News Release

US Department of Labor publishes fact sheet outlining protections against discrimination, bias in federally funded programs, activities

Part of Biden-Harris administration strategy to counter antisemitism, other forms of discrimination

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Labor today published a fact sheet that clarifies protections under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act that prohibit certain forms of antisemitic, Islamophobic and related forms of discrimination in federally funded programs and activities. The publication marks the first time the department has put this guidance in writing.

The fact sheet and its clarification are key deliverables of the Biden-Harris administration’s National Strategy to Counter Antisemitism and its broader commitment to countering antisemitic, Islamophobic and related forms of discrimination and bias.

“The Biden-Harris administration is committed to protecting workers from discrimination and safeguarding principles of religious freedom, which are essential to creating a more equitable workforce for all, including applicants and participants in the workforce development system,” said Acting Secretary of Labor Julie Su. “An inclusive economy means all workers deserve a voice at the table, and that’s not possible if workers feel discriminated against because of their religion, race, color or national origin. The Department of Labor is committed to upholding workers’ rights and enforcing the law, protecting the civil rights of workers of all backgrounds.”

Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination based on race, color or national origin, applies to recipients of federal financial assistance, including grantees under programs administered by the department’s agencies, including the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the Mine Safety and Health Administration, the Veterans’ Employment and Training Service, and the Employment and Training Administration. 

Section 188 of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act prohibits discrimination based on race, color or national origin and religion, among other biases, and applies to recipients of federal funds under WIOA Title I, such as state workforce agencies. Section 188’s prohibition against discrimination based on religion protects individuals who belong to traditional, organized religions and to individuals who have sincerely held religious, ethical or moral beliefs.

In addition to the fact sheet, the department plans on issuing guidance to workforce development agencies throughout the nation on their legal responsibilities under Title VI and WIOA’s Section 188. In addition, the department plans to develop educational materials to help organized labor organizations, worker advocacy organizations and other community members to inform workers of their right to be free from discrimination in the workplace and how to file discrimination complaints.

The department is working vigorously to implement its commitments made in the U.S. National Strategy to Counter Antisemitism. The strategy includes over 100 new actions the Biden-Harris administration will take to raise awareness of antisemitism and its threat to American democracy, protect Jewish communities, reverse the normalization of antisemitism and build cross-community solidarity. 

Anyone who believes that discriminatory actions have been taken by a covered entity may file a complaint with the department’s Civil Rights Center. The center promotes equal opportunities for workers by assessing, investigating and adjudicating discrimination complaints and conducting compliance reviews to administer and enforce equal opportunity laws. Learn more about filing a complaint

Office of the Secretary
September 28, 2023
Release Number
Media Contact: Mandy McClure
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