LEP Employment / Unemployment
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describes Federal and New York State legal protections and the
agencies responsible for enforcing and investigating employment
discrimination on the basis of national origin against persons
with limited English proficiency (LEP). New York also has additional
protections for Spanish-speaking individuals claiming unemployment
benefits at an administrative or Appeal Board hearing.
EEOC and Title VII
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is the Federal Agency charged with investigating employment discrimination claims under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC website can be found here in multiple languages.
Title VII protects workers from employment discrimination based on their race, color or national origin. In enacting the Title VII's prohibitions, Congress recognized that whether an individual's ancestry is Mexican, Ukrainian, Filipino, Arab, American Indian, or any other nationality, he or she is entitled to the same employment opportunities as anyone else.
Title VII's protections extend to all workers in the United States, whether born in the United States or abroad and regardless of citizenship status. Title VII articulates the national policy against national origin discrimination in the workplace, while also preserving an employer's freedom of choice to make sound business decisions.
Employment discrimination against a national origin group includes discrimination based on:
Department of Labor (DOL) LEP Guidance
The United States Department of Labor (DOL) issued guidance regarding persons with LEP which requires recipients of federal financial assistance to ensure meaningful access to their programs and activities by LEP persons pursuant to Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, its implementing regulations, and Section 188 of the Workforce Investment Act of 1998. A copy of the DOL LEP Guidance can be found here and in the resources below.
The guidance clarifies what the law already requires with respect to ensuring that information and services are accessible to LEP persons. Eligible LEP individuals must be able to access the full spectrum of services provided by recipients.
The purpose is “to assist recipients in fulfilling their responsibilities to provide meaningful access to LEP persons under existing law.” The DOL advises recipients that they are required by Title VI to take reasonable steps to provide meaningful access to federally assisted programs and activities by LEP persons through language assistance that is reasonable, timely, and effective.
State Workforce Agencies were required to disseminate the revised LEP guidance to all of their grantees and sub-grantees with instructions to disseminate it further. In addition, each state recipient of federal financial assistance was required to 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. A Copy of this notice can be found here.
Workforce Investment Act (WIA)
In September 2006, the DOL released an LEP Directive based on Section 188 of the (WIA) and a Language Assistance Planning and Self Assessment Tool. Both are available in the resources below.
New York Protections 4
New York State Division of Human Rights
The New York State Division of Human Rights (DHR) serves as an alternative to the court system for resolving discrimination claims under New York's Human Rights Law. DHR is responsible for investigating employment discrimination claims on the basis of national origin. The DHR website can be found at this link.
Unemployment Benefits for Spanish-speakers
As a result of the Consent Decree in the case of Barcia v. Sitkin 79 Civ. 5831(RLC); MLC v. Sitkin, 79 Civ. 5899(RLC), and the Stipulation and Order of February 18, 1997, the Hearing Section of the New York State Unemployment Insurance Appeal Board is required to provide bilingual services to Spanish-speaking claimants. The Consent Decree describes how:
The Appeal Board obligation is described in the Stipulation Agreement that if “a party who needs Spanish translator services is in New York State, schedule the hearing so that the ALJ or Board Member and the translator will be at a hearing site convenient to that party.” A copy of the Consent Decree and the 1997 Stipulation Agreement can be found below.
Federal Agency Documents
National Studies on LEP Workers
|Frequently Asked Questions|
|Executive Order 13166|
|DOJ LEP Guidance|
|Federal Agency Guidance|
|Food Stamp Program|
|Health Care Services|
|Legal Services and Attorneys|
|Other Group Data|
|Resources and Training|
|Language Access Guides|
|Language Access Training|
|Model LEP Plans|
|New York Resources|
Last Updated: August 11, 2008 ● Empire Justice Center © 2008