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Electronic Code of Federal Regulations

e-CFR Data is current as of December 17, 2014

Title 7Subtitle APart 15b → Subpart A


Title 7: Agriculture
PART 15b—NONDISCRIMINATION ON THE BASIS OF HANDICAP IN PROGRAMS OR ACTIVITIES RECEIVING FEDERAL FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE


Subpart A—General Provisions


Contents
§15b.1   Purpose.
§15b.2   Applicability.
§15b.3   Definitions.
§15b.4   Discrimination prohibited.
§15b.5   Assurances required.
§15b.6   Designation of responsible employee and adoption of grievance procedures.
§15b.7   Notice of nondiscrimination and accessible services.
§15b.8   Remedial action, voluntary action, and self-evaluation.
§15b.9   Effect of State or local law or other requirements, and effect of employment opportunities.
§15b.10   Effect of compliance with regulations of other Federal agencies.

§15b.1   Purpose.

The purpose of this part is to implement section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, to the end that no otherwise qualified handicapped individual in the United States shall solely by reason of his or her handicap be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.

§15b.2   Applicability.

This part applies to all programs or activities that receive Federal financial assistance extended by the Department of Agriculture after the effective date of this part whether or not the assistance was approved after the effective date. Subparts A, B, and C are of general applicability. Subparts D, E, and F are more specifically tailored. Subpart G is procedural.

[47 FR 25470, June 11, 1982, as amended at 55 FR 52139, Dec. 19, 1990; 68 FR 51342, Aug. 26, 2003]

§15b.3   Definitions.

As used in this part, the term or phrase:

(a) The Act means the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Public Law 93-112, 87 Stat. 390 (1973), as amended by the Rehabilitation Act Amendments of 1974, Public Law 93-651, 89 Stat. 2 (1974) and Public Law 93-516, 88 Stat. 1617 (1974) and the Rehabilitation, Comprehensive Services and Developmental Disabilities Amendments of 1978, Public Law 95-602, 92 Stat. 2955 (1978). The Act appears at 29 U.S.C. 701-794.

(b) Section 504 means section 504 of the Act, 29 U.S.C. 794.

(c) Education of the Handicapped Act means the Education of the Handicapped Act, Public Law 92-230, Title VI, 84 Stat. 175 (1970), as amended by the Education of the Handicapped Amendments of 1974, Public Law 93-380, Title VI, 88 Stat. 576 (1974), the Education for All Handicapped Children Act of 1975, Public Law 94-142, 89 Stat. 773 (1975), and the Education of the Handicapped Amendments of 1977, Public Law 95-49, 91 Stat. 230 (1977). The Education of the Handicapped Act appears at 20 U.S.C. 1401-1461.

(d) Department means the Department of Agriculture and includes each of its operating agencies and other organizational units.

(e) Secretary means the Secretary of Agriculture or any officer or employee of the Department to whom the Secretary has delegated or may delegate the authority to act under the regulations of this part.

(f) Recipient means any State or its political subdivision, any instrumentality of a State or its political subdivision, any public or private agency, institution, organization, or other entity, or any person to which Federal financial assistance is extended directly or through another recipient, including any successor, assignee, or transferee of a recipient, but excluding the ultimate beneficiary of the assistance.

(g) Federal financial assistance or assistance means any grant, contract (other than a procurement contract or a contract of insurance or guaranty), cooperative agreement, formula allocation, loan, or any other arrangement by which the Department provides or otherwise makes available assistance in the form of:

(1) Funds;

(2) Services of Federal personnel;

(3) Real and personal Federal property or any interest in Federal property, including:

(i) A sale, transfer, lease or use (on other than a casual or transient basis) of Federal property for less than fair market value, for reduced consideration or in recognition of the public nature of the recipient's program or activity; and

(ii) Proceeds from a subsequent sale, transfer or lease of Federal property if the Federal share of its fair market value is not returned to the Federal Government.

(4) Any other thing of value.

(h) Facility means all or any portion of buildings, structures, equipment, roads, walks, parking lots, or other real or personal property or interest in such property.

(i) Handicapped person means any person who has a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities, has a record of such an impairment, or is regarded as having such an impairment.

(j) Physical or mental impairment means (1) any physiological disorder or condition, cosmetic disfigurement, or anatomical loss affecting one or more of the following body systems: Neurological; musculoskeletal; special sense organs; respiratory, including speech organs; cardiovascular; reproductive; digestive; genitourinary; hemic and lymphatic; skin; and endocrine; or (2) any mental or psychological disorder, such as mental retardation, organic brain syndrome, emotional or mental illness, and specific learning disabilities. The term physical or mental impairment includes, but is not limited to, such diseases and conditions as orthopedic, visual, speech, and hearing impairments; cerebral palsy; epilepsy; muscular dystrophy; multiple sclerosis, cancer; heart disease; diabetes; mental retardation; emotional illness; and drug addiction and alcoholism.

