About GPO   |   Newsroom/Media   |   Congressional Relations   |   Inspector General   |   Careers   |   Contact   |   askGPO   |   Help  
 
Home   |   Customers   |   Vendors   |   Libraries  

The Electronic Code of Federal Regulations (e-CFR) is a regularly updated, unofficial editorial compilation of CFR material and Federal Register amendments produced by the National Archives and Records Administration's Office of the Federal Register (OFR) and the Government Printing Office.

Parallel Table of Authorities and Rules for the Code of Federal Regulations and the United States Code
Text | PDF

Find, review, and submit comments on Federal rules that are open for comment and published in the Federal Register using Regulations.gov.

Purchase individual CFR titles from the U.S. Government Online Bookstore.

Find issues of the CFR (including issues prior to 1996) at a local Federal depository library.

[1]
 
 

Electronic Code of Federal Regulations

e-CFR Data is current as of August 26, 2014

Title 6Chapter I → Part 15


Title 6: Domestic Security


PART 15—ENFORCEMENT OF NONDISCRIMINATION ON THE BASIS OF DISABILITY IN PROGRAMS OR ACTIVITIES CONDUCTED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY


Contents
§15.1   Purpose.
§15.2   Application.
§15.3   Definitions.
§15.10   Self-evaluation.
§15.11   Notice.
§15.30   General prohibitions against discrimination.
§15.40   Employment.
§15.49   Program accessibility; discrimination prohibited.
§15.50   Program accessibility; existing facilities.
§15.51   Program accessibility; new construction and alterations.
§15.60   Communications.
§15.70   Compliance procedures.

Authority: Pub. L. 107-296, 116 Stat. 2135 (6 U.S.C. 1 et seq.); 5 U.S.C. 301; 29 U.S.C. 794.

Source: 68 FR 10886, Mar. 6, 2003, unless otherwise noted.

§15.1   Purpose.

The purpose of this part is to effectuate section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (“Section 504”), as amended by section 119 of the Rehabilitation, Comprehensive Services, and Developmental Disabilities Amendments of 1978, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in programs or activities conducted by Executive agencies. The provisions established by this part shall be effective for all components of the Department, including all Department components that are transferred to the Department, except to the extent that a Department component already has existing section 504 regulations.

§15.2   Application.

This part applies to all programs or activities conducted by the Department of Homeland Security (Department), except for programs or activities conducted outside the United States that do not involve individuals with a disability in the United States.

§15.3   Definitions.

For purposes of this part:

(a) Auxiliary aids means services or devices that enable persons with impaired sensory, manual, or speaking skills to have an equal opportunity to participate in, and enjoy the benefits of, programs or activities conducted by the Department. For example, auxiliary aids useful for persons with impaired vision include readers, materials in Braille, audio recordings and other similar services and devices. Auxiliary aids useful for persons with impaired hearing include telephone handset amplifiers, telephones compatible with hearing aids, telecommunications devices for deaf persons (TTYs), interpreters, notetakers, written materials and other similar services and devices.

(b) Complete complaint means a written statement that contains the complainant's name and address, and describes the Department's alleged discriminatory action in sufficient detail to inform the Department of the nature and date of the alleged violation of section 504. It shall be signed by the complainant or by someone authorized to do so on his or her behalf. Complaints filed on behalf of classes of individuals with disabilities shall also identify (where possible) the alleged victims of discrimination.

(c) Facility means all or any portion of a building, structure, equipment, road, walk, parking lot, rolling stock, or other conveyance, or other real or personal property.

(d) Individual with a disability means any person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the individual's major life activities, has a record of such an impairment, or is regarded as having such an impairment. For purposes of this definition:

(1) Physical or mental impairment includes:

(i) 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

(ii) 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, drug addiction and alcoholism.

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

(3) 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 of the individual's major life activities.

(4) Is regarded as having an impairment means:

(i) Has a physical or mental impairment that does not substantially limit major life activities but is treated by the Department as constituting such a limitation;

(ii) Has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits major life activities only as a result of the attitudes of others toward such impairment; or

(iii) Has none of the impairments defined in paragraph (e)(1) of this section but is treated by the Department as having such an impairment.

(e) Qualified individual with a disability means:

(1) With respect to a Department program or activity under which a person is required to perform services or to achieve a level of accomplishment, an individual with a disability who meets the essential eligibility requirements and who can achieve the purpose of the program or activity without modifications in the program or activity that the Department can demonstrate would result in a fundamental alteration in the nature of the program; and

(2) With respect to any other program or activity, an individual with a disability who meets the essential eligibility requirements for participation in, or receipt of benefits from, that program or activity.

