Civil Rights Laws, Policies, and Provisions

Federal Civil rights laws (sometimes referred to as "cross-cutting" federal civil rights statutes). These apply to essentially any entity that receives an award of federal financial assistance -- regardless of which federal agency awards the grant or cooperative agreement -- and encompass the "program or activity" funded in whole or in part with the Federal financial assistance.

Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 - race, color, or national origin

Applicability: All recipients and sub-recipients at any tier.

Statutory Provision: No person in the United States shall, on the ground of racecolor, or national origin, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.

DOJ implementing regulation:

Title 28 C.F.R. Part 42, Subpart C - Nondiscrimination in Federally Assisted Programs - Implementation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964

Title 28 C.F.R. Part 42, Subpart D - Nondiscrimination in Federally Assisted Programs - Implementation of Section 815(c)(1) of the Justice System Improvement Act of 1979

Title VI Prohibits:

  1. Providing different services to individuals based on racecolor, or national origin
  2. Denying the opportunity to participate as a member of a planning or advisory body based on racecolor, or national origin
  3. Selecting the location of a facility with the purpose or effect of excluding individuals based on racecolor, or national origin

 

Statutes and Regulations:

Title VI Statute, 42 U.S.C §§ 2000d - 2000d-7 (HTML)

Unites States Department of Justice: Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 42 U.S.C. § 2000d,et seq.

 

Rehabilitation Act of 1973 - Section 504 - disability

Applicability: All recipients and sub-recipients at any tier.

Statutory Provision: No otherwise qualified individual with a disability in the United States, as defined in [29 U.S.C. 705(20)], shall, solely by reason of her or his disability, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.

Disability Defined: Defines a person with a disability as a person who has a record of having, or is regarded as having, a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities.

DOJ implementing regulation:

Title 28 C.F.R. Part 42, Subpart G - Nondiscrimination Based on Handicap in Federally Assisted Programs or Activities - Implementation of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973

Discrimination Prohibited:

  1. Denial of participation in program or activity based on disability
  2. Denial of opportunity for same benefit based on disability
  3. Different or separate services based on disability
  4. Denial of participation as a member in a planning or advisory body based on disability
  5. Ineffective communication based on disability

Administrative Requirement: Grant recipients having 50 or more employees and receiving $25,000 or more from the Justice Department * must also do these three things:

1. Designate a Section 504 disability compliance coordinator;
2. Adopt disability grievance procedures: and
3. Notify program participants, beneficiaries, applicants, employees, trade unions, and organizations with collective bargaining agreements that the recipient does not discriminate on the basis of disability.

* Note: All Federal grants issued through DCJ are Justice Department funds.

Statutes and Regulations:

Statute: 29 U.S.C §§ 794 - Nondiscrimination under Federal grants and programs

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 - Section 901 (Title IX) - sex

Applicability: All recipients and sub-recipients at any tier.

Statutory Provision: No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.

DOJ implementing regulation:

Title 28 C.F.R. Part 42, Subpart D - Nondiscrimination in Federally Assisted Programs - Implementation of Section 815(c)(1) of the Justice System Improvement Act of 1979

Title 28 C.F.R. Part 54 - Nondiscrimination on the basis of sex in education programs or activities receiving Federal financial assistance

Administrative Requirement:

1. Appoint a coordinator;
2. Implement a grievance procedure for filing Title IX complaints; and
3. Notify potential program beneficiaries that the recipient does not discriminate on the basis of sex.

Statutes and Regulations:

Statute, 20,U.S.C §§ 1681 - Discrimination Based on Sex or Blindness

Age Discrimination Act of 1975 (ADA) - age

Applicability: All recipients and sub-recipients at any tier.

Statutory Provision: No person in the United States shall, on the basis of age, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.

DOJ implementing regulation:

Title 28 C.F.R. Part 42, Subpart I - Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Age in Federally Assisted Programs or Activities

Administrative Requirement:,

1. Appoint a coordinator;
2. Implement a grievance procedure for filing Title IX,complaints; and
3. Notify potential program beneficiaries that the recipient does not discriminate on the basis of sex.

Statutes and Regulations:

Statute, 20 U.S.C §§ 1681 - Discrimination Based on Sex or Blindness

 

Nondiscrimination Provisions. Requirements or restrictions that apply to certain DOJ awards -- in addition to the civil rights laws -- because they are set out in a statute that applies specifically to one or more particular DOJ grant programs, or to DOJ awards made under a particular legal authority. Much like the civil rights laws, these provisions may apply variously to the programs, activity, or undertaking funded in whole or in part by DOJ.

Section 809(c) of Title I of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968

Applicability: All recipients and sub-recipients at any tier.

Statutory provision: No person in any state shall, on the ground of racecolor, religion, national origin, or sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under or be denied employment in connection with any programs or activity funded in whole or in part made under this chapter.

