Civil Rights Office of the National Endowment for the Arts
The mission of the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) is to investigate and resolve external/internal allegations of discrimination. External allegations of discrimination applies to applicants and recipients of Federal financial assistance and internal allegations of discrimination applies to employees of the National Endowment for the Arts (Endowment) and applicants for employment with the Endowment.
The OCR is responsible for the administration of Title VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, the Americans with Disabilities Act (specifically Title I: Employment of Persons with Disabilities), the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, as amended, and the Age Discrimination Act of 1975. Title VI, Section 504, and the Age Discrimination Act of 1975 bar discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, disability, and age in programs and activities receiving Federal financial assistance. Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, as amended, prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in federally assisted education programs and activities. Title VII, Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act prohibits discrimination on the ground of race, color, sex, national origin, religion, disability or age in Federal employment.
The goals and objectives of the Civil Rights Office are: 1) to determine the civil rights compliance status of applicants for and recipients of Federal financial assistance from the Endowment; 2) to investigate and resolve allegations of discrimination; 3) to monitor civil rights compliance in programs and activities that receive Federal financial assistance from the Endowment; 4) to analyze employment data on minorities, women and the disabled to facilitate affirmative action and upward mobility where these groups are underrepresented in the Endowment's workforce; 5) to increase Historically Black Colleges and Universities access to Endowment programs and support services; and 6) to advise Endowment management officials on civil rights and equal opportunity trends, developments, and other civil rights issues.
Following is a brief description of the laws and regulations that affect applicants and recipients of Federal financial assistance from the Endowment.
Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, and national origin in programs and activities conducted by applicants and recipients of Federal financial assistance. The Endowment regulations implementing Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 can be found at 45 CFR Part 1110.
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, prohibits discrimination on the basis of a disability in any program or activity conducted by applicants and recipients of Federal financial assistance. This means that all Endowment funded programs and activities must be made accessible to persons with disabilities. Some examples of the application of Section 504 in Endowment funded programs and activities:
The Endowment regulations implementing Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, can be found at 45 CFR Part 1151.
The Section 504 Self-Evaluation Workbook is available online.
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in employment, state and local government services, public accommodations, transportation and telecommunication. The ADA extends the requirements under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, to all activities of state and local governments and places of public accommodations operated by private entities, including places of public display. The Endowment has jurisdiction under Title I of the ADA: Employment of Persons with Disabilities.
Additional information regarding the Americans with Disabilities Act is available online.
Age Discrimination Act of 1975
The Age Discrimination Act of 1975 prohibits discrimination on the basis of age (40 and over) in programs and activities by applicants and recipients of Federal financial assistance.
The Endowment regulations implementing the Age Discrimination Act of 1975 can be found at 45 CFR Part 1156.
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, as amended
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, as amended prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any education program or activity by applicants and recipients of Federal financial assistance. Title IX states that "no persons in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participating in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance." If an arts organization receives funds from the Endowment or from another federal agency, Title IX applies to its education programs, regardless of whether the educational program itself is the funded project.
While almost every arts organization has an educational aspect to its mission, very few will fit the definition of "educational institution" within this regulation. Endowment policy requires that all grantees comply with Title IX even if the organization does not technically fall within its coverage. However, a particular program is an "educational program" if it embodies certain characteristics, including affiliation with a school, a target audience, a curriculum, and the issuance of a certificate. The regulations implementing Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, as amended, can be found at 45 CFR Part 86.
The Assurance of Compliance covers all Endowment applicants for Federal financial assistance from the Endowment in connection with any grant awarded. Signing the application form for Federal financial assistance assures and certifies that, should a grant be awarded, the applicant will comply with the above described statutes.
The OCR offers guidance to organizations that receive funds to ensure that they are in compliance with civil rights laws by:
Who Can File
An individual may file a formal complaint with the Office of Civil Rights if they believe that they have been discriminated against by an organization which has received Endowment funds, on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, disability and age.
