5101:9-2-01 Civil rights plan.

(A) Definitions used in this rule .

(1) "Beneficiaries" means applicants, recipients, and potential applicants and recipients of services, assistance, and other benefits administered by the county agency or county agency contractors.

(2) "County Agency" means the county department of job and family services, the public children services agency, and the child support enforcement agency.

(3) "County Agency Contractor" means any governmental or non-governmental entity that receives funds from the county agency, whether directly or indirectly, to provide services, assistance, or benefits to individuals or that performs duties or activities for the county agency pursuant to a contract, grant, or other agreement.

(4) "Limited English Proficiency" (LEP) means any person or group of persons who cannot speak, read, write or understand the English language at a level that allows them to meaningfully communicate with county agencies or county agency contractors.

(B) Compliance for the Ohio department of job and family services (ODJFS) and the county agency.

All programs, services, and benefits that are administered, supervised, authorized, and/or participated in by a county agency shall be operated in accordance with the nondiscriminatory requirements of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended; section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended; the Age Discrimination Act of 1975; the Multiethnic Placement Act of 1994, as amended by the Interethnic Adoption Provisions of 1996; and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. The county agency is responsible for ensuring compliance with this rule by all county agency contractors.

(C) No person(s) shall, in violation of state or federal law, on the grounds of race, color, national origin, disability, age, sex, religion, political affiliation or belief, WIA (Workforce Investment Act) participation status, or, for beneficiaries only, citizenship status (not all bases apply to all programs) be excluded from participation in, be denied or delayed the benefits or services of, or be otherwise subjected to discrimination under any program, service, or benefit authorized or provided by ODJFS, a county agency, or a county agency contractor.

(D) In carrying out its duties, the county agency shall not discriminate against any employee or applicant for employment because of race, color, national origin, disability, age, sex, religion, political affiliation or belief, WIA participation status, or, for beneficiaries only, citizenship status (not all bases apply to all programs). The county agency shall ensure that applicants are hired, and that employees are treated during employment without regard to their race, color, national origin, disability, age, sex, religion, political affiliation or belief, WIA participation status, or, for beneficiaries only, citizenship status (not all bases apply to all programs). Such action includes, but is not limited to, the following: employment, upgrading, demotion, or transfer; recruitment or recruitment advertising; layoff or termination; rates of pay or other forms of compensation; and selection for training, including apprenticeship.

(E) The county agency and its county agency contractors shall operate each program or activity so that when viewed in its entirety, each program or activity is readily accessible to persons with disabilities and provides meaningful access to persons with limited English proficiency. This shall include, but not be limited to, making the physical facilities accessible to persons with disabilities and providing interpreters at no charge to those beneficiaries who are visually or hearing impaired, or are limited English proficient.

(F) The county agency shall ensure that the opportunity to participate as members of planning, advisory, and policy boards is available to persons in a nondiscriminatory manner.

(G) The county agency and county agency contractors shall develop policies and procedures that ensure that all recruitment and employment practices do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, disability, sex, age, religion, political affiliation or belief, WIA participation status, or, for beneficiaries only, citizenship status (not all bases apply to all programs). Its employment practices also must not have the effect of causing discrimination in the delivery of services and benefits under the program.

(H) Delegation of authority.

ODJFS shall administer nondiscrimination laws, rules, and regulations through the following methods of administration. The director of the county agency has the responsibility for implementing and enforcing civil rights laws, rules, and regulations within its service system, including county agency contractors, pursuant to the provisions of this rule and other applicable state and federal laws.

(I) For purposes of administration of the civil rights plan described in this rule, there are two distinct levels of responsibility: ODJFS and the county agency.

(1) The ODJFS-bureau of civil rights (ODJFS-BCR) is responsible for the following:

(a) Investigating all complaints of discrimination arising under paragraphs (B), (C), and (E) of this rule.

(b) Disseminating information pertaining to civil rights laws to the county agency civil rights coordinator, beneficiaries, and interested members of the general public.

(c) Preparing compliance reports for submission to the U.S. department of health and human services, office for civil rights (HHS, OCR), the U.S. department of labor, civil rights center (DOL, CRC), and the U.S. department of agriculture, food and nutrition service, office for civil rights ( USDA, FNS, OCR); and providing instructions and guidance to the county agency civil rights coordinator in all aspects of implementing the civil rights laws and the processing of complaints. ODJFS-BCR shall also advise and recommend actions to county agencies that will remedy noncompliant actions.

(d) Conducting compliance reviews of the county agency and county agency contractors.

(e) Acting as liaison between ODJFS, HHS, DOL, and USDA offices for civil rights.

(f) Acting as liaison with community groups concerned with civil rights issues involving delivery of service.

(2) The county agency is responsible for the following:

(a) Developing a civil rights plan to ensure that the county agency and county contractor comply with this rule and all applicable federal and state civil rights laws, rules, and regulations.

