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News Release

North Carolina Commerce Department agrees to improve access to workforce programs after US Labor Department’s compliance review

State to correct deficiencies, remove language barriers to federally funded services

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Labor announced today that it has entered into an agreement with the North Carolina Department of Commerce after a compliance review by the federal department’s Civil Rights Center found the state’s unemployment insurance and employment service programs deficient in providing services to those with limited English proficiency.

Prompted by a national origin discrimination complaint by Legal Aid of North Carolina, the CRC sought to determine if the programs – administered by the state’s Divisions of Employment Security and Workforce Solutions – met their obligations to provide meaningful access to limited English proficient individuals to programs and activities receiving federal financial assistance. The DES administers the unemployment insurance program, while the DWS administers the employment service program.

After completing its review, the center found that DES and DWS policies, practices and procedures required improvement to comply with requirements set forth under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Section 188 of the Workforce Investment Act of 1998, and the regulations that implement these statutes. In its agreement, the state’s DES and DWS programs will:

  • Assess the language needs of the limited English proficiency populations they serve by identifying the highest-demand languages, adequately tracking and reporting future encounters with these individuals and addressing specific translation needs of these populations at both the state and local level.
  • Develop and implement language access plans for providing meaningful access to those with limited English proficiency.
  • Correct deficiencies in translations of written materials, including Web pages and online filing systems.
  • Identify and correct deficiencies with the provision of interpretation services to individuals with limited English proficiency.
  • Provide training to all staff on language access obligations and provide meaningful access to those with limited English proficiency through language assistance services.
  • Publicize the availability of language assistance and the right of potentially aggrieved individual with limited English proficiency to file claims of delay/denial.
  • Notify customers of their language access rights and their right to file claims of delay/denial.  

The settlement demonstrates the department’s commitment to vigorous enforcement of the laws that protect all Americans who seek services provided by American Job Centers. The department also acknowledges DES and DWS’s commitment to non-discrimination and their willingness to address these allegations affirmatively and cooperatively.

CRC administers and enforces laws that apply to recipients of financial assistance under Title I of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act and its predecessor the Workforce Investment Act; American Job Center partners listed in WIOA/WIA Section 121(b) that offer programs or activities through the  workforce development system; state and local governments and other public entities operating programs and activities related to labor and the workforce; and any recipients of financial assistance from, or programs conducted by the department.

For more information about CRC, call (202) 693-6500 (voice) or 800-877-8339 (relay) or go to http://www.dol.gov/crc/.

Agency
Office of the Assistant Secretary for Administration & Management
Date
September 26, 2016
Release Number
16-1915-NAT
Contact: Mark Huffman
Phone Number