(k) Major life activities means functions such as caring for one's self, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning and working.

(l) Has a record of such an impairment means has a history of, or has been misclassified as having, a mental or physical impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.

(m) Is regarded as having an impairment means (1) has a physical or mental impairment that does not substantially limit major life activities but that is treated by a recipient as constituting such a limitation; (2) has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits major life activities only as a result of the attitudes of others towards such impairments, or (3) has none of the impairments defined in paragraph (j) of this section but is treated by a recipient as having such an impairment.

(n) Qualified handicapped person (used synonymously with otherwise qualified handicapped individual) means:

(1) With respect to employment, a handicapped person who, with reasonable accommodation, can perform the essential functions of the job in question, but the term does not include any individual who is an alcoholic or drug abuser whose current use of alcohol or drugs prevents such individual from performing the duties of the job in question or whose employment, by reason of such current alcohol or drug abuse, would constitute a direct threat to property or the safety of others;

(2) With respect to public preschool, elementary, secondary, or adult educational services, a handicapped person, (i) of an age during which non-handicapped persons are provided such services, (ii) of an age during which it is mandatory under State law to provide such services to handicapped persons, or (iii) to whom a State is required to provide a free appropriate public education under section 612 of the Education of the Handicapped Act; and

(3) With respect to postsecondary and vocational education services, a handicapped person who meets all academic and technical standards requisite to admission or participation in the recipient's education program or activity;

(4) With respect to other services, a handicapped person who meets the essential eligibility requirements for the receipt of such services.

(o) Handicap means any condition or characteristic that renders a person a handicapped person as defined in paragraph (i) of this section.

(p) For purposes of §15b.18(d), Historic Preservation Programs are those that receive Federal financial assistance that has preservation of historic properties as a primary purpose.

(q) For purposes of §15b.18(e), Historic properties means those buildings or facilities that are eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places, or such properties designated as historic under a statute of the appropriate State or local government body.

(r) For purposes of §15b.18(d), Substantial impairment means a significant loss of the integrity of finished materials, design quality or special character which loss results from a permanent alteration.

(s) Program or activity means all of the operations of any entity described in paragraphs (s)(1) through (4) of this section, any part of which is extended Federal financial assistance:

(1)(i) A department, agency, special purpose district, or other instrumentality of a State or of a local government; or

(ii) The entity of such State or local government that distributes such assistance and each such department or agency (and each other State or local government entity) to which the assistance is extended, in the case of assistance to a State or local government;

(2)(i) A college, university, or other postsecondary institution, or a public system of higher education; or

(ii) A local educational agency (as defined in 20 U.S.C. 7801), system of vocational education, or other school system;

(3)(i) An entire corporation, partnership, or other private organization, or an entire sole proprietorship—

(A) If assistance is extended to such corporation, partnership, private organization, or sole proprietorship as a whole; or

(B) Which is principally engaged in the business of providing education, health care, housing, social services, or parks and recreation; or

(ii) The entire plant or other comparable, geographically separate facility to which Federal financial assistance is extended, in the case of any other corporation, partnership, private organization, or sole proprietorship; or

(4) Any other entity which is established by two or more of the entities described in paragraph (s)(1), (2), or (3) of this section.

[47 FR 25470, June 11, 1982, as amended at 55 FR 52139, Dec. 19, 1990; 68 FR 51342, Aug. 26, 2003]

§15b.4   Discrimination prohibited.

(a) General. No qualified handicapped person shall, on the basis of handicap, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or otherwise be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving assistance from this Department.

(b) Discriminatory actions prohibited. (1) A recipient, in providing any aid, benefit or service, may not, directly or through contractual, licensing, or other arrangements, on the basis of handicap:

(i) Deny a qualified handicapped person the opportunity to participate in or benefit from the aid, benefit or services;

(ii) Afford a qualified handicapped person an opportunity to participate in or benefit from the aid, benefit or services that is not equal to that afforded others;

(iii) Provide a qualified handicapped person with an aid, benefit or service that is not as effective in affording equal opportunity to obtain the same result, to gain the same benefit or to reach the same level of achievement in the most integrated setting appropriate as that provided to others;

(iv) Provide a different or separate aid, benefit or service to handicapped persons or to any class of handicapped persons unless such action is necessary to provide qualified handicapped persons with an aid, benefit or service that are as effective as those provided to others;

(v) Aid or perpetuate discrimination against a qualified handicapped person by providing significant assistance to an agency, organization, or person that discriminates on the basis of handicap in providing any aid, benefit or service to beneficiaries of the recipient's program or activity;

(vi) Deny a qualified handicapped person the opportunity to participate as a member of planning or advisory boards; or

(vii) Otherwise limit a qualified handicapped person in the enjoyment of any rights, privilege, advantage, or opportunity enjoyed by others receiving an aid, benefit or service.

