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e-CFR data is current as of November 24, 2020

Title 40Chapter ISubchapter APart 7 → Subpart E

Title 40: Protection of Environment

Subpart E—Agency Compliance Procedures

§7.105   General policy.
§7.110   Preaward compliance.
§7.115   Postaward compliance.
§7.120   Complaint investigations.
§7.125   Coordination with other agencies.
§7.130   Actions available to EPA to obtain compliance.
§7.135   Procedure for regaining eligibility.

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§7.105   General policy.

EPA's Administrator, Director of the Office of Civil Rights, Project Officers and other responsible officials shall seek the cooperation of applicants and recipients in securing compliance with this part, and are available to provide help.

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§7.110   Preaward compliance.

(a) Review of compliance information. Within EPA's application processing period, the OCR will determine whether the applicant is in compliance with this part and inform the Award Official. This determination will be based on the submissions required by §7.80 and any other information EPA receives during this time (including complaints) or has on file about the applicant. When the OCR cannot make a determination on the basis of this information, additional information will be requested from the applicant, local government officials, or interested persons or organizations, including aged and handicapped persons or organizations representing such persons. The OCR may also conduct an on-site review only when it has reason to believe discrimination may be occurring in a program or activity which is the subject of the application.

(b) Voluntary compliance. If the review indicates noncompliance, an applicant may agree in writing to take the steps the OCR recommends to come into compliance with this part. The OCR must approve the written agreement before any award is made.

(c) Refusal to comply. If the applicant refuses to enter into such an agreement, the OCR shall follow the procedure established by paragraph (b) of §7.130.

[49 FR 1659, Jan. 12, 1984, as amended at 75 FR 31707, June 4, 2010]

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§7.115   Postaward compliance.

(a) Periodic review. The OCR may periodically conduct compliance reviews of any recipient's programs or activities receiving EPA assistance, including the request of data and information, and may conduct on-site reviews when it has reason to believe that discrimination may be occurring in such programs or activities.

(b) Notice of review. After selecting a recipient for review or initiating a complaint investigation in accordance with §7.120, the OCR will inform the recipient of:

(1) The nature of and schedule for review, or investigation; and

(2) Its opportunity, before the determination in paragraph (d) of this section is made, to make a written submission responding to, rebutting, or denying the allegations raised in the review or complaint.

(c) Postreview notice. (1) Within 180 calendar days from the start of the compliance review or complaint investigation, the OCR will notify the recipient in writing by certified mail, return receipt requested, of:

(i) Preliminary findings;

(ii) Recommendations, if any, for achieving voluntary compliance; and

(iii) Recipient's right to engage in voluntary compliance negotiations where appropriate.

(2) The OCR will notify the Award Official and the Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights of the preliminary findings of noncompliance.

(d) Formal determination of noncompliance. After receiving the notice of the preliminary finding of noncompliance in paragraph (c) of this section, the recipient may:

(1) Agree to the OCR's recommendations, or

(2) Submit a written response sufficient to demonstrate that the preliminary findings are incorrect, or that compliance may be achieved through steps other than those recommended by OCR.

If the recipient does not take one of these actions within fifty (50) calendar days after receiving this preliminary notice, the OCR shall, within fourteen (14) calendar days, send a formal written determination of noncompliance to the recipient and copies to the Award Official and Assistant Attorney General.

(e) Voluntary compliance time limits. The recipient will have ten (10) calendar days from receipt of the formal determination of noncompliance in which to come into voluntary compliance. If the recipient fails to meet this deadline, the OCR must start proceedings under paragraph (b) of §7.130.

(f) Form of voluntary compliance agreements. All agreements to come into voluntary compliance must:

(1) Be in writing;

(2) Set forth the specific steps the recipient has agreed to take, and

(3) Be signed by the Director, OCR or his/her designee and an official with authority to legally bind the recipient.

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§7.120   Complaint investigations.

The OCR shall promptly investigate all complaints filed under this section unless the complainant and the party complained against agree to a delay pending settlement negotiations.

(a) Who may file a complaint. A person who believes that he or she or a specific class of persons has been discriminated against in violation of this part may file a complaint. The complaint may be filed by an authorized representative. A complaint alleging employment discrimination must identify at least one individual aggrieved by such discrimination. Complaints solely alleging employment discrimination against an individual on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex or religion shall be processed under the procedures for complaints of employment discrimination filed against recipients of Federal assistance (see 28 CFR part 42, subpart H and 29 CFR part 1691). Complaints of employment discrimination based on age against an individual by recipients of Federal financial assistance are subject to the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 and should be filed administratively with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (see 29 CFR part 1626). Complainants are encouraged but not required to make use of any grievance procedure established under §7.90 before filing a complaint. Filing a complaint through a grievance procedure does not extend the 180 day calendar requirement of paragraph (b)(2 of this section.

(b) Where, when and how to file complaint. The complainant may file a complaint at any EPA office. The complaint may be referred to the region in which the alleged discriminatory acts occurred.

(1) The complaint must be in writing and it must describe the alleged discriminatory acts which violate this part.

(2) The complaint must be filed within 180 calendar days of the alleged discriminatory acts, unless the OCR waives the time limit for good cause. The filing of a grievance with the recipient does not satisfy the requirement that complaints must be filed within 180 days of the alleged discriminatory acts.

(c) Notification. The OCR will notify the complainant and the recipient of the agency's receipt of the complaint within five (5) calendar days.

(d) Complaint processing procedures. After acknowledging receipt of a complaint, the OCR will immediately initiate complaint processing procedures.