(b) Appointing a civil rights coordinator who shall have the following responsibilities set forth in his or her job description:

(i) Attending ODJFS approved civil rights training within six months of becoming the civil rights coordinator, and attending training updates as required by ODJFS.

(ii) Providing input to management to improve the civil rights in service delivery, and to discuss civil rights complaints, issues, and reports of compliance activities within the county agency or within county agency contractors.

(iii) Maintaining essential compliance records and files, including client analysis data, staff training records, confidential complaint files, and reasonable accommodation requests.

(iv) Reviewing written policies to make sure that those policies are nondiscriminatory.

(v) Providing technical assistance or referring staff to appropriate resources for technical assistance. Providing annual training on civil rights in service delivery to staff. New staff shall receive training as part of their initial orientation.

(vi) Disseminating civil rights information to county agency staff and county agency contractors, vendors, beneficiaries, and other interested parties.

(vii) Acting as civil rights liaison between ODJFS, the county agency, county agency contractors, beneficiaries, and community groups or other organizations concerning civil rights in the delivery of services.

(J) Complaints .

(1) Any person may file a written complaint alleging discrimination within six months from the date of the alleged discriminatory act. Complaints can be filed with the ODJFS-BCR or the county agency. Assistance in drafting and filing complaints shall be made available. A complaint is deemed filed when the county agency or ODJFS-BCR receives a written statement sufficiently precise to identify the parties and to describe generally the action or practices for which there is a complaint. ODJFS discrimination complaint forms may be obtained from the ODJFS-BCR or the county agency, but the use of any particular form is not required for the proper filing of a complaint.

(2) Any complaint alleging discrimination filed with ODJFS-BCR or a county agency shall contain the following information:

(a) The full name and address of the person making the complaint.

(b) The full name and address of the covered entity against whom the complaint is made.

(c) The basis on which the complainant believes the discrimination has occurred (not all bases apply to all programs):

(i) Race;

(ii) Color;

(iii) Religion;

(iv) National origin;

(v) Disability;

(vi) Age;

(vii) Sex;

(viii) Political affiliation or belief;

(ix) WIA participation status; or

(x) For beneficiaries only, citizenship status.

(d) A concise statement of the facts that the complainant believes indicates an unlawful discriminatory practice.

(e) The date or dates of the alleged unlawful discriminatory practice; or if the alleged unlawful discriminatory practice is of a continuing nature, the dates between which said continuing acts are alleged to have occurred.

(f) A statement as to any other action, if any, civil or criminal, instituted in any other forum based upon the same grievance as is alleged in the complaint together with a statement as to the status or disposition of such other action.

(g) A statement as to any other action or proceeding in any other forum based upon the same facts as are alleged in the complaint, together with a statement as to the status or disposition of such other action.

(K) The complainant and respondent shall be advised of the results of the investigation, not later than ten days after the completion of the investigation. The complainant shall also be advised of the right to file a complaint to any appropriate state or federal civil rights enforcement agency.

(L) The ODJFS-BCR shall maintain records that show the nature of the complaint, the details of the investigation, and the actions taken by ODJFS.

(M) Upon receiving a complaint alleging discrimination, the county agency shall:

(1) Forward the complaint to the ODJFS-BCR within three working days of date of receipt;

(2) Make all persons or papers pertaining to a case being handled by the ODJFS-BCR available at the ODJFS-BCR's request unless doing so would violate state or federal law;

(3) Submit any information requested by the ODJFS-BCR not later than fourteen working days from date of receipt of request unless otherwise agreed upon;

(4) Cooperate fully with the ODJFS-BCR during the course of any investigation;

(5) Not initiate, conduct, or run concurrent investigation(s); and

(6) Not retaliate against the complainant or any person(s) associated with any inquiry conducted by the ODJFS-BCR.

(N) Any complaint by an employee of a county agency or county agency contractor that arises under paragraph (D) or (G) of this rule should be filed with either the Ohio civil rights commission and/or the U.S. equal employment opportunity commission. ODJFS has no authority to investigate complaints arising under paragraph (D) or (G) of this rule.

(O) Notice.

The county agency and county agency contractors shall execute, in writing, an assurance that they will comply with all federal, state, and local civil rights laws, this rule, and all policies and procedures of ODJFS.

(P) The county agency and county agency contractors shall have a written nondiscrimination policy that effectively communicates to beneficiaries that the administration, services, assistance, and other benefits of its programs are provided on a nondiscriminatory basis. The county agency and county agency contractors shall, in brochures, pamphlets, or communications that are designed to notify the general public of its services and programs, inform all that the services and programs are provided on a nondiscriminatory basis as required by federal, state, and local civil rights laws, and the policies and procedures of ODJFS. As a result of the organization's commitment to civil rights, the county agency and its contract providers shall also:

(1) Provide notice to beneficiaries, and employees with impaired vision and/or hearing, and individuals who are LEP that, if needed, an interpreter will be provided for them at no charge.