(3) With respect to employment, an individual with a disability who satisfies the requisite skill, experience, education and other job-related requirements of the employment position such individual holds or desires, and who, with or without reasonable accommodation, can perform the essential functions of such position.

(f) Section 504 means section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (29 U.S.C. 794), as amended. As used in this part, section 504 applies only to programs or activities conducted by Executive agencies and not to federally assisted programs.

§15.10   Self-evaluation.

(a) Except as provided in paragraph (d) of this section, the Department shall, not later than March 7, 2005, evaluate its current policies and practices, and the effects thereof, to determine if they meet the requirements of this part. To the extent modification of any such policy and practice is required, the Department shall proceed to make the necessary modifications.

(b) The Department shall provide an opportunity to interested persons, including individuals with a disability or organizations representing individuals with disabilities, to participate in the self-evaluation process.

(c) The Department shall, until three years following the completion of the self-evaluation, maintain on file and make available for public inspection:

(1) A description of areas examined and any problems identified;

(2) A description of any modifications made; and

(3) A list of participants in the self-evaluation process.

(d) If a component within the Department has already complied with the self-evaluation requirement of a regulation implementing section 504, then the requirements of this section shall apply to only those programs and activities conducted by that component that were not included in the previous self-evaluation.

§15.11   Notice.

The Department shall make available to all Department employees and interested persons information regarding the provisions of this part and its applicability to the programs or activities conducted by the Department, and make such information available to them in such a manner as is necessary to apprise them of the protections against discrimination assured them by section 504 and this part.

§15.30   General prohibitions against discrimination.

(a) No qualified individual with a disability in the United States, shall, by reason of his or her disability, be excluded from the participation in, be denied benefits of, or otherwise be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity conducted by the Department.

(b)(1) The Department, in providing any aid, benefit, or service, may not directly or through contractual, licensing, or other arrangements, on the basis of disability:

(i) Deny a qualified individual with a disability the opportunity to participate in or benefit from the aid, benefit, or service;

(ii) Afford a qualified individual with a disability an opportunity to participate in or benefit from the aid, benefit, or service that is not equal to that afforded others;

(iii) Provide a qualified individual with a disability 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 as that provided to others;

(iv) Provide different or separate aid, benefits or services to individuals with a disability or to any class of individuals with a disability than is provided to others unless such action is necessary to provide qualified individuals with a disability with aid, benefits or services that are as effective as those provided to others;

(v) Deny a qualified individual with a disability the opportunity to participate as a member of planning or advisory boards; or

(vi) Otherwise limit a qualified individual with a disability in the enjoyment of any right, privilege, advantage, or opportunity enjoyed by others receiving the 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 individuals with a disability and for nondisabled persons, but must afford individuals with a disability 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 individual's needs.

(3) Even if the Department is permitted, under paragraph (b)(1)(iv) of this section, to operate a separate or different program for individuals with a disability or for any class of individuals with a disability, the Department must permit any qualified individual with a disability who wishes to participate in the program that is not separate or different to do so.

(4) The Department may not, directly or through contractual or other arrangements, utilize criteria or methods of administration the purpose or effect of which would:

(i) Subject qualified individuals with a disability to discrimination on the basis of disability; or

(ii) Defeat or substantially impair accomplishment of the objectives of a program or activity with respect to individuals with a disability.

(5) The Department may not, in determining the site or location of a facility, make selections the purpose or effect of which would:

(i) Exclude individuals with a disability from, deny them the benefits of, or otherwise subject them to discrimination under any program or activity conducted by the Department; or

(ii) Defeat or substantially impair the accomplishment of the objectives of a program or activity with respect to individuals with a disability.

(6) The Department, in the selection of procurement contractors, may not use criteria that subject qualified individuals with a disability to discrimination on the basis of disability.

(7) The Department may not administer a licensing or certification program in a manner that subjects qualified individuals with a disability to discrimination on the basis of disability, nor may the Department establish requirements for the programs or activities of licensees or certified entities that subject qualified individuals with a disability to discrimination on the basis of disability. However, the programs or activities of entities that are licensed or certified by the Department are not, themselves, covered by this part.

(c) The exclusion of nondisabled persons from the benefits of a program limited by Federal statute or Executive order to individuals with a disability or the exclusion of a specific class of individuals with a disability from a program limited by Federal statute or Executive order to a different class of individuals with a disability is not prohibited by this part.

(d) The Department shall administer programs and activities in the most integrated setting appropriate to the needs of qualified individuals with a disability.

§15.40   Employment.

No qualified individual with a disability shall, on the basis of that disability, be subjected to discrimination in employment under any program or activity conducted by the Department. The definitions, requirements and procedures of section 501 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (29 U.S.C. 791), as established by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in 29 CFR part 1614, shall apply to employment of Federally conducted programs or activities.

