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News Release

Proposed rulemaking updates nondiscrimination and equal opportunity regulations of Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act

WASHINGTON – The workforce development system is the backbone of job training in the U.S. It provides millions of jobseekers and workers the opportunity to learn new skills and obtain new and better jobs. The system also serves a critical role in our nation’s labor market, bringing together workers and businesses to ensure that workers can find good jobs and that employers can find the skilled workers they need to keep business thriving.

Essential to the workforce development system is its accessibility to everyone – equal and free of discrimination. To ensure the system meets this important requirement, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Civil Rights Center has announced a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to provide important updates to the existing nondiscrimination and equal opportunity regulations of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act. These regulations have not changed substantially since 1999.

“Our nation’s workforce system should reflect our commitment to diversity and the idea that America works best when we field a full team,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez. “Protecting workers from discrimination based on disability, pregnancy, language proficiency, gender identity and other factors is the right thing to do. This proposed rule provides welcome clarity on how to achieve that in the workforce system.”

WIOA mandates the department to issue regulations to implement Section 188 of the law, the provisions that require equal opportunity and nondiscrimination in the workforce development system. Section 188 prohibits discrimination because of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, political affiliation or belief, and for beneficiaries, applicants, and participants only, citizenship status, or because of an individual’s participation in a program or activity that receives financial assistance under Title I of WIOA.

This NPRM contains substantive changes necessary to address developments in equal opportunity and nondiscrimination law since 1999. In addition, the rule revises procedures and processes for enforcement of the nondiscrimination and equal opportunity provisions to reflect changes in the practices of recipients, including the use of computer-based and Internet-based systems to provide aid, benefits, services, and training through WIOA Title I-financially assisted programs and activities.

Public comments on this NPRM may be submitted, identified by Regulatory Information Number 1291-AA36, by any one of the following methods:

  • Federal e-Rulemaking Portal Follow the instructions for submitting comments.
  • Fax: (202) 693-6505 (for comments of 6 pages or less).
  • Mail or Hand Delivery/Courier: Naomi Barry-Perez, Director, Civil Rights Center, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Ave., NW, Room N-4123, Washington, DC 20210.
  • Email at

Comments will close 60 days after publication in the Federal Register

Office of the Assistant Secretary for Administration & Management
January 25, 2016
Release Number
Media Contact: Egan Reich
Phone Number