DOJ implementing regulation:

Title 28 C.F.R. Part 42, Subpart D - Nondiscrimination in Federally Assisted Programs - Implementation of Section 815(c)(1) of the Justice System Improvement Act of 1979

Statutes and Regulations:,

Statute 34 U.S.C §§10228(c) - Title 34, Subtitle I - Comprehensive Acts, Chapter 101 - Justice System Improvement, Subchapter VII - Administrative Provisions, Section 10228 - Prohibition of Federal control over State and local criminal justice agencies; prohibition of discrimination

Statute, 34 U.S.C §§11182(b) - Title 34, Subtitle I - Comprehensive Acts, Chapter 111 - Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, Subchapter II - Programs and Offices, Part F-General and Administrative Provisions, Section 11182 - Administrative Authority

Section 1407(e) of the Victims of Crime Act of 1984"

Applicability: All recipients and sub-recipients at any tier.

Statutory provision: No person shall on the ground of race, color, religionnational origin, disability, or sex be excluded from participation in, denied the benefits of, subjected to discrimination under, or denied employment in connection with any undertaking funded in whole or in part with sums made available under this chapter.

DOJ implementing regulation:

Title 28 C.F.R. Part 94, Subpart B - VOCA Victim Assistance Program

Statutes and Regulations:

Statute, 34 U.S.C §§ 20110(e) - Title 34, Subtitle II - Protection of Children and Other Persons, Chapter 201- Victim Rights, Compensation, and Assistance, Subchapter 1 - Crime Victims Fund, Section 20110 - Administrative Provisions

Section 40002(b)(13) of the Violence Against Women Act of 1994

Applicability: Recipients and sub-recipients at any tier, of Office of Violence Against Women (OVW) grant funds (e.g. VAWA and SASP grant programs)

Statutory provision:

Prohibits discrimination on the basis of actual or perceived race, color, national origin, sex, religion, disability, sexual orientation, and gender identity in programs or activities, both in employment and in the delivery of services or benefits in any program or activity funded, in whole or in part, with funds appropriated to OVW, or appropriated pursuant to certain statutes that focus on violence against women.

The required grant condition includes a limited exception for sex-specific programming, as well as a rule of construction to the effect that nothing in the condition diminishes other legal responsibilities and liabilities related to civil rights.

For purposes of this condition, "gender identity" means actual or perceived gender-related characteristics.

Statutes and Regulations:,

 

Statute, 34 U.S.C §§ 12291(b)(13) - Title 34, Subtitle I - Comprehensive Acts, Chapter 121 - Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement, Subchapter III - Violence Against Women, Section 12291(b)(13) - Definitions and grant provisions

 

Other U.S. Code and other Federal Guidance regarding Civil Rights. Requirements or restrictions that apply to all DCJ federal awards.

Ensuring Access to Federally Assisted Programs

Ensuring Access to Federally Assisted Programs: Federal laws that apply to recipients of financial assistance from the DOJ prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, or disability in funded programs or activities, not only in employment but also in the delivery of services or benefits. A federal law also prohibits recipients from discriminating on the basis of age in the delivery of services or benefits.

In March of 2013, President Obama signed the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013. The statute amends the Violence Against Women Act of 1994 (VAWA) by including a nondiscrimination grant condition that prohibits discrimination based on actual or perceived race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability, sexual orientation, or gender identity. The new nondiscrimination grant condition applies to certain programs funded after October 1, 2013. The OCR and the OVW have developed answers to some frequently asked questions about this provision to assist recipients of VAWA funds to understand their obligations. The Frequently Asked Questions are available at US Office on Violence Against Women.

Enforcing Civil Rights Laws

Enforcing Civil Rights Laws: All recipients of Federal financial assistance, regardless of the particular funding source, the amount of the grant award, or the number of employees in the workforce, are subject to prohibitions against unlawful discrimination. Accordingly, the OCR investigates recipients that are the subject of discrimination complaints from both individuals and groups. In addition, based on regulatory criteria, the OCR selects a number of recipients each year for compliance reviews, audits that require recipients to submit data showing that they are providing services equitably to all segments of their service population and that their employment practices meet equal opportunity standards.

Providing Services to Limited English Proficiency (LEP) Individuals

Providing Services to Limited English Proficiency (LEP) Individuals: In accordance with DOJ guidance pertaining to Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000d, recipients of Federal financial assistance must take reasonable steps to provide meaningful access to their programs and activities for persons with limited English proficiency (LEP). See U.S. Department of Justice, Guidance to Federal Financial Assistance Recipients Regarding Title VI Prohibition Against National Origin Discrimination Affecting Limited English Proficient Persons, 67 Fed. Reg. 41,455 (2002). For more information on the civil rights responsibilities that recipients have in providing language services to LEP individuals, please see the website Limited English Proficiency.

