7 C.F.R. § 272.6
CHAPTER II--FOOD AND NUTRITION SERVICE, DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
PART 272--REQUIREMENTS FOR PARTICIPATING STATE AGENCIES
Sec. 272.6 Nondiscrimination compliance.
(a) Requirement. State agencies shall not discriminate against any
applicant or participant in any aspect of program administration,
including, but not limited to, the certification of households, the
issuance of coupons, the conduct of fair hearings, or the conduct of any
other program service for reasons of age, race, color, sex, handicap,
religious creed, national origin, or political beliefs. Discrimination
in any aspect of program administration is prohibited by these
regulations, the Food Stamp Act, the Age Discrimination Act of 1975
(Pub. L. 94-135), the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Pub. L. 93-112,
section 504), and title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C.
2000d). Enforcement action may be brought under any applicable Federal
law. Title VI complaints shall be processed in accord with 7 CFR part
(b) Right to file a complaint. Individuals who believe that they
have been subject to discrimination as specified in paragraph (a) of
this section may file a written complaint with the Secretary or the
Administrator, FNS, Washington, DC 20250, and/or with the State agency,
if the State agency has a system for processing discrimination complaints.
The State agency shall explain both the FNS and, if applicable, the State agency complaint
system to each individual who expresses an interest in filing a
discrimination complaint and shall advise the individual of the right to
file a complaint in either or both systems.
(c) FNS complaint requirements. (1) Complaints shall contain the
following information to facilitate investigations:
(i) The name, address, and telephone number or other means of
contacting the person alleging discrimination.
(ii) The location and name of the organization or office which is
accused of discriminatory practices.
(iii) The nature of the incident or action or the aspect of program
administration that led the person to allege discrimination.
(iv) The reason for the alleged discrimination (age, race, color,
sex, handicap, religious creed, national origin, or political belief).
(v) The names, titles (if appropriate), and addresses of persons who
may have knowledge of the alleged discriminatory acts.
(vi) The date or dates on which the alleged discriminatory actions
(2) If a complainant makes allegations verbally and is unable or is
reluctant to put the allegations in writing, the FNS employee to whom
the allegations are made shall document the complaint in writing. Every
effort shall be made by the individual accepting the complaint to have
the complainant provide the information specified in paragraph (c)(1)
of this section.
(3) Complaints will be accepted by the Secretary or the
Administrator, FNS, even if the information specified in paragraph
(c)(1) of this section is not complete. However, investigations will be
conducted only if information concerning paragraphs (c)(1) (ii), (iii)
or (iv) of this section is provided.
(4) A complaint must be filed no later than 180 days from the date
of the alleged discrimination. However, the time for filing may be
extended by the Secretary.
(d) State agency complaint requirements. (1) The State agency may
develop and use a State agency complaint system.
(2) The State agency shall submit to FNS a report on each
discrimination complaint processed at the State level. The report shall
contain as much information in paragraph (c)(1) of this section as is
available to the State agency, the findings of the investigation, and,
if appropriate, the corrective action planned or taken.
(e) Reviews. [Reserved]
(f) Public notification. The State agency shall: (1) Publicize the
procedures described in paragraphs (b) and (c) of this section, and, if
applicable, the State agency's complaint procedures; (2) insure that all
offices involved in administering the program and that also serve the
public display the nondiscrimination poster provided by FNS; and (3)
insure that participants and other low-income households have access to
information regarding nondiscrimination statutes and policies, complaint
procedures, and the rights of participants, within 10 days of the date
of a request.
(g) Data collection. The State agency shall obtain data on
households by racial/ethnic category. The racial/ethnic categories are:
American Indian or Alaskan Native, Asian or Pacific Islander, black (not
of Hispanic origin), Hispanic, and white (not of Hispanic origin). The
State agency may request applicants to identify voluntarily their race
or ethnicity on the application form. The application form in these
States shall clearly indicate that the information is voluntary, that it
will not affect eligibility or the level of benefits, and that the
reason for the information is to assure that program benefits are
distributed without regard to race, color, or national origin. The State
agency shall develop alternative means of providing the racial and
ethnic data on households, such as by observation during the interview,
when the information is not voluntarily provided by the household on the
(h) Reports. As required by FNS, the State agency shall report the
racial/ethnic data on participating households on forms provided by FNS.
[Amdt. 132, 43 FR 47884, Oct. 17, 1979. Redesignated by Amdt. 211, 47 FR
53315, Nov. 26, 1982, as amended by Amdt. 356, 59 FR 29713, June 9,