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e-CFR data is current as of September 17, 2020

Title 29Subtitle APart 38Subpart A → §38.9


Title 29: Labor
PART 38—IMPLEMENTATION OF THE NONDISCRIMINATION AND EQUAL OPPORTUNITY PROVISIONS OF THE WORKFORCE INNOVATION AND OPPORTUNITY ACT
Subpart A—General Provisions


§38.9   Discrimination prohibited based on national origin, including limited English proficiency.

(a) In providing any aid, benefit, service, or training under a WIOA Title I-financially assisted program or activity, a recipient must not, directly or through contractual, licensing, or other arrangements, discriminate on the basis of national origin, including limited English proficiency. An individual must not be excluded from participation in, denied the benefits of, or otherwise subjected to discrimination under, any WIOA Title I-financially assisted program or activity based on national origin. National origin discrimination includes treating individual beneficiaries, participants, or applicants for any aid, benefit, service, or training under any WIOA Title I-financially assisted program or activity adversely because they (or their families or ancestors) are from a particular country or part of the world, because of ethnicity or accent (including physical, linguistic, and cultural characteristics closely associated with a national origin group), or because the recipient perceives the individual to be of a certain national origin, even if they are not.

(b) A recipient must take reasonable steps to ensure meaningful access to each limited English proficient (LEP) individual served or encountered so that LEP individuals are effectively informed about and/or able to participate in the program or activity.

(1) Reasonable steps generally may include, but are not limited to, an assessment of an LEP individual to determine language assistance needs; providing oral interpretation or written translation of both hard copy and electronic materials, in the appropriate non-English languages, to LEP individuals; and outreach to LEP communities to improve service delivery in needed languages.

(2) Reasonable steps to provide meaningful access to training programs may include, but are not limited to, providing:

(i) Written training materials in appropriate non-English languages by written translation or by oral interpretation or summarization; and

(ii) Oral training content in appropriate non-English languages through in-person interpretation or telephone interpretation.

(c) A recipient should ensure that every program delivery avenue (e.g., electronic, in person, telephonic) conveys in the appropriate languages how an individual may effectively learn about, participate in, and/or access any aid, benefit, service, or training that the recipient provides. As a recipient develops new methods for delivery of information or assistance, it is required to take reasonable steps to ensure that LEP individuals remain able to learn about, participate in, and/or access any aid, benefit, service, or training that the recipient provides.

(d) Any language assistance services, whether oral interpretation or written translation, must be accurate, provided in a timely manner and free of charge. Language assistance will be considered timely when it is provided at a place and time that ensures equal access and avoids the delay or denial of any aid, benefit, service, or training at issue.

(e) A recipient must provide adequate notice to LEP individuals of the existence of interpretation and translation services and that these language assistance services are available free of charge.

(f)(1) A recipient shall not require an LEP individual to provide their own interpreter.

(2) A recipient also shall not rely on an LEP individual's minor child or adult family or friend(s) to interpret or facilitate communication, except:

(i) An LEP individual's minor child or adult family or friend(s) may interpret or facilitate communication in emergency situations while awaiting a qualified interpreter; or

(ii) The accompanying adult (but not minor child) may interpret or facilitate communication when the information conveyed is of minimal importance to the services to be provided or when the LEP individual specifically requests that the accompanying adult provide language assistance, the accompanying adult agrees to provide assistance, and reliance on that adult for such assistance is appropriate under the circumstances. When the recipient permits the accompanying adult to provide such assistance, it must make and retain a record of the LEP individual's decision to use their own interpreter.

(3) Where precise, complete, and accurate interpretations or translation of information and/or testimony are critical for adjudicatory or legal reasons, or where the competency of the interpreter requested by the LEP individual is not established, a recipient may decide to provide its own, independent interpreter, even if an LEP individual wants to use their own interpreter as well.

(g) With regard to vital information:

(1) For languages spoken by a significant number or portion of the population eligible to be served, or likely to be encountered, a recipient must translate vital information in written materials into these languages and make the translations readily available in hard copy, upon request, or electronically such as on a Web site. Written training materials offered or used within employment-related training programs as defined under §38.4(t) are excluded from these translation requirements. However, recipients must take reasonable steps to ensure meaningful access as stated in §38.9(b).

(2) For languages not spoken by a significant number or portion of the population eligible to be served, or likely to be encountered, a recipient must take reasonable steps to meet the particularized language needs of LEP individuals who seek to learn about, participate in, and/or access the aid, benefit, service, or training that the recipient provides. Vital information may be conveyed orally if not translated.

(3) Recipients must include a “Babel notice,” indicating in appropriate languages that language assistance is available, in all communications of vital information, such as hard copy letters or decisions or those communications posted on Web sites.

(h) To the extent otherwise required by this part, once a recipient becomes aware of the non-English preferred language of an LEP beneficiary, participant, or applicant for aid, benefit, service, or training, the recipient must convey vital information in that language.

(i) Recipients are required to take reasonable steps to provide language assistance and should develop a written language access plan to ensure that LEP individuals have meaningful access. The appendix to this section provides guidance to recipients on developing a language access plan.

Appendix to §38.9—Guidance to Recipients

Recipient Language Assistance Plan (LEP Plan): Promising Practices

The guidelines in this appendix are consistent with and, in large part, derived from existing federal guidance to federal financial assistance recipients to take reasonable steps to ensure meaningful access by limited English proficient (LEP) individuals.