(2) For purposes of this part, aids, benefits and services, to be equally effective, are not required to produce the identical result or level of achievement for handicapped and nonhandicapped persons, but must afford handicapped persons equal opportunity to obtain the same result, to gain the same benefit, or to reach the same level of achievement, in the most integrated setting appropriate to the person's needs.

(3) Despite the existence of separate or different aid, benefits, or services provided in accordance with this part, a recipient may not deny a qualified handicapped person the opportunity to participate in such programs or activities that are not separate or different.

(4) A recipient may not, directly or through contractual or other arrangements, utilize criteria or methods of administration (i) that have the effect of subjecting qualified handicapped persons to discrimination on the basis of handicap, (ii) that have the purpose or effect of defeating or substantially impairing accomplishment of the objectives of the recipient's program or activity with respect to handicapped persons, or (iii) that perpetuate the discrimination of another recipient if both recipients are subject to common administrative control or are agencies of the same State.

(5) In determining the site or location of a facility, an applicant for assistance or a recipient may not make selections (i) that have the effect of excluding handicapped persons, from denying them the benefits of, or otherwise subjecting them to discrimination under any program or activity that receives Federal financial assistance or (ii) that have the purpose or effect of defeating or substantially impairing the accomplishment of the objectives of the program or activity with respect to handicapped persons.

(6) As used in this section, an aid, benefit or service provided under a program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance includes any aid, benefit or service provided in or through a facility that has been constructed, expanded, altered, leased or rented, or otherwise acquired, in whole or in part, with Federal financial assistance.

(c) Aid, benefits, or services limited by Federal law. The exclusion of nonhandicapped persons from aid, benefits, or services limited by Federal statute or executive order to handicapped persons or the exclusion of a specific class of handicapped persons from aid, benefits, or services limited by Federal statute or executive order to a different class of handicapped persons is not prohibited by this part.

(d) Communications. Recipients shall take appropriate steps to ensure that communications with their applicants, employees, and beneficiaries are available to persons with impaired vision and hearing.

[47 FR 25470, June 11, 1982, as amended at 68 FR 51342, Aug. 26, 2003]

§15b.5   Assurances required.

(a) Assurances. An applicant for Federal financial assistance to which this part applies shall submit an assurance, on a form specified by the Secretary, that the program or activity will be operated in compliance with this part. An applicant may incorporate these assurances by reference in subsequent applications to the Department.

(b) Duration of obligation. (1) In the case of Federal financial assistance extended in the form of real property or to provide real property or structures on the property, the assurance will obligate the recipient, or, in the case of a subsequent transfer, the transferee, for the period during which the real property or structures are used for the purpose for which Federal financial assistance is extended or for another purpose involving the provision of similar services or benefits.

(2) In the case of Federal financial assistance extended to provide personal property, the assurance will obligate the recipient for the period during which it retains ownership or possession of the property.

(3) In all other cases, the assurance will obligate the recipient for the period during which Federal financial assistance is extended.

(c) Covenants. (1) Where Federal financial assistance is provided in the form of real property or interest in the property from the Department, the instrument effecting or recording this transfer shall contain a covenant running with the land to assure nondiscrimination for the period during which the real property is used for the purpose for which the Federal financial assistance is extended or for another purpose involving the provision of similar services or benefits.

(2) Where no transfer of property is involved but property is purchased or improved with Federal financial assistance, the recipient shall agree to include the covenant described in paragraph (c)(1) of this section in the instrument effecting or recording any subsequent transfer of the property.

(3) Where Federal financial assistance is provided in the form of real property or interest in the property from the Department, the covenant shall also include a condition coupled with a right to be reserved by the Department to revert title to the property in the event of a breach of the covenant. If a transferee of real property proposes to mortgage or otherwise encumber the real property as security for financing construction of new, or improvement of existing, facilities on the property for the purposes for which the property was transferred, the Secretary may, upon request of the transferee and if necessary to accomplish such financing and upon such conditions as the Secretary deems appropriate, agree to forebear the exercise of such right to revert title for so long as the lien of such mortgage or other encumbrance remains effective.

[47 FR 25470, June 11, 1982, as amended at 68 FR 51342, Aug. 26, 2003]

§15b.6   Designation of responsible employee and adoption of grievance procedures.

(a) Designation of responsible employee. A recipient that employs fifteen or more persons shall designate at least one person to coordinate its efforts to comply with this part.

(b) Adoption of grievance procedures. A recipient that employs fifteen or more persons shall adopt grievance procedures that incorporate appropriate due process standards and that provide for the prompt and equitable resolution of complaints alleging any action prohibited by this part. Such procedures need not be established with respect to complaints from applicants for employment or from applicants for admission to postsecondary educational institutions.

