The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) is committed to ensuring that all workers, including workers with limited English proficiency (LEP), are fully aware of their rights, knowledgeable about the process for exercising their rights in the event of a potential violation, and able to report any suspected violations to appropriate authorities without fear of retaliation. Language barriers can prevent LEP workers from fully participating in programs and activities, and from receiving important services provided by DOL.
The Centralized Office of Language Assistance (COLA), at the Civil Rights Center, provides technical support to ensure that activities, programs, and services conducted by DOL are accessible to LEP individuals. COLA is dedicated to addressing the language assistance needs of DOL agencies to promote equitable access to services and resources for LEP workers.
COLA is responsible for coordinating efforts related to language access at DOL, which includes:
- Developing and coordinating the implementation of DOL's Language Access Plan;
- Providing training and technical assistance on language access matters to DOL agencies;
- Providing resources to DOL agencies to advance language access efforts;
- Maintaining a Language Access Working Group among agencies;
- Monitoring DOL's provision of language assistance services to LEP individuals;
- Supporting DOL agencies' ability to engage LEP individuals with translation and interpretation needs, while promoting shared procurement vehicles for the Department; and
- Developing Departmental policies and procedures for ensuring LEP individuals receive meaningful language access.
Additionally, COLA established the Department's Language Access Working Group to coordinate agency efforts to improve language access. The Working Group meets on a regular basis to monitor LEP outreach and enforcement activities and works to develop department-wide policies and procedures to enhance DOL's LEP efforts.