed discrimination charges, or participated in investi­gations of discrimination complaints.

Age discrimination against persons who are 40 years old or older violates the Age Discrim­ination in Employment Act (ADEA). Retaliation against individuals because they file internal com­plaints, file EEOC discrimination charges, or participate in EEO investigations or proceedings also violate the ADEA’s provisions that prohibit retaliation.

The EEOC filed suit, EEOC v. State of New Mexico, Department of Corrections, 1:15-CV-00879-KK/LF (D. NM), after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its concili­ation process.

The settlement requires NMCD to ensure that workplace policies are in place to prohibit age discrimination and retaliation and to provide training to all its employees about NMCD’s anti-discrim­ination policies. The settlement allows charging parties or aggrieved individuals to request review of hiring authority decisions during the agreement’s two-year term.

The agreement also requires NMCD to conduct periodic internal analyses of selection decisions to determine whether applicants 40 and over are being selected proportionally to their representation in the applicant pool, and to post a notice that advises employees of NMCD’s policies and the ADEA’s prohibitions on age discrimination and retaliation. Finally, the settlement also provides $700,000 in monetary relief to past and current NMCD employees the EEOC has identified as experiencing age discrimination and/or retaliation while working for NMCD.

“Employers who make employment decisions based on stereotypical notions of an older worker’s ability to work risk losing good employees who bring valuable experience and skill to their jobs,” said Regional Attorney Mary Jo O’Neill of the EEOC’s Phoenix District Office. “The EEOC will vigorously enforce the laws prohibiting age discrimination and retaliation against workers who have the courage to complain about it.”

EEOC’s Phoenix District Director Elizabeth Cadle added, “We are pleased that this lawsuit was resolved with significant monetary relief for older workers in New Mexico.”

EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about EEOC is available on its website at www.eeoc.gov.

Alaska Gold Mine to Pay $690,000 to Settle EEOC Sex Discrimination and Retaliation Lawsuit (June 2019)

Sunday, June 16th, 2019

Gold Mine Refused to Promote Female Miner Then Retaliated When She Complained, Federal Agency Charged

FAIRBANKS, Alaska – Alaska-based Northern Star (Pogo) LLC, formerly known as Sumitomo Metal Mining Pogo, LLC, will pay $690,000 and make substantial changes to settle a sex discrimination and retaliation lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today.

According to the EEOC’s suit, Hanna Hurst, one of a few women underground miners to work at Pogo under former Sumitomo Metal Mining Pogo ownership, was denied promotions while male colleagues with less seniority or training were promoted. When Hurst complained of the unfair treatment, Pogo retaliated against her by imposing additional training requirements, while allowing male miners to advance without meeting the same requirements.

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which prohibits denying promotions based on sex. The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the District of Alaska [Case No. 4:18-cv-00034-JWS] after an investigation by EEOC Investigator Bryne Moore and after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its voluntary conciliation process. Hurst was independently represented by the non-profit Equal Rights Advocates.

The three-year consent decree settling the lawsuit provides $690,000 to Hurst in lost wages and compensatory damages. The decree also requires Pogo to hire an independent expert to evaluate, develop and implement policies, procedures, and trainings to ensure equal employment and enhance accountability and oversight of managers, supervisors and trainers. With that outside expert’s help, the mining company will provide anti-discrimination training to all leadership and employees; make available its EEO policy to all employees and applicants; report to the EEOC all complaints of sex or gender discrimination or retaliation it receives from its employees for the next three years; and post a notice for employees about the consent decree and employees’ rights under federal law.

“Speaking out against sex discrimination at work is hard, but I am really glad I did,” said Hurst. “It’s been a long time coming, but I am hopeful this settlement will help to make the mine a fair workplace for everyone and more open to women. I am thankful to the EEOC and my attorneys at Equal Rights Advocates for standing by me and seeing this through.”

EEOC Senior Trial Attorney May Che said, “Hanna Hurst worked hard to prove her abilities in this challenging industry. She did everything required of her and more. Yet, she was repeatedly passed over for promotion while she watched her male colleagues with less training and seniority rise through the ranks.” Che added, “During Hanna’s employment, Pogo had a discretionary promotion policy applied by male supervisors, who repeatedly showed overt hostility and sexist attitudes toward women at the mine, which ensured that no woman made it to the top-level mining positions.”

“Gender bias continues to be a problem in today’s workplace, certainly no less in those industries traditionally dominated by men.” said EEOC Seattle Field Director Nancy Sienko. “We commend Northern Star as the new successor company for demonstrating its commitment to see such discrimination doesn’t continue under its leadership.”

According to its website, https://www.nsrltd.com/our-assets/pogo/, Pogo is an underground gold mine operation in remote Alaska and currently employs over 320 employees. Pogo is owned and operated by Northern Star (Alaska) LLC following the acquisition of Sumitomo Metal Mining Pogo, LLC on September 28, 2018.

The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov. Stay connected with the latest EEOC news by subscribing to our email updates.

Justice Department Settles Suit Against Indiana Bank to Resolve Lending Discrimination Claims (June 2019)

Sunday, June 16th, 2019

The Department of Justice and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Indiana today filed a complaint and settlement agreement, resolving allegations that First Merchants Bank engaged in lending discrimination by “redlining” predominantly African-American neighborhoods within Indianapolis, Indiana. “Redlining” is a term describing an illegal practice in which lenders intentionally avoid providing services to individuals living in predominantly minority neighborhoods because of the race of the residents in those neighborhoods.

The Department alleges in a complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana that First Merchants violated the Fair Housing Act and Equal Credit Opportunity Act, which prohibit financial institutions from discriminating on the basis of race in their mortgage lending services. The complaint alleges that, from 2011 to at least 2017, First Merchants engaged in unlawful redlining in Indianapolis by intentionally avoiding predominantly African-American neighborhoods because of the race of the people living in those neighborhoods. The Department also alleges in the complaint that First Merchants adopted a residential mortgage lending policy that had the effect of denying residents of predominantly African-American neighborhoods equal access to credit in violation of federal law.

“Federal law prohibits lenders from discriminating against mortgage applicants and other potential customers based on race,” said Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband of the Civil Rights Division. “We commend First Merchants for cooperatively resolving this case by taking steps to ensure that its residential lending products and services are made available to everyone in Indianapolis, regardless of race.”

“Discriminatory race-based lending practices have no place in our District,” said Josh Minkler, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana. “This case involving First Merchants Bank shows our commitment to ensure this reality.”

First Merchants Bank is headquartered in Muncie, Indiana, with branches throughout the Midwest. First Merchants is one of the largest full-service banks in Central Indiana with more than $9 billion in assets and 110 branches in Indiana alone. Under the settlement agreement, which is subject to court approval, First Merchants will expand its marketing efforts, lending, and banking services to specifically include predominantly African-American neighborhoods in Indianapolis. To remedy the harm to those living in the redlined areas, the Bank will invest $1.12 million in a loan subsidy fund to increase credit opportunities to residents of predominantly African-American neighborhoods, and will devote $500,000 toward advertising, community outreach, and credit repair and education. The Bank will also open a branch and loan production office to serve the banking and credit needs of residents in predominantly African-American neighborhoods in Indianapolis. The Bank will employ a director of community lending and development who will oversee these efforts and work in close consultation with the Bank’s leadership.

The Justice Department’s enforcement of fair lending laws is conducted by the Civil Rights Division’s Housing and Civil Enforcement Section. Additional information about the Section’s fair lending enforcement can be found at www.justice.gov/fairhousing.