§15.49   Program accessibility; discrimination prohibited.

Except as otherwise provided in §15.50, no qualified individual with a disability shall, because the Department's facilities are inaccessible to or unusable by individuals with a disability, be denied the benefits of, be excluded from participation in, or otherwise be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity conducted by the Department.

§15.50   Program accessibility; existing facilities.

(a) General. The Department shall operate each program or activity so that the program or activity, when viewed in its entirety, is readily accessible to and usable by individuals with a disability. This paragraph (a) does not require the Department:

(1) To make structural alterations in each of its existing facilities in order to make them accessible to and usable by individuals with a disability where other methods are effective in achieving compliance with this section; or

(2) To take any action that it can demonstrate would result in a fundamental alteration in the nature of a program or activity or in undue financial and administrative burdens. In those circumstances where Department personnel believe that the proposed action would fundamentally alter the program or activity or would result in undue financial and administrative burdens, the Department has the burden of proving that compliance with this paragraph (a) of this section would result in such alteration or burdens. The decision that compliance would result in such alteration or burdens must be made by the Secretary of Homeland Security (or his or her designee) after considering all agency resources available for use in the funding and operation of the conducted program or activity and must be accompanied by a written statement of the reasons for reaching that conclusion. If an action would result in such an alteration or such burdens, the Department shall take any other action that would not result in such an alteration or such burdens but would nevertheless ensure that individuals with a disability receive the benefits and services of the program or activity.

(b) Methods. The Department may comply with the requirements of this section through such means as redesign of equipment, reassignment of services to accessible buildings, assignment of aides to beneficiaries, home visits, delivery of services at alternate accessible sites, alteration of existing facilities and construction of new facilities, use of accessible rolling stock, or any other methods that result in making its programs or activities readily accessible to and usable by individuals with a disability. The Department, in making alterations to existing buildings, shall meet accessibility requirements to the extent required by the Architectural Barriers Act of 1968, as amended (42 U.S.C. 4151-4157), and any regulations implementing it. In choosing among available methods for meeting the requirements of this section, the Department shall give priority to those methods that offer programs and activities to qualified individuals with a disability in the most integrated setting appropriate.

(c) Time period for compliance. The Department shall comply with the obligations established under this section not later than May 5, 2003, except that where structural changes in facilities are undertaken, such changes shall be made not later than March 6, 2006, but in any event as expeditiously as possible. If a component within the Department has already complied with the accessibility requirements of a regulation implementing section 504, then the provisions of this paragraph shall apply only to facilities for that agency's programs and activities that were not previously made readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities in compliance with that regulation.

(d) Transition plan. In the event that structural changes to facilities will be undertaken to achieve program accessibility, the Department shall develop not later than September 8, 2003, a transition plan setting forth the steps necessary to complete such changes. The Department shall provide an opportunity to interested persons, including individuals with disabilities or organizations representing individuals with disabilities, to participate in the development of the transition plan by submitting comments (both telephonic and written). A copy of the transition plan shall be made available for public inspection. If a component of the Department has already complied with the transition plan requirement of a regulation implementing section 504, then the requirements of this paragraph shall apply only to the agency's facilities for programs and activities that were not included in the previous transition plan. The plan shall at a minimum:

(1) Identify physical obstacles in the Department's facilities that limit the physical accessibility of its programs or activities to individuals with disabilities;

(2) Describe in detail the methods that will be used to make the facilities accessible;

(3) Specify the schedule for taking the steps necessary to achieve compliance with this section and, if the time period of the transition plan is longer than one year, identify steps that will be taken during each year of the transition period; and

(4) Indicate the official responsible for implementation of the plan.

§15.51   Program accessibility; new construction and alterations.

Each building or part of a building that is constructed or altered by, on behalf of, or for the use of the Department shall be designed, constructed, or altered so as to be readily accessible to and usable by individuals with a disability. The definitions, requirements, and standards of the Architectural Barriers Act (42 U.S.C. 4151-4157), as established in 41 CFR 101-19.600 through 101-19.607 apply to buildings covered by this section.

§15.60   Communications.

(a) The Department shall take appropriate steps to effectively communicate with applicants, participants, personnel of other Federal entities, and members of the public.

(1) The Department shall furnish appropriate auxiliary aids where necessary to afford an individual with a disability an equal opportunity to participate in, and enjoy the benefits of, a program or activity conducted by the Department.

(i) In determining what type of auxiliary aid is necessary, the Department shall give primary consideration to the requests of the individual with a disability.

