Civil Rights Enforcement and Compliance
Internal Policy Issuance #: 1
Program Complaint Processing
Civil Rights Impact Analysis
1. INTRODUCTION This issuance generally outlines the procedures utilized by the APHIS CREC Program Compliance Division to ensure nondiscrimination in all programs and activities conducted or assisted by APHIS. Nondiscrimination in program delivery is accomplished through three major efforts: 1) Program compliance reviews to include pre and post award reviews of programs and activities receiving Federal financial assistance from APHIS, and programs and activities directly conducted by APHIS; 2) receipt and prompt processing of complaints of program discrimination filed by persons, organizations or other entities against programs or activities assisted or conducted by APHIS, and 3) analysis of the civil rights implications of APHIS management and program decisions.
2. REFERENCES\AUTHORITIES The primary civil rights statutes and regulations governing nondiscrimination in APHIS conducted and assisted programs and activities are as follows:
Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
3. COVERAGEThese procedures apply to the civil rights compliance requirements of any programs or activities conducted or assisted by APHIS; any complaint of program discrimination filed against an assisted or conducted APHIS program or activity and any management or administrative APHIS decision or action having civil rights implications.
4. POLICY A. Program Compliance for APHIS Federally Conducted and
Assisted Programs and Activities
1) Complaints of Discrimination (frequency, location)
Each program or activity will be reviewed on the following factors: 1) Assurance
B. Program Complaint Processing Examples:
Broker alleges discrimination due to delay in release of cargo.The policy applies to any program complaint against APHIS personnel or programs wherein a person (non-employee) alleges either discrimination or unfair treatment, or otherwise infers that he or she was not treated fairly.If a person indicates verbally that he or she wishes to file a complaint, they should be advised to contact USDA's Office of Civil Rights (OCR) at the following address:
The PCM will prepare a program complaint processing package acknowledging
to the complainant that his or her complaint was received by APHIS; forward
the complaint by courier to OCR's Program Complaint Division, and requesting
from the APHIS work site where the complaint occurred a brief report describing
the circumstances surrounding the complaint. Upon notification by OCR that
it has accepted the complaint and requested an Agency Position Statement (APS),
the PCM will prepare the APS utilizing the report from the complaint work site
and any other pertinent information. The PCM is also responsible for maintaining
a comprehensive database to track complaint data, reconcile complaint data
with OCR, periodically issue reports to senior managers, and ensuring that
all APHIS personnel are aware of complaint receipt and processing procedures.
C. Civil Rights Impact Analysis Examples:
Closure of Work Facility-Impact on Program Delivery
For actions requiring CRIAs and procedures for evaluating Title VI Civil Rights Impact Analysis see CREC Internal Policy Issuance #1 - Civil Rights Impact Analysis (Programs).USDA agencies are required to identify and address the civil rights implications of proposed agency actions in their management and decision making procedures. The following process is utilized for conducting a Civil Rights Impact Analysis (CRIA): The Regulations Analysis Division (RAD) submits a written request to CREC Enforcement and Compliance (CREC) to conduct a CRIA. All requests are logged into the CREC Civil Rights Impact Analysis Tracking System database. All interim or final rules are reviewed to determine changes. The CRIA is prepared using relevant Race, Sex, and National Origin (RSNO) data provided by National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), Census of Agriculture, comments on rules, and other available data. The CREC Director/Deputy Director review and approve the CRIA which is then electronically forwarded to RAD for review and comment. RAD may provide comments to CREC for final approval after which the CRIA is forwarded to USDA's Office of Civil Rights. The final rule clearance is noted on the CREC website at the Hot Rules page.
APPROVED: _____________________________ DATE:
Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service
Program Evaluations and Compliance Reviews
Equal Pay Act of 1963
3. COVERAGE These procedures apply to compliance reviews performed of work units in the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
4. POLICY Each
year CREC develops a two-year schedule of sites for compliance assistance and
compliance reviews (i.e. headquarters, region, and area levels), identifying
program units to be reviewed and the date that the review will begin. The schedule
is posted on the CREC web site and managers are advised to acknowledge that
they have reviewed the schedule as a component of their biannual self-assessments.
Compliance reviews usually consists of preliminary research, an on-site visit,
written reports, and follow up.
Preliminary Research Prior to the outset of a review, CREC conducts preliminary research to clarify the purpose, focus, scope, and extent of the compliance review. In addition to reviewing responses to the surveys that were initially mailed to all employees, the CREC review team may review program operations, applicable laws and regulations, the affirmative employment program, special emphasis programs, Civil Rights EEO Advisory Committees and other factors relative to issues specific to the work site. The scope of the review may be expanded when CREC identifies information about issues that need to be addressed. These issues may include language barriers, disparate treatment, lack of information about the EEO program, difference in treatment, complaint handling, lack of participation in the EEO program, and lack of representation on boards and committees.
