Equal Opportunity - Title VI

The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) is a direct recipient of Federal financial assistance. All recipients are required to comply with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title 23 CFR Part 200 and Title 49 CFR Part 21), as well as related statutes and regulations.

What is Title VI?

Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination based upon race, color, and national origin. Specifically, 42 USC 2000d states that "No person in the United States, shall, on the ground of race, color, or national origin, be excluded from participation in, denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance."

Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is the Federal law that protects individuals and groups from discrimination on the basis of their race, color, and national origin in programs and activities that receive Federal financial assistance. The Federal Highway Administration, Federal Transit Administration, Federal Aviation Administration and the Federal Railroad Administration each reference Title VI and other civil rights statutes and related authorities that prohibit discrimination in programs and activities receiving Federal financial assistance.

Title VI Discrimination Complaints Procedure

The Title VI Discrimination Complaints Procedure is a mechanism to resolve grievances, remedy discrimination and improve program delivery and services.And person/s who believes they have been subjected to unlawful discrimination (denied the benefits of, access to, or participation in the programs and activities of WSDOT) based on race, color, national origin, sex, age, disability, income or Limited English Proficiency in programs, activities, or services of WSDOT or organizations funded through WSDOT may file a complaint. The complaint may be filed by the individual or his/her representative. A complaint must be filed no later than 180 days after the date of the alleged discrimination, unless extended by WSDOT.

What does Title VI do?

  • Prohibits entities from denying a protected individual any service, financial aid, or other benefit under the covered programs and activities.
  • Prohibits entities from providing services or benefits to some individuals that are different from or inferior (in either quantity or quality) to those benefits provided to others.Prohibits segregation or separate treatment in any manner related to receiving program benefits or services.
  • Prohibits entities from imposing different standards or conditions as prerequisites for serving individuals.
  • Encourages the participation of minorities as members of planning or advisory bodies for programs receiving Federal funds.
  • Prohibits discriminatory activity in a facility built in whole or part with Federal funds.
  • Requires information and services to be provided in languages other than English when significant numbers of potential beneficiaries have limited English speaking ability.
  • Requires entities to notify the entire eligible population about programs.
  • Prohibits locating facilities in a way that would limit or impede access to a federally funded service or benefit.Requires assurance of nondiscrimination in the purchasing of services.

What "Programs or Activities" are covered by Title VI?

Title VI applies to discrimination throughout an agency, not just to actions involving the Federally assisted program. If an agency receives any Federal financial assistance for any program or activity, the entire agency is required to comply with Title VI, not just the particular program.

Who must comply?

  • State and local government agencies distributing Federal assistance
  • College, universities, or other post-secondary institutions
  • Local educational agencies or systems of vocational education, or other school systems
  • Entire corporations, partnerships, or other private organizations, or a sole proprietorship
  • Entire private organizations in education, housing, healthcare, etc.
  • Entire plant or private corporations or other organizations that are geographically separate facilities and to which Federal financial assistance is extended

Sub recipients/Contractors/Consultants/MPOs & Partners

Sub recipients of Federal funds that flow through WSDOT are required to designate a Title VI Coordinator to receive complaints of discrimination filed against their organization by the public.

The following Federal Laws and Executive Orders expand the Title VI nondiscrimination mandate:

The Civil Rights Restoration Act of 1987
This act clarified the definition of "programs and activities" covered by the nondiscrimination provisions of civil rights statutes. The revised definition states that discrimination is prohibited throughout an entire agency or institution, if any part of that agency receives Federal financial assistance.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
The ADA is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life, including jobs, school, transportation, and all public and private places that are open to the general public. The purpose of this law is to make sure people with disabilities have the same rights and opportunities as everyone else. The ADA has five titles that relate to different areas of public life.

Environmental Justice (EJ)
Executive Order 12898 seeks to avoid, minimize, or mitigate disproportionately high and adverse human health and environmental effects, including social and economic effects, on minority populations and low-income populations, and to ensure the full and fair participation by all potentially affected communities in the transportation decision-making process.

Limited English Proficiency (LEP)
Executive Order 13166 ensures individuals whose first language is not English and have a limited capacity to read, write or understand English are provided meaningful access to programs, information and services by any entity receiving Federal funding.