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The Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) Office of Civil Rights ensures the non-discriminatory use of federal funds through oversight of grantee implementation of required civil rights regulations and policy. Compliance reviews are conducted to ensure conformity under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Program, the Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Program, and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. More information about each of the four programs administered by FTA’s Office of Civil Rights, as well as links to corresponding statutes and regulations, may be found by visiting the following website and selecting individual program links.
For the FTA Employment Practice Assessment for veteran hiring and promotions (Circular Section 2.2.6), use the Department of Labor definition for "eligible veteran" found at 38 U.S.C. Section 4211(4). It reads:
(4) The term ‘‘eligible veteran’’ means a person who—
(A) served on active duty for a period of more than 180 days and was discharged or released therefrom with other than a dishonorable discharge;
(B) was discharged or released from active duty because of a service-connected disability;
(C) as a member of a reserve component under an order to active duty pursuant to section 12301(a), (d), or (g), 12302, or 12304 of title 10, served on active duty during a period of war or in a campaign or expedition for which a campaign badge is authorized and was discharged or released from such duty with other than a dishonorable discharge; or
(D) was discharged or released from active duty by reason of a sole survivorship discharge (as that term is defined in section 1174(i) of title 10).
No. When a State DOT or a transit agency is counting transit-related employees, it does not count subrecipients or contractors for purposes of whether it meets the 50–99 or 100+ employees threshold. However, since subrecipients and contractors who meet the threshold are required to submit EEO Programs to the direct recipient transit agency, when a subrecipient or contractor counts transit-related employees for the threshold, it would include all transit-related employees who work for the subrecipient or contractor.
For the next EEO Program submission, because the submission schedule has been reset to accommodate the new four-year submission cycle, recipients will be submitting EEO Programs at differing amounts of time from the last EEO Program submission. To accommodate the various lengths of time since the previous EEO Program submissions, the Employment Practices tables should be for either the time since the last program submission, or the previous four years, whichever is shorter. For example, if a recipient submitted its last program in 2015, and FTA assigns its next submission date in 2018, it would submit for the period from 2015–2018. If the recipient submitted its last program in 2015 and FTA assigns its next submission date in 2020, it would submit for 2016–2020. After the 2018 and 2020 submission dates have passed, each recipient will follow a four-year submission cycle, and the Employment Practices tables will cover the full four years of the EEO Program period.
For the upcoming EEO Program submissions, which will be in 2018 or 2020, agencies should use a future four-year time period for the Goals and Timetables.
The following website contains links to finalized Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Compliance Review Reports, Letters of Finding, and links related to collaboration between the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and the Department of Justice (DOJ).
Only transit agencies and State DOTs that are direct recipients and that meet the two-prong threshold described in Circular section 1.4 are required to submit EEO Programs to FTA. The two-prong threshold for EEO Program submission is:
- Employs 100 or more transit-related employees, and
- Requests or receives capital or operating assistance in excess of $1 million in the previous Federal fiscal year, or requests or receives planning assistance in excess of $250,000 in the previous Federal fiscal year.
A direct recipient is an entity that receives Federal financial assistance directly from FTA.
In addition to the requirement to submit EEO Programs to FTA, a direct recipient is responsible for monitoring its subrecipients and contractors. Part of that responsibility is collecting and reviewing EEO Programs from subrecipients and contractors that meet the Section 1.4 two-prong threshold. The EEO Programs of subrecipients and contractors must be maintained by the direct recipient, as they may be requested by FTA at its discretion.
Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), paratransit functions as a “safety net” for persons whose disabilities prevent them from using the regular fixed route system (bus or rail). It is not intended to meet all of the transportation needs of all persons with disabilities, all of the time. As such, the level of service provided is required to be comparable to that available on the fixed route system; the hours and days of operation must be the same, and service must be provided to origins and destinations within three-fourths of a mile of a bus route (or between points within a three-fourths of a mile radius of different rail stations). There is no obligation to provide service to points beyond the service area, or during times of day or on days of the week when the comparable bus route or rail line is not operating. Of course, nothing in the ADA prohibits a transit system from operating service above and beyond the minimum ADA requirements. It is also important to note that while the term "paratransit" is often used to mean any kind of demand-responsive transportation service, it has a specific meaning under the ADA. The ADA paratransit eligibility criteria and service requirements apply only to paratransit operated as a complement to a fixed route system operated by a public entity; there are separate provisions covering demand-responsive service provided for the general public.
Included in Circular Section 2.2.3 are suggested topics for trainings that focus on the important aspects of a quality investigation. FTA does not require specific courses or training centers. It is up to the local agency to ensure that the trainings the EEO investigators take are sufficient to perform their required tasks as required by the Circular.
Oversight contractors will use the old Circular requirements for the FY 2017 Comprehensive and Specialized Reviews. FTA will not hold an entity to the updated Circular requirements until the FY 2018 reviews. However, if the oversight contractors find EEO deficiencies during the FY 2017 reviews (using the old Circular requirements), then FTA will tailor the requested corrective actions to align with the updated Circular requirements.