(2) Provide notice to beneficiaries of the right to file a complaint if they feel that they have been discriminated against in county agency administered programs, on the basis of race, color, national origin, disability, age, sex, religion, political affiliation or belief, WIA participation status, or, for beneficiaries only, citizenship status (not all bases apply to all programs). This notice shall include the name, title, and location of the person responsible for receiving the complaint.

(Q) The county agency shall agree to post in conspicuous places, available to employees and applicants for employment, notices stating that the county agency complies with all applicable federal and state non-discrimination laws. The county agency shall, in all solicitations or advertisements for employees placed by or on behalf of them, state that all qualified applicants shall receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, national origin, disability, age, sex, religion, political affiliation or belief, WIA participation status, or, for beneficiaries only, citizenship status (not all bases apply to all programs). The county agency shall incorporate the requirements of paragraphs (B), (C), (D), and (E) of this rule in all of its contracts, grants, and other agreements, and will require all county agency contractors to incorporate these requirements in all subcontracts and subgrants for work performed for or on behalf of the county agency.

(R) Compliance and monitoring.

ODJFS shall periodically review the county agency's compliance program to ensure that it is providing equal employment opportunities, equal opportunity for participation in all programs, and equal opportunity for receiving benefits and services. HHS, DOL, and USDA will be notified of each annual review. ODJFS shall document and maintain a record of the implementation of these civil rights procedures and the compliance status of the county agency, including county agency contractors, in an annual report.

(S) The ODJFS-BCR shall monitor the performance of the county agency and county agency contractors to determine their compliance with the civil rights plan described in this rule in relationship to the population of the agency's service area.

(T) County agency and county agency contractor reviews shall be performed as follows:

(1) The ODJFS-BCR may initiate its own investigation if the regular flow of compliance data alerts ODJFS of a possible problem.

(2) The ODJFS-BCR shall review a sample of county agencies and county agency contractors each state fiscal year. Selection shall be done on a random basis to reflect geographic distribution of county agencies and county agency contractors.

(U) County agency and county agency contractor reviews by ODJFS-BCR shall be conducted periodically, including, but not limited to, the following:

(1) Site location accessibility for disabled persons seeking services and/or benefits;

(2) Referral sources for outreach;

(3) Evaluation of client participation in services;

(4) Range and provision of services;

(5) Accessibility of services for persons with disabilities;

(6) Civil rights complaint procedures; and

(7) Access to benefits and/or services by persons who are LEP.

(V) ODJFS reserves the right to perform its lawful obligation by inspecting sites and practices and materials that include, but are not limited to, the following:

(1) Appointment books to verify that no distinction is made as to the time beneficiaries of a protected class are served;

(2) Written or electronic case files to establish service is being offered in a consistent manner to all individuals;

(3) Official and standard documents, records, and policies of county agency contractors to establish adoption of the necessary civil rights policies;

(4) Publications, brochures, posters, policy manuals, employee handbooks, and training materials to ensure that the notice of nondiscriminatory policies for beneficiaries and employees is included; and

(5) The notice of nondiscrimination is posted as required by the ODJFS civil rights compliance plan.

(W) The county agency and county agency contractors, as applicable, shall make available to HHS, DOL, and USDA all data and information necessary to determine the agency's compliance with civil rights laws and regulations. Compliance information, where feasible, shall include the following:

(1) Identification of eligible population (defined as individuals eligible for programs/services) in aggregate for the state. Also, a separate identification of the eligible population in each county agency (by program) and by the categories of white, American Indian/Alaskan native, Asian/pacific islander, black, and Hispanic.

(2) Identification of the eligible disabled population in aggregate, for the state, and a separate identification of the eligible disabled population of each county agency and contract provider.

(3) Identification of the number of individuals participating in HHS, DOL, or USDA funded programs and these services in aggregate for the state, and for each county agency contractor by the categories specified in paragraphs (W)(1) and (W)(2) of this rule, to the extent such data is reasonably available.

(X) Remedial action.

A county agency or county agency contractor found to be in violation of the ODJFS civil rights plan shall be notified in writing within thirty days after completion of the investigation or review. Any action taken by ODJFS to bring the county agency into compliance with the ODJFS civil rights plan will be done pursuant to section 5101.24 of the Revised Code. Examples of remedial action include, but are not limited to: corrective action plans or the withholding of funds. The county agency is responsible for compliance by county agency contractors. ODJFS may take action against the county agency pursuant to section 5101.24 of the Revised Code if the county agency fails to obtain compliance by the county agency contractor.

Effective: 05/01/2011
Promulgated Under: 111.15
Statutory Authority: 5101.02
Rule Amplifies: 5101.02
Prior Effective Dates: 7/17/89, 5/19/96, 12/7/01, 9/23/06