(c) The Secretary may require any recipient with fewer than fifteen employees to designate a responsible employee and adopt grievance procedures when the Secretary finds a violation of this part or finds that complying with these administrative requirements will not significantly impair the ability of the recipient to provide benefits or services.

§15b.7   Notice of nondiscrimination and accessible services.

(a) A recipient shall take appropriate initial and continuing steps to notify participants, beneficiaries, applicants, and employees, including those with impaired vision or hearing, and unions or professional organizations holding collective bargaining or professional agreements with the recipient that it does not discriminate on the basis of handicap in violation of section 504 and this part. The notification shall state, where appropriate, that the recipient does not discriminate in admission or access to, or treatment or employment in, its programs or activities. The recipient shall also identify the responsible employee designated pursuant to §15b.6(a), and identify the existence and location of accessible services, activities, and facilities. A recipient shall make the initial notification required by this paragraph within 90 days of the effective date of this part. Methods of initial and continuing notification may include but are not limited to the posting of notices, placement of notices in the recipient's publications, radio announcements, and the use of other visual and aural media.

(b) If a recipient publishes or uses recruitment materials or publications containing general information that it makes available to participants, beneficiaries, applicants or employees, it shall include in those materials or publications a statement of the policy described in paragraph (a) of this section. A recipient may meet the requirement of this paragraph either by including appropriate inserts in existing materials and publications or by revising and reprinting the materials and publications.

[47 FR 25470, June 11, 1982, as amended at 68 FR 51342, Aug. 26, 2003]

§15b.8   Remedial action, voluntary action, and self-evaluation.

(a) Remedial action. (1) If the Secretary finds that a recipient has discriminated against persons on the basis of handicap in violation of section 504 or this part, the recipient shall take such remedial action as the Secretary deems necessary to overcome the effects of the discrimination.

(2) Where a recipient is found to have discriminated against persons on the basis of handicap in violation of section 504 or this part and where another recipient exercises control over the recipient that has discriminated, the Secretary, where appropriate, may require either or both recipients to take remedial action.

(3) The Secretary may, where necessary to overcome the effects of discrimination in violation of section 504 or this part, require a recipient to take remedial action (i) with respect to handicapped persons who are no longer participants in the recipient's program or activity but who were participants in the program when such discrimination occurred or (ii) with respect to handicapped persons who would have been participants in the program or activity had the discrimination not occurred, or (iii) with respect to handicapped persons presently in the program or activity, but not receiving full benefits or equal and integrated treatment within the program.

(b) Voluntary action. A recipient may take steps, in addition to any action that is required by this part, to overcome the effects of conditions that resulted in limited participation in the recipient's program or activity by qualified handicapped persons.

(c) Self-evaluation. (1) A recipient shall, within one year of the effective date of this part:

(i) Evaluate, with the assistance of interested persons, including handicapped persons or organizations representing handicapped persons, its current policies and practices and the effects thereof that do not or may not meet the requirements of this part.

(ii) Modify, after consultation with interested persons, including handicapped persons or organizations representing handicapped persons, any policies and practices that do not meet the requirements of this part; and

(iii) Take, after consultation with interested persons, including handicapped persons or organizations representing handicapped persons, appropriate remedial steps to eliminate the effects of any discrimination that resulted from adherence to these policies and practices.

(2) A recipient shall, for at least three years following completion of the evaluation required under paragraph (c)(1) of this section, maintain on file, make available for public inspection, and provide to the Secretary upon request: (i) A list of the interested persons consulted, (ii) a description of areas examined and any problems identified, and (iii) a description of any modifications made and of any remedial steps taken.

[47 FR 25470, June 11, 1982, as amended at 68 FR 51342, Aug. 26, 2003]

§15b.9   Effect of State or local law or other requirements, and effect of employment opportunities.

(a) The obligation to comply with this part is not obviated or alleviated by the existence of any State or local law or other requirement that, on the basis of handicap, imposes prohibitions or limits upon the eligibility of qualified handicapped persons to receive services or to practice any occupation or profession.

(b) The obligation to comply with this part is not obviated or alleviated because employment opportunities in any occupation or profession are or may be more limited for handicapped persons than for nonhandicapped persons.

§15b.10   Effect of compliance with regulations of other Federal agencies.

A recipient that has designated a responsible official and established a grievance procedure, provided notice, completed a self-evaluation, or prepared a transition plan in the course of complying with regulations issued by other Federal agencies under section 504 will be in compliance with §15b.6, §15b.7, §15b.8(c), or §15b.18(f), respectively, if all requirements of those sections have been met in regard to programs or activities assisted by this Department.

[47 FR 25470, June 11, 1982, as amended at 68 FR 51342, Aug. 26, 2003]



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