Recipients that develop, implement, and periodically revise a written language assistance plan are more likely to fulfill their obligation of taking reasonable steps to ensure access to programs and activities by LEP individuals. The guidelines set forth below provide a clear framework for developing a written plan that will ensure meaningful access to LEP individuals. Developing and implementing a written plan has many benefits, including providing the recipient with a roadmap for establishing and documenting compliance with nondiscrimination obligations and ensuring that LEP beneficiaries receive the necessary assistance to participate in the recipient's programs and activities.

The elements of a successful LEP plan are not fixed. Written LEP plans must be tailored to the recipient's specific programs and activities. And, over time, plans will need to be revised to reflect new recommendations and government guidance; changes in the recipient's operations, as well as the recipient's experiences and lessons learned; changing demographics; and stakeholder and beneficiary feedback. Nonetheless, a recipient that develops an LEP plan incorporating the elements identified below will benefit greatly in accomplishing its mission and providing an equal opportunity for LEP individuals to participate in its programs and activities.

A written LEP plan should identify and describe:

1. The process the recipient will use to determine the language needs of individuals who may or may seek to participate in the recipient's program and activities (self- or needs-assessment)

2. The results of the assessment, e.g., identifying the LEP populations to be served by the recipient

3. Timelines for implementing the written LEP plan

4. All language services to be provided to LEP individuals

5. The manner in which LEP individuals will be advised of available services

6. Steps individuals should take to request language assistance

7. The manner in which staff will provide language assistance services

8. What steps must be taken to implement the LEP plan, e.g., creating or modifying policy documents, employee manuals, employee training material, posters, Web sites, outreach material, contracts, and electronic and information technologies, applications, or adaptations

9. The manner in which staff will be trained

10. Steps the recipient will take to ensure quality control, including monitoring implementation, establishing a complaint process, timely addressing complaints, and obtaining feedback from stakeholders and employees

11. The manner in which the recipient will document the provision of language assistance services

12. The schedule for revising the LEP plan

13. The individual(s) assigned to oversee implementation of the plan (e.g., LEP Coordinator or Program Manager)

14. Allocation of resources to implement the plan

Illustrative Applications in Recipient Programs and Activities

Unemployment Insurance Program Example

1. Unemployment insurance programs are recipients covered under this rule, and States must take reasonable steps to provide meaningful access to LEP individuals served or encountered in their unemployment insurance programs and activities. For example, given the nature and importance of unemployment insurance, if an LEP individual who speaks Urdu seeks information about unemployment insurance from a State's telephone call center that assists unemployment insurance enrollees and applicants, the State may consider the proportion of Urdu-speaking LEP individuals served or encountered by the State's unemployment insurance program; the frequency with which Urdu-speaking LEP individuals come in contact with the State's unemployment insurance program; and the resources available to the State and costs in determining how it will provide this LEP individual with language assistance. Urdu is a language that is rarely, if ever, encountered by this State's UI program. Because low-cost commercial language services, such as telephonic oral interpretation services, are widely available, the State should, at a minimum, provide the Urdu-speaking LEP individual telephonic interpretation services to ensure meaningful access to unemployment insurance because, even if Urdu is a non-frequently encountered, non-English language, low-cost commercial language services, such as telephonic oral interpretation services, are widely available.

Population Significance as It Pertains to Vital Information

2. Recipients have some flexibility as to the means to provide language assistance services to LEP individuals, as long as they take reasonable steps to provide meaningful access to their program or activity. For instance, if a recipient provides career services to an LEP individual who speaks Tagalog and the individual requests a translated brochure on an upcoming job fair, the recipient should consider the importance of the information in the brochure, and may consider: The proportion of Tagalog-speaking LEP individuals served or encountered; the frequency with which Tagalog-speaking LEP individuals come in contact with the recipient; and the resources available to the recipient. In this instance, the recipient would be required to provide a written translation of the brochure for the LEP individual if Tagalog were a language spoken by a significant number or proportion of the LEP persons in the eligible service population and a language frequently encountered in the career services program. But if Tagalog is not spoken by a significant number or proportion of the population eligible to be served, and was not frequently encountered by the career services program, it would be reasonable for the recipient to provide an oral summary of the brochure's contents in Tagalog.

Training Provider Example Incorporating English Language Learning

3. Providing English language learning opportunities may be one step that a recipient takes in order to take reasonable steps to provide an LEP individual meaningful access to its programs or activities. For example, John, a Korean-speaking LEP individual, learns through the one-stop center about available welding positions at ABC Welding, Co. He also learns through the one-stop center about upcoming welder training courses offered at XYZ Technical Institute, an eligible training provider. John decides to enroll in one of the XYZ welding courses. XYZ, which conducts its training courses in English, must take reasonable steps to provide John meaningful access to the welder training course.

Recipients may work together to provide meaningful access, but remain independently obligated to take reasonable steps to provide meaningful access to programs and activities. In this regard, XYZ is not required to administer an English language learning class itself. Instead, XYZ may coordinate with the one-stop center to ensure that John receives appropriate English language learning either directly from the one-stop or from another organization that provides such English language training. The English language class would not be offered to John instead of the training program, but John could attend the English language class at the same time as or prior to the training program. Whether John takes the English class before or concurrently with the welding course will depend on many factors including an objective, individualized analysis of John's English proficiency relative to the welding course. Regardless of how the English language learning is delivered, it must be provided at no cost to John.

In evaluating whether reasonable steps include oral interpretation, translation, English language learning, another language service, or some combination of these services, XYZ may work with the one-stop center to provide meaningful access to John.

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