The provisions of this section apply to enforcement actions under FHWA and FTA programs:
(a) Noncompliance complaints. Any person who believes that a recipient has failed to comply with its obligations under this part may file a written complaint with the concerned operating administration's Office of Civil Rights. If you want to file a complaint, you must do so no later than 180 days after the date of the alleged violation or the date on which you learned of a continuing course of conduct in violation of this part. In response to your written request, the Office of Civil Rights may extend the time for filing in the interest of justice, specifying in writing the reason for so doing. The Office of Civil Rights may protect the confidentiality of your identity as provided in § 26.109(b). Complaints under this part are limited to allegations of violation of the provisions of this part.
(b) Compliance reviews. The concerned operating administration may review the recipient's compliance with this part at any time, including reviews of paperwork and on-site reviews, as appropriate. The Office of Civil Rights may direct the operating administration to initiate a compliance review based on complaints received.
(c) Reasonable cause notice. If it appears, from the investigation of a complaint or the results of a compliance review, that you, as a recipient, are in noncompliance with this part, the appropriate DOT office promptly sends you, return receipt requested, a written notice advising you that there is reasonable cause to find you in noncompliance. The notice states the reasons for this finding and directs you to reply within 30 days concerning whether you wish to begin conciliation.
(1) If you request conciliation, the appropriate DOT office shall pursue conciliation for at least 30, but not more than 120, days from the date of your request. The appropriate DOT office may extend the conciliation period for up to 30 days for good cause, consistent with applicable statutes.
(2) If you and the appropriate DOT office sign a conciliation agreement, then the matter is regarded as closed and you are regarded as being in compliance. The conciliation agreement sets forth the measures you have taken or will take to ensure compliance. While a conciliation agreement is in effect, you remain eligible for FHWA or FTA financial assistance.
(3) The concerned operating administration shall monitor your implementation of the conciliation agreement and ensure that its terms are complied with. If you fail to carry out the terms of a conciliation agreement, you are in noncompliance.
(4) If you do not request conciliation, or a conciliation agreement is not signed within the time provided in paragraph (d)(1) of this section, then enforcement proceedings begin.
(e) Enforcement actions.
(1) Enforcement actions are taken as provided in this subpart.
(2) Applicable findings in enforcement proceedings are binding on all DOT offices.