The U.S. Department of Labor’s Civil Rights Center announces the publication of the Final Rule updating the Section 188 WIOA Nondiscrimination and Equal Opportunity Regulations (29 CFR Part 38). Section 188 prohibits discrimination against individuals in any program or activity that receives financial assistance under Title I of WIOA as well as by the one-stop partners listed in WIOA Section 121(b) that offer programs or activities through the one-stop/American Job Center system. Section 188 prohibits discrimination because of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, political affiliation or belief, or, for beneficiaries, applicants, and participants only, citizenship status or because of an individual’s participation in a program or activity that receives financial assistance under Title I of WIOA.
The final rule contains substantive changes necessary to address developments in equal opportunity and nondiscrimination law since 1999, when the part 37 regulations were issued originally. However, while the rule makes many substantive changes since 1999, the final rule does not impose significant new obligations on recipients. The rule’s updated provisions generally reflect obligations already imposed by changes to other nondiscrimination and equal opportunity laws that expanded, for example, protections against unlawful discrimination on the basis of disability, national origin (including limited English proficiency), and sex. This rule will ensure recipients understand how their obligations in this regard have changed over the past 17 years. The final rule also includes updates reflecting changes in the increased use of online service delivery models in the workforce development system since 1999.
The update ensures the entire workforce system is aware of current equal opportunity rights and responsibilities of beneficiaries and recipients. This regulation will also increase equality of opportunity for millions of job seekers, training participants, program beneficiaries, and recipients’ employees by allowing them to participate or work in programs and activities free from unlawful discrimination. The final rule safeguards access to the system in particular for people with disabilities, people with limited English proficiency, transgender individuals who may face various forms of sex discrimination, and individuals who are pregnant, have had a child, or have related medical conditions.
The effective date of the final rule is January 3, 2017.
Blogger’s Note: For the text of the final rule, go to https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2016/12/02/2016-27737/implementation-of-the-nondiscrimination-and-equal-opportunity-provisions-of-the-workforce-innovation. For a FAQs sheet and other information about the final rule, go to https://www.dol.gov/crc/188rule/. Importantly, the “effective date” of the final rule triggers deadlines for certain compliance activities.