(ii) The Department need not provide individually prescribed devices, readers for personal use or study, or other devices of a personal nature to applicants or participants in programs.

(2) Where the Department communicates with applicants and beneficiaries by telephone, the Department shall use telecommunication devices for deaf persons (TTYs) or equally effective telecommunication systems to communicate with persons with impaired hearing.

(b) The Department shall make available to interested persons, including persons with impaired vision or hearing, information as to the existence and location of accessible services, activities, and facilities.

(c) The Department shall post notices at a primary entrance to each of its inaccessible facilities, directing users to an accessible facility, or to a location at which they can obtain information about accessible facilities. The international symbol for accessibility shall be used at each primary entrance of an accessible facility.

(d) This section does not require the Department to take any action that it can demonstrate would result in a fundamental alteration in the nature of a program or activity or in undue financial and administrative burdens.

(e) In those circumstances where Department personnel believe that the proposed action would fundamentally alter the program or activity or would result in undue financial and administrative burdens, the Department has the burden of proving that compliance with this section would result in such alteration or burdens. The decision that compliance would result in such alteration or burdens must be made by the Secretary of Homeland Security (or his or her designee) after considering all resources available for use in the funding and operation of the conducted program or activity and must be accompanied by a written statement of the reasons for reaching that conclusion. If an action required to comply with this section would result in such an alteration or such burdens, the Department shall take any other action that would not result in such an alteration or such burdens but would nevertheless ensure that, to the maximum extent possible, individuals with a disability receive the benefits and services of the program or activity.

§15.70   Compliance procedures.

(a) Except as provided in paragraph (b) of this section, this section applies to all allegations of discrimination on the basis of disability in programs and activities conducted by the Department.

(b) The Department shall process complaints alleging violations of section 504 with respect to employment according to the procedures established by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in 29 CFR part 1614.

(c) All other complaints alleging violations of section 504 may be sent to the Officer for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, Department of Homeland Security, Washington, DC 20528. The Officer for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties shall be responsible for coordinating implementation of this section.

(d)(1) Any person who believes that he or she has been subjected to discrimination prohibited by this part may by him or herself, or by his or her authorized representative, file a complaint. Any person who believes that any specific class of persons has been subjected to discrimination prohibited by this part and who is a member of that class or the authorized representative of a member of that class may file a complaint.

(2) The Department shall accept and investigate all complete complaints over which it has jurisdiction.

(3) All complete complaints must be filed within 180 days of the alleged act of discrimination. The Department may extend this time period for good cause.

(e) If the Department receives a complaint over which it does not have jurisdiction, it shall promptly notify the complainant and shall make reasonable efforts to refer the complaint to the appropriate entity of the Federal government.

(f) The Department shall notify the Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board upon receipt of any complaint alleging that a building or facility that is subject to the Architectural Barriers Act of 1968, as amended (42 U.S.C. 4151-4157), is not readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities.

(g)(1) Not later than 180 days from the receipt of a complete complaint over which it has jurisdiction, the Department shall notify the complainant of the results of the investigation in a letter containing:

(i) Findings of fact and conclusions of law;

(ii) A description of a remedy for each violation found; and

(iii) A notice of the right to appeal.

(2) Department employees are required to cooperate in the investigation and attempted resolution of complaints. Employees who are required to participate in any investigation under this section shall do so as part of their official duties and during the course of regular duty hours.

(3) If a complaint is resolved informally, the terms of the agreement shall be reduced to writing and made part of the complaint file, with a copy of the agreement provided to the complainant. The written agreement shall describe the subject matter of the complaint and any corrective action to which the parties have agreed.

(h) Appeals of the findings of fact and conclusions of law or remedies must be filed by the complainant not later than 60 days after receipt from the Department of the letter required by paragraph (g)(1) of this section. The Department may extend this time for good cause.

(i) Timely appeals shall be accepted and processed by the Officer for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, or designee thereof, who will issue the final agency decision which may include appropriate corrective action to be taken by the Department.

(j) The Department shall notify the complainant of the results of the appeal within 30 days of the receipt of the appeal. If the Department determines that it needs additional information from the complainant, it shall have 30 days from the date it received the additional information to make its determination on the appeal.

(k) The time limits cited in paragraphs (g) and (j) of this section may be extended for an individual case when the Officer for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties determines that there is good cause, based on the particular circumstances of that case, for the extension.

(l) The Department may delegate its authority for conducting complaint investigations to other Federal agencies and may contract with nongovernment investigators to perform the investigation, but the authority for making the final determination may not be delegated to another agency.



For questions or comments regarding e-CFR editorial content, features, or design, email ecfr@nara.gov.
For questions concerning e-CFR programming and delivery issues, email webteam@gpo.gov.