In order to be eligible to file a formal complaint with OCR, you must be a member or a representative for a "protected class." A protected class is comprised of persons who fit into any of the aforementioned categories. Thus, if you believe that you have been discriminated against on the basis of your race, color, national origin, disability, sex, or age, you are a member of a protected class. Federal law prohibits discrimination against any of these classes of individuals.
Resolution through Institutional Grievance Procedures
An individual who believes that he or she has been discriminated against based on race, color, national origin, disability, sex, or age may choose to exercise their rights under the civil rights statutes applicable to all applicants and recipients of Endowment funds. The Endowment requires organizations that apply for and receive funding to comply with the following civil rights laws:
Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
Organizations that are recipients of Endowment funds are required by law to maintain internal procedures for resolving complaints of discrimination. Before filing a formal complaint with OCR, individuals are strongly encouraged to avail themselves of these internal procedures.
If a complaint cannot be resolved at the informal level or if the individual chooses not to use an organization's internal procedures, he or she should contact in writing:
Marisa E. Marinos, Esq.
Denise A. Pearson
National Endowment for the Arts
What To Do
All complaints filed with OCR must be in writing and include the following information:
When To File A Complaint
A complaint must be filed with OCR within 90 days of the date of the alleged discriminatory act, unless the time for filing is extended by OCR.
Evaluation Of A Complaint
Upon receiving a complaint of discrimination, OCR will conduct a pre-investigation to determine:
Investigation of a Complaint
If OCR determines that it has jurisdiction, an acknowledgment letter is sent to the complainant and a notification letter is sent to the recipient organization. Based on a review of the documentation submitted by the complainant, the OCR may send an interrogatory letter to the recipient organization requesting information to facilitate the preinvestigation of the allegations. Additional information from the complainant may be necessary or an on-site investigation of the recipient organization.
Retaliation and Intimidation
A recipient of Endowment funds may not retaliate against any person who has filed a complaint, testified, assisted or participated in any manner in an investigation or proceeding under the five statutes enforced by OCR. If an individual believes that he or she is the victim of such retaliatory action, he or she may file a complaint to with OCR.
Prohibitions against Intimidation or Retaliation
A recipient may not intimidate, threaten, coerce, or engage in other discriminatory conduct against anyone who has either taken action or participated in an action to secure rights protected b the civil rights statutes enforced by OCR. If any individual believes that he or she is being harassed or intimidated by a recipient because of the filing of a complaint or participating in the resolution of it, a complaint alleging such harassment or intimidation may be filed with OCR.
Letters of Finding and Enforcement
The letter of finding issued to the recipient organization found in noncompliance with the regulations includes recommendations to come into compliance. If the recipient organization is willing to comply with the recommendations in the finding letter, a compliance agreement between the recipient organization and the Endowment is entered. The compliance agreement specifies what the recipient organization agrees to do to come into compliance, including timeframes for completion and submission of reports to assist the OCR in monitoring compliance. If the recipient organization is unwilling to comply, the OCR will move immediately to initiate enforcement actions which include, but are not limited to suspension of Endowment funding.
What to do if you disagree with OCR's Resolution of Your Complaint
OCR is committed to ensuring that every complaint is appropriately resolved. Questions or concerns about OCR's resolution of a complaint, should be directed to the Director of OCR.
The Right to File a Separate Court Action
The complainant should be aware that a separate court action may be filed regardless of OCR's findings. If the complainant wishes to file a court action, he/she may do so through an attorney.
