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Civil Rights

Civil Rights Laws, Regulations, Executive Orders and Related Other Guidance

Civil Rights Authorities Applicable to FNS Programs
  • Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 USC § 2000d at 7 CFR 15) prohibits discrimination based on race, color, and national origin in programs and activities receiving federal financial assistance and USDA implementing regulations at CFR 15.1
  • Department of Justice Guidelines for the Enforcement of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 at 28 CFR 50.3
  • Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) (42 USC § 12101 et seq., Title II at 28 CFR 35) prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in all services, programs, and activities provided to the public by state and local governments (public entities), except public transportation services.
  • Americans with Disabilities Act Amendment Act of 2008 (ADAAA) (PL 110-325, 42 USC § 12101 et seq. at 28 CFR 35), amended the ADA to make significant changes to the meaning and interpretation of the ADA definition of disability to ensure that the term would be broadly construed and applied without extensive analysis so that all individuals with disabilities could receive the law’s protections.
  • Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, as amended (PL 92-318, 20 USC § 1681 et seq. at 7 CFR15a) prohibits discrimination based on sex within any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance. 
  • Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended (PL 93-112, 29 USC § 701 at 7 CFR 15b) prohibits discrimination based on disability within any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.
  • Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended (Section 508) [29 USC § 794(d)] requires federal agencies to make their electronic and information technology accessible to people with disabilities.
  • Age Discrimination Act of 1975 (PL 94-135, 42 U.S. Code § 6101 at 45 CFR 91 and 7 CFR 15c) prohibits discrimination based on age in programs or activities receiving federal financial assistance.
  • The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PRWORA) (PL 104–193) and Department of Justice (DOJ) Memorandum dated January 28, 1999, entitled, “Policy Guidance Document -- Enforcement of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Related Statutes in Block Grant Type Programs” (28 CFR §§ 42.101-42.412 and 28 CFR 50.3)
  • Civil Rights Restoration Act of 1987 (PL 100-259) clarifies the intent of Congress as it relates to the scope of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, to ensure nondiscrimination in all programs and activities of a recipient, whether those programs and activities are federally funded or not.
  • The Food and Nutrition Act of 2008, as amended, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly the Food Stamp Program (7 USC § 2011 et seq. 7 CFR 271, 272, 273, and 276).  SNAP is designed to promote the general welfare and to safeguard the health and well-being of the nation’s population by raising the levels of nutrition of low-income households and families who meet the income, resource, and eligibility requirements as specified under the Act and corresponding regulations.  The Act prohibits discrimination against any applicant or participant in any aspect of program administration for reasons of race, color, sex, age, national origin, religious creed, political beliefs or disability and notes that, “(t)he administration of the program by a state agency shall be consistent with the rights of households under the following laws (including implementing regulations):  the Age Discrimination Act of 1975 (42 USC § 6101 et seq.); Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (29 USC § 794); The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (42 USC § 12101 et seq.) and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 USC § 2000d et seq.).
  • Departmental Regulation 4330-2, applies to all programs and activities receiving federal financial assistance from USDA, its agencies and instrumentalities, and to the processing of all complaint and compliance review investigations pertaining to those programs and activities.
  • Department of Justice Regulation for the Coordination of Enforcement of Nondiscrimination in Federally Assisted Programs under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (28 CFR 42.401).  This subpart is to be used in conjunction with the 1965 Attorney General Guidelines for Enforcement of Title VI at 28 CFR 50.3.
  • USDA Regulation 7 CFR Part 16, Equal Opportunity for Religious Organizations is the overarching regulation for religious organizations to participate in USDA assistance programs. This regulation sets forth USDA policy regarding equal opportunity for religious organizations to participate in USDA assistance programs for which other private organizations are eligible.
  • Departmental Regulation 4300-003, Equal Opportunity Public Notification Policy establishes the policy for ensuring positive and continuing notification of the USDA’s equal opportunity policy to the public and USDA employees. Additionally, this regulation enhances customer awareness of the USDA nondiscrimination policy and other pertinent information ensuring broad dissemination of the policy to the public. 
  • USDA Departmental Regulation 4300-004, Establishes the Civil Rights Impact Analysis (CRIA) policy and procedures for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s  employment, federally conducted and federally assisted programs and activities.
  • USDA Departmental Regulation 4120-0100, Annual Departmental Civil Rights Training establishes the civil rights training policy for USDA.
  • DOJ ADA Update: A Primer for State and Local Governments
  • Presidential Executive Order 13166 “Improving Access To Services For Persons With Limited English Proficiency” (Aug. 11, 2000) requires federal agencies to examine the services they provide, identify any need for services to those with limited English proficiency (LEP), and develop and implement a system to provide those services so LEP persons can have meaningful access to them.  The Executive Order also requires that the federal agencies work to ensure that recipients of federal financial assistance provide meaningful access to their LEP applicants and beneficiaries.
  • DOJ Guidance to Federal Financial Assistance Recipients Regarding Title VI Prohibition Against National Origin Discrimination Affecting Limited English Proficient Persons (67 FR No. 117, p. 41455-41472, June 18, 2002) (DOJ Recipient LEP Guidance).  The DOJ Recipient LEP Guidance is issued pursuant to Executive Order 13166 tilted “Improving Access To Services For Persons With Limited English Proficiency” (Aug. 11, 2000) and supplants existing guidance on the same subject originally published at 66 FR 3834 (Jan. 16, 2001). 
  • USDA Guidance to Federal Financial Assistance Recipients Regarding the Title VI Prohibition Against National Origin Discrimination Affecting Persons With Limited English Proficiency (79 FR No. 299, p. 70771-70784, Nov. 28, 2014).
  • USDA FNS Policy Memo SP 37-2016: Meaningful Access for Persons with Limited English Proficiency in the School Meal Programs: Guidance and Q&As (May 25, 2016).
  • Policy Guidance Regarding Inquiries Into Citizenship, Immigration Status and Social Security Numbers in State Applications for Medicaid, State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), and Food Stamp Benefits, (Tri-agency Guidance) Jan. 21, 2000.
  • USDA SNAP Guidance on Non-Citizen Eligibility, June 2011.
  • USDA SNAP Memorandum - Conforming to the Tri-Agency Guidance through Online Applications, Feb. 18, 2011.
  • USDA SNAP Bilingual Requirements at 7 CFR 272.4(b).
09/25/2013