Implementation of the Nondiscrimination and Equal Opportunity Provisions of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act

The U.S. Department of Labor is proposing to issue nondiscrimination and equal opportunity regulations replacing its regulation which implemented Section 188 of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). Signed by President Obama on July 22, 2014, WIOA supersedes the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (WIA) as the Department's primary mechanism for providing financial assistance for a comprehensive system of job training and placement services for adults and eligible youth. Section 188 of WIOA prohibits the exclusion of an individual from participation in, denial of the benefits of, discrimination in, or denial of employment in the administration of or in connection with, any programs and activities funded or otherwise financially assisted in whole or in part under Title I of WIOA because of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, political affiliation or belief, and for beneficiaries only, citizenship status, or participation in a program or activity that receives financial assistance under Title I of WIOA. These proposed regulations would update the nondiscrimination and equal opportunity regulation consistent with current law and address its application to current workforce development and workplace practices and issues.

Most of the provisions of WIOA took effect on July 1, 2015, except where otherwise specified in the law. WIOA contains the identical provisions of Section 188 as appeared in WIA, and these WIOA provisions took effect on July 1, 2015. To ensure no regulatory gap while this proposed rulemaking progresses toward a final rule, the Department issued a final rule implementing Section 188 of WIOA, which applies until issuance of the final rule based on this NPRM. The final rule issued separately in July 2015 retains the provisions in part 37 but substitutes all references to WIA with WIOA to reflect the proper statutory authority. This NPRM revises the final rule issued in July 2015. This NPRM generally carries over the policies and procedures found in Department regulations, which implement the equal opportunity and nondiscrimination provisions of WIA and WIOA. Like the final rule issued separately in July 2015, this rule is organized by the same subparts A through E, and refers to “changes” or “revisions” made to the final rule. Certain sections in each subpart have significant revisions.

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