Other Ways Complaints Can be Filed
OCR may also consider a complaint resolved when any of the following occur:
Investigatory Uses of Personal Information
OCR processes complaints of discrimination and conducts compliance reviews on organizations that receive Federal financial assistance from the Endowment. The resolution of such complaints may involve the collection and analysis of personal information such as student records (including academic standing) and, in some cases, employment records. No law requires a complainant to give personal information to OCR, however, if OCR is unable to obtain information needed to investigate or to otherwise resolve allegations of discrimination, it may be necessary to discontinue the complaint resolution process. There are two laws governing personal information submitted to all Federal agencies, including OCR: the Privacy Act of 1974 (Privacy Act), 5 U.S. ¤ 552a, and the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S. ¤ 552. The Office of Civil Rights does not reveal the name or other identifying information about an individual unless it is necessary for the completion of an investigation or for enforcement activities against an institution that violates the laws, or unless such information is required to be disclosed under the FOIA or the Privacy Act.
The OCR also is responsible for the administration of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967. If as an employee of the National Endowment for the Arts or as an applicant for employment with the Endowment, you believe you have been discriminated against when applying for a job, on your job or in the terms and conditions of your employment, because of race, age (40 and above) sex, color, national origin, disability, or religion, you may file a discrimination complaint with the Director of Civil Rights, National Endowment for the Arts. The first step is to seek informal counseling, either orally or in writing, with one of the Endowment Equal Employment Opportunity Counselors or the Director of Civil Rights within 45 calendar days of the alleged discriminatory action. The EEO Counselor is a neutral fact finder whose primary function is to define the scope of the inquiry, gather the facts, review and analyze the facts, and attempt to resolve the issue(s) at the lowest level. The counseling period lasts 30 days unless the complainant agrees to an extension or agrees to mediation. Under either situation the extension will not exceed 60 days. If the counseling is unsuccessful, the complainant will be informed in writing at the final interview of his/her right to file a formal complaint of discrimination. A complainant has 15 days after receiving the notice of final interview to file a formal complaint. The formal complaint should be filed in writing to the appropriate official designated to receive complaints. In the case of the Endowment, the appropriate officials are: Chairman, National Endowment for the Arts, Director, Policy, Research, and Analysis or Director, Office of Civil Rights. Following is a brief description of the laws and regulations covering allegations of discrimination based on employment.
Information on EEOC laws, regulations, and policy guidance covering discrimination based on employment can be found online.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
Prohibits discrimination on the basis or race, color, religion, sex, or national origin of applicants and employees in Federal sector employment.
Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990
Prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability of applicants and employees in Federal employment. No covered entity shall discriminate against a qualified individual with a disability because of the disability with regard to job application procedures, the hiring, advancement, discharge of employees, employee compensation, job training and other terms, conditions and privileges of employment.
Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967
Prohibits discrimination on the basis of age (40 and over) of applicants and employees in Federal employment.
White House Inititive On Historically Black Colleges and Universities
The OCR is responsible for the administration of Executive Order 12876 to advance the development of human potential, to strengthen the capacity of historically black colleges and universities to provide quality education and to increase opportunities to participate in and benefit from Federal programs. In 1997, the Endowment launched its Pilot Internship Program. This program provided students from HBCUs the opportunity to integrate academic studies and work experience at nonprofit arts organizations. Internships were designed either as management training opportunities or applications of a particular discipline. During the first two years of this Program, the Endowment recruited interns from 44 of the 117 HBCUs.
The OCR distributes to the public copies of the nondiscrimination regulations upon request. The OCR distributes, free of charge, the following publications:
Section 504 Program Evaluation Workbook. The Workbook is designed to assist grant recipients in evaluating the current state of accessibility of their programs and activities to disabled visitors and employees. Specifically, the Workbook assists organizations in their efforts to comply with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended. Workbooks are made available to all Endowment grantees. They are available online, and in hard copy upon request to the Civil Rights Office. The Office also sends out email reminders to all grantees with a link to the online Workbook.
Directory of Minority Arts Organizations. The Directory is designed as a resource to enable the public to establish contact with minority arts organizations. [The Directory is currently being updated]
Marisa E. Marinos, Esq., Director, Civil Rights Office
National Endowment for the Arts
Voice: (202) 682-5454
Related Web Sites
Off Site Links On Employment Law
National Endowment for the Arts · an independent federal agency