(1) Preliminary investigation. (i) Within twenty (20) calendar days of acknowledgment of the complaint, the OCR will review the complaint for acceptance, rejection, or referral to the appropriate Federal agency.

(ii) If the complaint is accepted, the OCR will notify the complainant and the Award Official. The OCR will also notify the applicant or recipient complained against of the allegations and give the applicant or recipient opportunity to make a written submission responding to, rebutting, or denying the allegations raised in the complaint.

(iii) The party complained against may send the OCR a response to the notice of complaint within thirty (30) calendar days of receiving it.

(iv) Complaints alleging age discrimination under the Age Discrimination Act of 1975 will be referred to a mediation agency in accordance with §7.180.

(2) Informal resolution. (i) OCR shall attempt to resolve complaints informally whenever possible. When a complaint cannot be resolved informally, OCR shall follow the procedures established by paragraphs (c) through (e) of §7.115.

(ii) [Reserved]

(e) Confidentiality. EPA agrees to keep the complainant's identity confidential except to the extent necessary to carry out the purposes of this part, including the conduct of any investigation, hearing, or judicial proceeding arising thereunder. Ordinarily in complaints of employment discrimination, the name of the complainant will be given to the recipient with the notice of complaint.

(f) [Reserved]

(g) Dismissal of complaint. If OCR's investigation reveals no violation of this part, the Director, OCR, will dismiss the complaint and notify the complainant and recipient.

[49 FR 1659, Jan. 12, 1984, as amended at 75 FR 31707, June 4, 2010]

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§7.125   Coordination with other agencies.

If, in the conduct of a compliance review or an investigation, it becomes evident that another agency has jurisdiction over the subject matter, OCR will cooperate with that agency during the continuation of the review of investigation. EPA will:

(a) Coordinate its efforts with the other agency, and

(b) Ensure that one of the agencies is designated the lead agency for this purpose. When an agency other than EPA serves as the lead agency, any action taken, requirement imposed, or determination made by the lead agency, other than a final determination to terminate funds, shall have the same effect as though such action had been taken by EPA.

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§7.130   Actions available to EPA to obtain compliance.

(a) General. If compliance with this part cannot be assured by informal means, EPA may terminate or refuse to award or to continue assistance. EPA may also use any other means authorized by law to get compliance, including a referral of the matter to the Department of Justice.

(b) Procedure to deny, annul, suspend or terminate EPA assistance—(1) OCR finding. If OCR determines that an applicant or recipient is not in compliance with this part, and if compliance cannot be achieved voluntarily, OCR shall make a finding of noncompliance. The OCR will notify the applicant or recipient (by registered mail, return receipt requested) of the finding, the action proposed to be taken, and the opportunity for an evidentiary hearing.

(2) Hearing. (i) Within 30 days of receipt of the above notice, the applicant or recipient shall file a written answer, under oath or affirmation, and may request a hearing.

(ii) The answer and request for a hearing shall be sent by registered mail, return receipt requested, to the Chief Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) (A-110), United States Environmental Protection Agency, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW., Washington, DC 20460. Upon receipt of a request for a hearing, the ALJ will send the applicant or recipient a copy of the ALJ's procedures. If the recipient does not request a hearing, it shall be deemed to have waived its right to a hearing, and the OCR finding shall be deemed to be the ALJ's determination.

(3) Final decision and disposition. (i) The applicant or recipient may, within 30 days of receipt of the ALJ's determination, file with the Administrator its exceptions to that determination. When such exceptions are filed, the Administrator may, within 45 days after the ALJ's determination, serve to the applicant or recipient, a notice that he/she will review the determination. In the absence of either exceptions or notice of review, the ALJ's determination shall constitute the Administrator's final decision.

(ii) If the Administrator reviews the ALJ's determination, all parties shall be given reasonable opportunity to file written statements. A copy of the Administrator's decision will be sent to the applicant or recipient.

(iii) If the Administrator's decision is to deny an application, or annul, suspend or terminate EPA assistance, that decision becomes effective thirty (30) days from the date on which the Administrator submits a full written report of the circumstances and grounds for such action to the Committees of the House and Senate having legislative jurisdiction over the program or activity involved. The decision of the Administrator shall not be subject to further administrative appeal under EPA's General Regulation for Assistance Programs (40 CFR part 30, subpart L).

(4) Scope of decision. The denial, annulment, termination or suspension shall be limited to the particular applicant or recipient who was found to have discriminated, and shall be limited in its effect to the particular program or activity or the part of it in which the discrimination was found.

[49 FR 1659, Jan. 12, 1984, as amended at 68 FR 51372, Aug. 26, 2003]

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§7.135   Procedure for regaining eligibility.

(a) Requirements. An applicant or recipient whose assistance has been denied, annulled, terminated, or suspended under this part regains eligibility as soon as it:

(1) Provides reasonable assurance that it is complying and will comply with this part in the future, and

(2) Satisfies the terms and conditions for regaining eligibility that are specified in the denial, annulment, termination or suspension order.

(b) Procedure. The applicant or recipient must submit a written request to restore eligibility to the OCR declaring that it has met the requirements set forth in paragraph (a) of this section. Upon determining that these requirements have been met, the OCR must notify the Award Official, and the applicant or recipient that eligibility has been restored.

(c) Rights on denial of restoration of eligibility. If the OCR denies a request to restore eligibility, the applicant or recipient may file a written request for a hearing before the EPA Chief Administrative Law Judge in accordance with paragraph (c) §7.130, listing the reasons it believes the OCR was in error.

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