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Civil Rights

Title VI of The Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Additional Nondiscrimination Requirements


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, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”  The use of the word “person” is important as the protections afforded under Title VI apply to anyone, regardless of whether the individual is lawfully present in the United States or a citizen of a State within the United States.  In addition to Title VI, there are other Nondiscrimination statutes that afford legal protection.  These statutes include the following: Section 162 (a) of the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1973 (23 USC 324) (sex), Age Discrimination Act of 1975 (age), and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973/Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990 (disability).  Taken together, these requirements define an over-arching Title VI/Nondiscrimination Program. It is important to also understand that Title VI and the additional Nondiscrimination requirements are applicable to Federal programs in addition to programs receiving federal financial assistance due to the Civil Rights Restoration Act of 1987.

Executive Orders

There are two Presidential Executive Orders that place further emphasis upon the Title VI protections of race and national origin.  These are Executive Order #12898 (“Federal Actions to Address Environmental Justice in Minority Populations and Low-Income Populations”) and Executive Order #13166 (“Improving Access To Services For Persons With Limited English Proficiency”).  Executive Order #12898 (Environmental Justice) directs federal agencies to develop strategies to address disproportionately high and adverse human health or environmental effects of their programs on minority and low-income populations.  Executive Order # 13166 (Limited-English-Proficiency) directs federal agencies to evaluate services provided and implement a system that ensures that Limited English Proficiency persons are able to meaningfully access the services provided consistent with and without unduly burdening the fundamental mission of each federal agency.  Additionally, each federal agency shall ensure that recipients of federal financial assistance provide meaningful access to their Limited-English-Proficiency applicants and beneficiaries.  Please note that while an Executive Order has the force of law, a lawsuit may not be brought under an Executive Order.

United States Department Of Justice

The United States Department of Justice under Executive Order #12250 (“Leadership and Coordination of Nondiscrimination Laws”) has been directed to ensure the consistent and effective implementation of Title VI and other Nondiscrimination requirements (including Environmental Justice and Limited English Proficiency) by prohibiting discriminatory practices in Federal programs and programs receiving federal financial assistance.  Under the USDOJ’s Civil Rights Division, the Federal Compliance and Coordination Section (FCS) is responsible for providing assistance and oversight to the Civil Rights Offices of federal Agencies.  The USDOJ’s FCS has the following responsibilities: Development of Guidance Documents; Offer two-day Title VI Training Course; Provide Technical Assistance; Exercises Clearance Authority (review and clear certain federal agency documents); Referrals for Litigation; Reviews Implementation Plans; Coordination and Clearinghouse.  Upon request, FHWA submits EO 12250 Reports detailing statistical data from Title VI/EJ/LEP and Section 504/ADA Programs regarding such topics as Complaints, Pre- & Post- Awards, Technical Assistance, Training, and Compliance/Monitoring Efforts. 

General FHWA Responsibilities

FHWA Division Offices are responsible for ensuring that all Recipients (State Transportation Agencies) have an approved Title VI/Nondiscrimination Plan (including signed Title VI/Nondiscrimination Assurances/Agreements) and submit Annual Update Reports.  Additionally, the Division Offices are responsible for ensuring that the State Transportation Agencies are implementing an effective Monitoring Program of their Subrecipients’ efforts to effectively implement Title VI and the additional Nondiscrimination requirements.  FHWA’s National Title VI/Nondiscrimination Program Manager is responsible for coordinating the effectiveness of FHWA’s monitoring activities and will partner with other Federal Program Offices and USDOT Modal Agencies (as appropriate) to address opportunities for improved implementation of the Title VI/Nondiscrimination Program.



Useful Links


Nichole McWhorter
Title VI Program Team Leader
(202) 366-1396

Kevin Resler
National Title VI Program Coordinator

Page last modified on June 29, 2017
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