5101:9-2-05 Workforce Investment Act: discrimination complaints.

(A) Definitions as used in this rule

(1) "Beneficiaries" means applicants, registrants, participants, recipients, subrecipients, service providers, labor unions, joint labor unions, joint labor management committees, and community-based organizations for services, assistance, and other benefits administered by workforce development agencies.

(2) "Workforce development agency" means the entity given responsibility for workforce development activities that is designated by the board of county commissioners, the chief elected official of a municipal corporation, or the chief elected officials of a local area.

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

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

(B) Compliance

(1) For purposes of the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) of 1998, as amended: no person(s) shall on the grounds of race, color, national origin, disability, age, gender, religion, citizenship, political affiliation or belief, beneficiary, or participant status, 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 the Ohio department of job and family services (ODJFS), or a workforce development agency.

(2) The workforce development agency and its workforce development 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.

(C) Delegation of authority

(1) The Ohio department of job and family services (ODJFS) shall administer nondiscrimination laws, rules, and regulations through the methods of administration outlined in this rule. The director of the workforce development agency has the responsibility for implementing and enforcing civil rights laws, rules, and regulations within its service system, including workforce development agency contractors.

(2) For purposes of administration of this rule, there are two distinct levels of responsibility: ODJFS and the workforce development agency.

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

(i) Investigating all complaints of discrimination.

(ii) Disseminating information pertaining to civil rights laws to the equal opportunity officer at the workforce development agency, beneficiaries, and interested members of the general public.

(iii) Preparing compliance reports for submission to the United States department of labor, civil rights center (DOL, CRC).

(iv) Providing instructions and guidance to the equal opportunity officer at the workforce development agency in all aspects of implementing the civil rights laws and the processing of complaints.

(v) Advising and recommending actions that will remedy noncompliant areas.

(vi) Conducting compliance reviews of the workforce development agency and workforce development agency contractors.

(vii) Acting as liaison between ODJFS and DOL for issues relating to civil rights.

(viii) Acting as liaison with community groups concerned with civil rights issues involving the delivery of services.

(b) The workforce development agency is responsible for the following:

(i) Developing a civil rights and limited English proficiency plan to ensure that the workforce development agency and the workforce development agency contractors comply with this rule and the civil rights laws, rules, and regulations.

(ii) Appointing an equal opportunity officer under the following conditions:

(a) The workforce development agency shall appoint an employee of the workforce development agency who is familiar with WIA non-discrimination provisions ( 29 C.F.R. 37 ), Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Americans with Disabilities Act (1990), and other pertinent civil rights laws that may apply to the workforce development agency or workforce development agency contractors.

(b) Depending on the size of the workforce development agency and the number of applicants, registrants and participants served by the workforce development agency, the equal opportunity officer may, or may not, be assigned other duties. However, he or she must not have other responsibilities or activities that create a conflict, or the appearance of a conflict, with the responsibility of the equal opportunity officer.

(iii) Appointing an equal opportunity officer who shall have the following responsibilities set forth in his or her job description:

(a) Attending ODJFS approved civil rights training within six months of becoming the equal opportunity officer, and attending training updates as required by the department;

(b) Providing input to management to promote civil rights in service delivery, and to discuss civil rights complaints, issues, and reports of compliance activities within the workforce development agency or within workforce development agency contractors;

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

(d) Reviewing written policies to make sure that those policies are nondiscriminatory;

(e) Providing technical assistance or training on civil rights in service delivery to staff, or referring staff to appropriate resources for technical assistance;

(f) Disseminating civil rights information to workforce development agency staff and workforce development agency contractors, vendors, beneficiaries, and other interested parties; and

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

(D) Complaints

Any person may file a written complaint alleging discrimination within one hundred eighty days from the date of the alleged discriminatory act. Complaints can be filed with ODJFS-BCR or the United States department of labor, civil rights center (DOL, CRC). The workforce development agency shall make available assistance in drafting and filing complaints. A complaint is deemed filed when ODJFS-BCR receives a written statement sufficiently precise to identify the parties and to describe generally the action or practices or which there is a complaint. ODJFS discrimination complaint forms may be obtained from the ODJFS-BCR or the workforce development agency, but the use of any particular form is not required for the proper filing of a complaint.

(1) Any complaint alleging discrimination filed with ODJFS-BCR 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:

(i) Race;

(ii) Color;

(iii) Religion;

(iv) National origin;

(v) Disability;

(vi) Age;

(vii) Gender;

(viii) Citizenship;

(ix) Political affiliation or belief;

(x) Beneficiary, or participant status;

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

(e) The date or dates of the alleged unlawful discriminatory practice; of 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; and

(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.

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

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

(E) Upon receiving a complaint alleging discrimination, the workforce development agency shall do the following:

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

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

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

(4) Cooperate fully with 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 ODJFS-BCR.

(F) Notice

The workforce development agency and workforce development 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 workforce development agency and workforce development 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 workforce development agency and its contract providers shall do the following:

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

(2) Post in conspicuous places, available to employees and applicants for employment, notices stating that the workforce development agency and its contract providers comply with all applicable federal and state non-discrimination laws. The workforce development 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, gender, religion, ancestry, or veteran status. The workforce development agency shall incorporate the requirements of this paragraph in all of its contracts, grants and other agreements, and shall require all workforce development agency contractors to incorporate the requirements of this paragraph in all subcontracts and subgrants for work performed for or on behalf of the workforce development agency.

(3) Provide notice to beneficiaries of the right to file a complaint if they feel that they have been discriminated against on the basis of race, color, national origin, disability, age, gender, religion, citizenship, political affiliation or belief, beneficiary, or participant status. The notice shall include the web address, mailing address, fax number, and telephone number of ODJFS-BCR.

(G) Remedial action

A workforce development agency or workforce development agency contractor found to be in violation of this rule will be notified in writing within thirty days after completion of the investigation or review. Any action taken by ODJFS to bring the workforce development agency into compliance with this rule will be done pursuant to section 5101.241 of the Revised Code. Examples of remedial action include but are not limited to: corrective action plans or the withholding of funds. The workforce development agency is responsible for compliance by workforce development agency contractors. ODJFS may take action against the workforce development agency pursuant to section 5101.241 of the Revised Code if the workforce development agency fails to obtain compliance by the workforce development agency contractor.

Effective: 04/01/2006
Promulgated Under: 111.15
Statutory Authority: 121.07(B) , 5101.02 , 6301.03(C)
Rule Amplifies: 5101.01 , 5101.02 , 6301.01 , 6301.02
Prior Effective Dates: 10/15/01, 7/1/05