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Federal Coordination And Compliance Section

Purpose of the Federal Coordination and Compliance Section

The Civil Rights Division’s Federal Coordination and Compliance Section operates a comprehensive, governmentwide program of technical and legal assistance, training, interagency coordination, and regulatory, policy, and program review, to assure that federal agencies consistently and effectively enforce various landmark civil rights statutes and related Executive Orders that prohibit discrimination in federally assisted programs and in the federal government’s own programs and activities.

Executive Order 12250

Under Executive Order 12250, the Section coordinates the enforcement by Federal agencies of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, or national origin in federally assisted programs; Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in federally assisted education programs; and other similar statutes that prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, or religion in federally assisted programs. (The Disability Rights Section coordinates the enforcement of disability-related statutes.)  Thirty federal agencies that administer federally assisted programs are subject to Title VI, Title IX, and similarly worded provisions of other program statutes that prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, or religion.

The Section develops model regulations, policies, and enforcement standards and procedures, and reviews and approves similar products developed by individual federal agencies. The Section reviews plans and data submitted by federal agencies that describe their civil rights enforcement priorities, activities, and achievements. The Section also conducts Technical Assistance Reviews of Title VI enforcement.

The Section provides technical assistance and training to improve the compliance and enforcement programs of individual agencies. The Section’s Title VI training course, which combines classroom study of legal requirements, theories of discrimination, and investigative techniques, and culminates in the hands-on workshop "investigation" of a mock complaint, continues to be fully subscribed and receives high marks from participants. A similar Title IX training course was developed  and also has been well received.  Two major documents produced by the Section, a Title VI Legal Manual and an Investigation Procedures Manual, are essential building blocks for the development of an agency’s Title VI compliance program. The Section also publishes a quarterly newsletter, the Civil Rights Forum.

The Section developed the Title IX common rule that was published on August 30, 2000, by 21 agencies (including the Department of Justice) that, until that time, did not have Title IX regulations. The Section also consulted with federal agencies, consistent with the President's directive, as they developed their Title IX enforcement plans, and coordinated the development of the Department's own Title IX enforcement plan.

The Section also serves as a governmentwide clearinghouse for policy and program issues, and for complaints that address discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, and religion in programs of Federal financial assistance. The Section makes programmatic and complaint referrals to the appropriate agencies, makes determinations as to likely jurisdiction in cases that include multiple issues or agencies, and coordinates policy development when multiple agencies or cross-cutting issues are involved.

Executive Order 13166

The Section also has been assigned major governmentwide coordination responsibilities with respect to two other Executive Orders. On August 11, 2000, the President issued Executive Order 13166, "Improving Access to Services for Persons with Limited English Proficiency." At the same time, the Department of Justice issued a Policy Guidance Document, "Enforcement of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 – National Origin Discrimination Against Persons with Limited English Proficiency" (LEP Guidance). The purpose of the Executive Order and the LEP Guidance is to eliminate to the maximum extent possible limited English proficiency as an artificial barrier to full and meaningful participation by beneficiaries in all federally assisted and federally conducted programs and activities.

The Section serves as the federal repository for the internal implementation plans that each federal agency is required to develop, to ensure meaningful access to its own federally conducted programs and activities, and it also reviews and approves each funding agency’s external LEP guidance for its recipients. As the Department of Justice prepared its own plan, the Section reviewed and approved each component’s submission.  Further, the Section  developed the Department’s external guidance for its own recipients.

The Section has initiated an aggressive program of intra- and inter-agency consultations and actively solicits comments and suggestions from representatives of recipient and LEP individuals on how to identify and address the needs of LEP individuals under Executive Order 13166 in an effective and cost-effective manner.

Executive Order 13160

The Section also has an interagency coordination role with respect to the implementation of Executive Order 13160, which was issued in June 2000. This Executive Order prohibits discrimination in federally conducted education and training programs on the basis of race, sex, color, national origin, disability, religion, age, sexual orientation, or status as a parent. The Executive Order applies to the federally conducted education and programs of almost 100 federal agencies, thereby extending the existing prohibitions against discrimination on the basis of race, sex, color, national origin, disability, and age that apply to the education and training programs of recipients of federal financial assistance.

The Section developed a Guidance Document designed to facilitate implementation of the Executive Order 13160.  Published on January 18, 2001, it addresses issues such as the scope of covered programs and activities, examples of discriminatory conduct, applicable legal principles, enforcement procedures, remedies, and agency reporting requirements.

Investigation of complaints of discrimination by recipients of funds from the Department of Justice

The Department of Justice is a major provider of federal financial assistance. Under agreements reached with several Department of Justice funding components, Section investigators and attorneys conduct administrative investigations of selected complaints of discrimination by their recipients.  Complaints are investigated, under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the nondiscrimination provision of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act.  These recipients include state and local law enforcement agencies, courts, corrections systems, juvenile justice systems, and a variety of non-governmental entities.

The Section seeks case resolutions through the use of alternative dispute resolution techniques, if appropriate, in lieu of full field investigations. In other cases, investigations may result in the issuance of formal findings of compliance or non-compliance. If voluntary compliance cannot be achieved where non-compliance is found, the Section refers the case to the appropriate Division Section for litigation or, in cooperation with the appropriate funding component within the Department, seeks to terminate the federal financial assistance through an administrative hearing.

Updated August 6, 2015