Notification of Review The CREC Compliance Manager will send a Compliance Review Notification Letter to the head of the organizational entity being reviewed and management at the next highest level informing them of the pending review. The letter should be sent to the head at least 1 month prior to the on-site review and should include the purpose, scope, sites, dates, members of the review team, request for a unit liaison, and other pertinent information. The liaison will assist with on-site logistics, coordinate the collection of data from the unit to the team, and assist with the development of the interview schedule. CREC also sends surveys and a cover letter announcing the review and explaining the importance of the surveys to all employees assigned to the work site. Reprisal and confidentiality: The memo, as well as briefings and interviews, should include policy concerning reprisal and confidentiality. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects employees who participate in civil rights compliance reviews and any civil rights activity from reprisal or retaliation that may be directed toward them due to their participation. All comments made during the compliance interviews will be held in strict confidence. No comments will be shared with anyone and names of employees will not appear in any report or on any document linking a specific employee to any comment. While CREC ensures the confidentiality of the review team, they cannot ensure confidentiality of employees participating in the interviews. It is at the discretion of each employee to decide whether or not they wish to reveal what transpired during their respective interview. However, if a manager or employee asks any member of the civil rights review team questions about the interview--like whether it's true that an employee said "this or that" during the interview process--the team member will respond that all information shared during compliance interviews is confidential and the staff can neither confirm nor deny if something was said or not. Also, should any employee feel that reprisal is being directed at them based on their participation in the interview process, they should call any member of the civil rights compliance team immediately, and the Director of the Civil Rights Enforcement and Compliance staff will act promptly to correct any instance of reprisal. CREC will work with a unit liaison to establish the schedule for interviews. For locations with 50 or fewer employees, all employees will be scheduled for interviews. In a location with more than 50 employees, at least 30 percent will be scheduled for interviews. Selection will be random and will include people at various grade levels, series, race, gender, and national origin groups. In addition, all supervisors and managers are invited to participate in the interviews. Interviews are voluntary and confidential. Any employee who does not wish to be interviewed will be excluded from the review. Individuals wishing to be interviewed who were not selected via the random sample may volunteer for interviews and will be included in the review.
On-Site Visit The on-site activities of the compliance review include an orientation session, face-to-face or telephone interviews, visual inspection of the work environment, and an out-briefing.
Orientation Session: CREC facilitates an initial on-site orientation and information session with the work unit head, other managers and supervisors; and all employees. CREC explains the purpose and method of the review and provides an overview of what the team will do, what the team is looking for, how employment information will be collected, the interview process, the report development, and the follow-up process. Attention will also focus on promoting goodwill and cooperation with the unit, assisting the unit to strengthen their civil rights and equal employment opportunity programs, emphasizing the importance of confidentiality, and protection of employees against reprisal resulting from reviews. Based on responses to the initial surveys and comments made by managers, employees and advisory committees, CREC may also provide information about other facets of Civil Rights.
Structure of Interviews: Interviews are 45 minutes each followed by 15 minute breaks. Interviews are usually conducted by a team of two individuals; one asks questions from a standardized questionnaire, and the other records answers. The interviewee may also provide the reviewer with information concerning additional employee issues and concerns. At the time of each interview, the interviewee is given a short briefing about the compliance review process, policy on reprisal and confidentiality, and the purpose of the review.
Visual Inspection: The team members may tour the facilities to observe the location of employees, the facilities' accessibility for persons with disabilities, and the physical obstacles in the agency's facilities that limit the accessibility of its programs or activities to individuals with disabilities.
Out Briefing: Upon conclusion of the on-site review, CREC will hold an Out Briefing to report major preliminary findings of the review, recommend any remedial actions that should be taken immediately, and explain the date and process for issuing the compliance review report. Systemic issues and thorough data analysis will not be released during the Out Briefing.
Reporting The compliance review report will be developed by combining the findings and recommendations from each team member, the facts and evidence gathered during the review, and a determination of compliance or noncompliance. The report may include discussion regarding a wide variety of situations that may affect employees' civil rights. (See below for examples). Managers will be given an opportunity to review and respond to the first draft of the report. Their response may include any progress already made in resolving the issues described in the report, intentions regarding each recommendation, and alternative plans for resolving certain issues. The final report includes management's response and CREC's additional recommendations as needed.
Follow-up Stage Each team member may conduct follow up conversations with persons interviewed to clarify issues raised during the interview, gauge employee morale, and identify any reprisal resulting from the review. Except in situations where immediate corrective action is necessary, work units will normally be required to take corrective action and report to CREC within 60 days. Upon receipt of a progress report from the recipient, the Director of CREC, will determine sufficiency of the action(s) taken. If the action is sufficient, CREC will conduct follow-ups 6 months and 1 year after this date. However, if further action is required to achieve compliance, CREC will recommend additional steps to be taken by APHIS top management to ensure compliance.
