The U.S. Department of Labor’s Civil Rights Center (CRC) has announced a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking 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 the 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 workforce development system. Section 188 prohibits discrimination because of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, political affiliation or belief, and 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.
This proposal would increase equality of opportunity for the millions of job applicants, training participants, program beneficiaries, and funding recipients’ employees who interact with the workforce development system each year. The NPRM’s updates also would ensure access to the system, in particular for people with disabilities, individuals with limited English proficiency, transgender individuals, and individuals who are pregnant or have related medical conditions. This NPRM contains substantive changes necessary to address developments in equal opportunity and nondiscrimination law since CRC first issued regulations implementing the Workforce Investment Act (WIA). The NPRM also reflects changes in the practices of recipients, including the use of computer-based and internet-based systems.
According to the CRC's fact sheet, the NPRM includes provisions that will:
-Update the nondiscrimination and equal opportunity provisions to align them with current law and legal principles;
-Ensure protection from discrimination based on pregnancy;
-Safeguard meaningful access to the workforce system for persons with limited English proficiency;
-Ensure access to the workforce system by people with disabilities by bringing the regulations in line with updated disability civil rights law;
-Ensure that recipients and partners are aware of the full scope of their obligations;
-Outline protections for transgender and gender non-conforming people; and
-Improve the effectiveness of the Departments enforcement program to support compliance.