EMPLOYMENT AND TRAINING ADMINISTRATION
ADVISORY SYSTEM
U.S. Department of Labor
Washington, D. C. 20210

CLASSIFICATION

LEP

CORRESPONDENCE SYMBOL

OPDER

ISSUE DATE

May 29, 2003

RESCISSIONS

None

EXPIRATION DATE

Continuing

ADVISORY

:

TRAINING AND EMPLOYMENT GUIDANCE LETTER NO. 26-02

 

TO

:

ALL STATE WORKFORCE LIASONS
ALL STATE WORKFORCE AGENCIES

 

FROM

:

EMILY STOVER DeROCCO
Assistant Secretary

 

SUBJECT

:

Publication of Revised Guidance Regarding the Title VI Prohibition Against National Origin Discrimination Affecting Limited English Proficient (LEP) Persons

 

  1. Purpose. To announce the issuance of the U.S. Department of Labor's Revised Guidance to Federal Financial Assistance Recipients Regarding the Title VI Prohibition Against National Origin Discrimination Affecting Limited English Proficient Persons.

  2. Background. On January 17, 2001, the U.S. Department of Labor issued guidance regarding the responsibilities of recipients of federal financial assistance in serving persons with limited English proficiency. This guidance was published pursuant to Executive Order 13166, the requirements of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VI), its implementing regulations, and Section 188 of the Workforce Investment Act of 1998.

    Based upon the public comments received in response to the January 17, 2001 guidance and further instructions from the Department of Justice, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) is now publishing revised guidance. The revised guidance is attached and will also be available on the Web at www.lep.gov and at www.dol.gov/oasam/programs/crc/complianceassis.htm. The guidance does not create new obligations. It clarifies standards consistent with case law and well-established legal principles developed under Title VI.

    The policy guidance reiterates DOL's longstanding position that in order to avoid discrimination against LEP persons on the grounds of national origin, recipients must take reasonable steps to ensure that such persons receive, free of charge, the language assistance necessary to afford them meaningful access to the programs, services, and information those recipients provide. DOL will continue to provide technical assistance to any recipient seeking to ensure that it operates an effective language assistance program. DOL also intends to make tools and resources available to its stakeholders to help them comply with Title VI and Section 188, in ways that are cost effective.

    It is important to note that while all recipients must ensure meaningful access for LEP individuals, DOL acknowledges that the implementation of a comprehensive system to service LEP individuals is an evolving process that will improve over time, as it is developed, implemented, and periodically reevaluated.
  3. Submission of Comments. While the revised guidance is effective immediately, comments may be submitted within 30 days of the Federal Register publication date. Please see the specific instructions contained in the revised guidance. DOL will review all comments and will determine what modifications to the guidance, if any, are necessary.

  4. Dissemination of the Revised Guidance and Technical Assistance.  Responsibility for informing the Workforce Investment System about LEP requirements and for providing technical assistance rests jointly with the U.S. Department of Labor's Civil Rights Center (CRC) and the Employment and Training Administration (ETA). The CRC is available to provide technical assistance, including training, to recipients of federal financial assistance to ensure compliance with Title VI and Section 188, and will work with ETA to provide stakeholders with tools to develop and implement meaningful service delivery systems for LEP persons. ETA has created a Language Access Steering Committee that has been studying practical solutions that will enable ETA and its stakeholders to accomplish their responsibilities in the most cost-effective manner possible.

    The Language Access Steering Committee will act as a clearinghouse for information and best practices. If you have documents, ideas or expertise that you would like to contribute to this effort, please e-mail the Language Access Steering Committee at language.access@dol.gov.

    ETA anticipates issuing a Technical Assistance Guide (TAG) on Services to Limited English Proficient Persons before the end of the calendar year. The TAG will bring together in one document, the experiences and promising practices of our grantees. Documents and translations related to LEP service delivery will also be included and many will be accessible in an electronic format. ETA also intends to provide opportunities for discussing promising practices at Workforce Innovations 2003 (http://www.workforceinnovations.org) and at other regional and national conferences. ETA also plans to develop a Peer Expert Directory by the end of the calendar year. In the interim, many useful technical assistance tools can be found on the Website of the Interagency Working Group on LEP (www.lep.gov). A particularly valuable tool is the “Language Assistance Self-Assessment and Planning Tool for Recipients of Federal Financial Assistance.” It can be found at http://www.lep.gov/selfassesstool.htm.

    During August 13-15, 2003, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Civil Rights Center will host the 14th Annual National Equal Opportunity Conference. The general plenary session will focus on the Department's LEP guidance. Invited presenters include officials from the U.S. Department of Labor, U.S. Department of Justice, and National Association of State Workforce Agencies. There will also be numerous panel presentations highlighting strategies for developing, improving, and implementing programs that ensure meaningful access for LEP persons. More information can be found at the following Web site: http://www.dol.gov/oasam/programs/crc/2003conference.htm

  5. Action Required. State Workforce Agencies are requested to disseminate this revised guidance to all of their grantees and sub-grantees with instructions to disseminate it further. In addition, each recipient of federal financial assistance must take reasonable steps to ensure LEP persons receive, free of charge, the language assistance necessary to afford them meaningful access to their programs, services, and information. Any comments on the Federal Register publication must be submitted by June 30, 2003.

  6. Inquiries.  For further information contact your ETA Regional Office.

  7. Attachment. Revised Guidance Regarding the Title VI Prohibition Against National Origin Discrimination Affecting Limited English Profivient (LEP) Persons

http://a257.g.akamaitech.net/7/257/2422/14mar20010800/edocket.access.gpo.gov/2003/pdf/03-13125.pdf