Topics that may be Addressed in a Compliance Review Report
Retention, selection, hiring, or placement
APPROVED: __________________________________ DATE: _________________
Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service
This issuance outlines the Civil Rights Enforcement and Compliance (CREC) procedures for evaluating the civil rights impacts of major policy actions requiring approval under Departmental regulations. APHIS has in place an internal system for analyzing any issue which may negatively and disproportionately affect minorities, women, or persons with disabilities who are either employees or applicants for employment within APHIS. Civil Rights Impacts are the effects of major policy actions on the rights and opportunities of minorities, women, and persons with disabilities who are employees or applicants for employment within USDA. A Civil Rights Impact Analysis is conducted to determine the scope, intensity, direction, duration, and significance of impacts resulting from an Agency's proposed employment actions and activities. Such an analysis is required to determine civil rights impacts prior to and during the implementation of major policy actions.2. REFERENCES
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, 42USC,2000e et seq.3. COVERAGE
These procedures apply to all employment policies, practices and actions, administered4. POLICY
No person or group shall be discriminated against on the basis of race, color, religion,5. ACTIONS REQUIRING CRIAs
Actions subject to the requirements of this issuance include but are not limited to: (1) The establishment and renewal of charters for advisory committees, councils, or boards managed by APHIS on behalf of the Secretary; (2) Proposed office consolidations, closures, relocation's or reorganizations; (3) Proposed agency manuals, and notices; and (4) At the discretion of the Director, Civil Rights, other actions having potential for adverse civil rights impacts.6. REQUIREMENTS FOR CIVIL RIGHTS IMPACT ANALYSES
APHIS managers should submit a written request to CREC to conduct a Civil Rights
1. All requests should include a description of the proposed actions by goals, objectives, operations, and environment. This serves to direct the CREC staff to the action's primary goals and consequent courses of action.Example - Regional Consolidation Site SelectionCollocating the regional hubs with the APHIS science/technical centers will affirm the scientific basis of the Agency, help make science/research more relevant to operational/program needs, and further optimize the scientific and technical backgrounds of regional office and technical center staff. Locating the regional hubs in Raleigh and Ft. Collins will also allow the Agency to accrue savings in operating costs exceeding $2.4 million annually. Both sites will best serve the Agency's long-term interest, yield demonstrable savings and efficiencies, and are consistent with the Agency's vision and mission.
2. Written requests should include the appropriate employment data by race, sex, national origin, and disability in order to conduct statistical analyses for CRIAs. Current Composition of Program area by race, gender, and positions as follows: Veterinary Services - Southeast Region - Tampa, Florida Race/Gender Grade Position Title Asian/Male GS 14 Regional Epidemiology Officer
3. Managers should consult with employees, advisory committees, and customers, as appropriate, to obtain their input prior to implementation of policies, actions, and decisions.
4. Managers should develop and submit a plan of action that identifies all unfavorable impacts and the actions that will be taken to eliminate or mitigate unfavorable impacts on employees.
5. CREC will enter all written requests
into the Civil Rights Impact Analyses Tracking System Database.
(1) Whether or not it contains any requirements related to eligibility, benefits, services, etc., that may have the purpose or effect of excluding, limiting, or otherwise disadvantaging any group or class on one or more prohibited bases; and (2) How and the extent to which each group or class may be potentially affected, positively or negatively.
8. CREC analyzes relevant numerical data and information to
determine if there are significant statistical differences in potential
civil rights impact rates for one or more groups or classes.
APPROVED: DATE: Anna P. Grayson, Director
Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service
Title 7, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 15(d)6. REQUIREMENTS FOR CIVIL RIGHTS IMPACT ANALYSESAPHIS' Policy and Program Development unit should submit a written request to CREC to conduct a Civil Rights Impact Analyses of proposed actions as described in Section 5:
1. All requests should include a description of the proposed actions by
goals, objectives, operations, and environment. This serves to direct the
CREC staff to the action's primary goals and consequent courses of action.
Example - Mexican Hass Avocado Import Program The Government of Mexico requested
that APHIS amend the regulations regarding the importation of Mexican Hass
avocados. The amended regulation will expand the number of states into which
avocados my be imported and to extend the shipping season. The rule directly
affects avocado growers, particularly in California.
3. Managers should consult with program participants and potential participants, as appropriate, to obtain their input prior to proposing changes in policies, actions, and decisions.
4. APHIS should develop and submit a plan of action that identifies all unfavorable impacts and the actions that will be taken to eliminate or mitigate unfavorable impacts on program participants.
5. CREC will enter all written requests into the Civil Rights Impact Analyses Tracking System Database.
6. After review of the request, if necessary, CREC will inform the Program Managers of any needed additions for CRIAs or revisions in proposed policies, actions, or decisions.
7. CREC reviews the provisions of the policy, action, or decision and determines: (1) Whether or not it contains any requirements related to eligibility, benefits, services, etc., that may have the purpose or effect of excluding, limiting, or otherwise disadvantaging any group or class on one or more prohibited bases; and (2) How and the extent to which each group or class may be potentially affected, positively or negatively.
8. CREC analyzes relevant numerical data and information
to determine if there are significant statistical differences in potential
civil rights impact rates for one or more groups or classes.
APPROVED: DATE: Anna P. Grayson or designee
Last Modified: February 9, 2012