Ensuring Equal Treatment of Faith-Based Organizations and Safeguarding Constitutional Protections Related to Religion

Ensuring Equal Treatment of Faith-Based Organizations and Safeguarding Constitutional Protections Related to Religion: The DOJ regulation, Partnerships with Faith-Based and Other Neighborhood Organizations, 28 C.F.R. pt. 38, updated in April 2016, prohibits all recipient organizations, whether they are law enforcement agencies, governmental agencies, educational institutions, houses of worship, or faith-based organizations, from using financial assistance from the DOJ to fund explicitly religious activities. Explicitly religious activities include worship, religious instruction, or proselytization. While funded organizations may engage in non-funded explicitly religious activities (e.g. prayer), they must hold them separately from the activities funded by the DOJ, and recipients cannot compel beneficiaries to participate in them. The regulation also makes clear that organizations participating in programs funded by the DOJ are not permitted to discriminate in the provision of services on the basis of a beneficiary's religion, religious belief, a refusal to hold a religious belief, or a refusal to attend or participate in a religious practice. Funded faith-based organizations must also provide written notice to beneficiaries, advising them that if they should object to the religious character of the funded faith based organization, the funded faith-based organization will take reasonable steps to refer the beneficiary to an alternative service provider. For more information on the regulation, please see the OCR's website at https://ojp.gov/about/ocr/partnerships.htm.

SAAs and faith-based organizations should also note that the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act (Safe Streets Act) of 1968, as amended, 34 U.S.C. § 10228(c); the Victims of Crime Act of 1984, as amended, 34 U.S.C. § 20110(e); the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act of 1974, as amended, 34 U.S.C. § 11182(b); and VAWA, as amended, 34 U.S.C. § 12291(b)(13), contain prohibitions against discrimination on the basis of religion in employment. Despite these nondiscrimination provisions, the DOJ has concluded that it may construe the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) on a case-by-case basis to permit some faith-based organizations to receive DOJ funds while taking into account religion when hiring staff, even if the statute that authorizes the funding program generally forbids recipients from considering religion in employment decisions. Please consult with the OCR if you have any questions about the regulation or the application of RFRA to the statutes that prohibit discrimination in employment.

Using Arrest and Conviction Records in Making Employment Decisions

Using Arrest and Conviction Records in Making Employment Decisions: The OCR issued an advisory document for recipients on the proper use of arrest and conviction records in making hiring decisions. See Advisory for Recipients of Financial Assistance from the U.S. Department of Justice on the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's Enforcement Guidance: Consideration of Arrest and Conviction Records in Employment Decisions Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (June 2013). Recipients should be mindful that the misuse of arrest or conviction records to screen either applicants for employment or employees for retention or promotion may have a disparate impact based on race or national origin, resulting in unlawful employment discrimination. In light of the Advisory, recipients should consult local counsel in reviewing their employment practices. If warranted, recipients should also incorporate an analysis of the use of arrest and conviction records in their Equal Employment Opportunity Plans (EEOPs) (see below).

Complying with the Safe Streets Act

Complying with the Safe Streets Act: An organization that is a recipient of financial assistance subject to the nondiscrimination provisions of the Safe Streets Act must meet two obligations: (1) complying with the federal regulation pertaining to the development of an EEOP (see 28 C.F.R. pt. 42, subpt. E) and (2) submitting to the OCR findings of discrimination (see  28 C.F.R. §§ 42.204(c), .205(c)(5)).

Meeting the EEOP Requirement

Meeting the EEOP Requirement: An EEOP is a comprehensive document that analyzes a recipient's relevant labor market data, as well as the recipient's employment practices, to identify possible barriers to the participation of women and minorities in all levels of a recipient's workforce. As a recipient of DOJ funding, you may be required to submit an EEOP Certification Report or an EEOP Utilization Report to the OCR. For more information on whether your organization is subject to the EEOP requirements. Additionally, you may request technical assistance from an EEOP specialist at the OCR by telephone at (202) 616-1771 or by e-mail at EEOPforms@usdoj.gov.

Meeting the Requirement to Submit Findings of Discrimination

Meeting the Requirement to Submit Findings of Discrimination: If in the three years prior to the date of the grant award, your organization has received an adverse finding of discrimination based on race, color, national origin, religion, or sex, after a due-process hearing, from a state or federal court or from a state or federal administrative agency, your organization must send a copy of the finding to the OCR.

Ensuring the Compliance of Sub-recipients

Ensuring the Compliance of Subrecipients: SAAs must have standard assurances to notify sub-recipients of their civil rights obligations, written procedures to address discrimination complaints filed against sub-recipients, methods to monitor sub-recipients' compliance with civil rights requirements, and a program to train sub-recipients on applicable civil rights laws. In addition, SAAs must submit to the OCR every three years written Methods of Administration (MOA) that summarize the policies and procedures that they have implemented to ensure the civil rights compliance of sub-recipients. For more information on the MOA requirement, see Award Condition: Methods of Administration.

If the OCR can assist you in any way in fulfilling your organization's civil rights responsibilities as a recipient of Federal financial assistance, please contact us.