WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration (FTA) today published revised guidance to transit agencies on how to comply with federal Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) guidelines. FTA produced the circular to ensure that transit agency leadership understands and follows EEO requirements to prohibit discrimination in the workplace and stays in sync with changes that have occurred as federal laws impact civil rights.
“A transit workforce that feels protected and valued is the best workforce to provide safe and reliable transit service to millions of riders,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “The Obama Administration is committed to ensuring that public transit and other workers are protected from discrimination as they perform their jobs or apply for promotions, and that the agencies they work for embrace a spirit of diversity and inclusion.”
EEO requirements protect against discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, genetic information, disability, or veteran status. In the agency’s first revision of EEO guidance since 1988, the revised circular highlights changes in U.S. laws and Department regulations, such as incorporating protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals.
“FTA supports equal access to employment opportunities for everyone working in the public transportation industry,” said FTA Acting Administrator Carolyn Flowers. “As FTA continues to provide assistance to local public transportation systems in communities nationwide, this new guidance will help transit agencies continue to protect the rights of their staff.”
The circular spells out new reporting requirements – agencies with more than 100 employees now need to submit EEO programs to FTA every four years rather than every three. Agencies with 50-99 transit employees are required to prepare and maintain the major elements of an EEO Program to provide to FTA upon request.
The EEO circular is written in an organized, easy-to-read format and includes examples of best practices as well as sample EEO statements and forms. Recipients of federal transit funding annually sign agreements with FTA affirming that they comply with federal law, including EEO requirements. FTA assesses EEO compliance by monitoring grant recipients’ self-certifications, as well conducting complaint investigations and site visits as part of the FTA’s Triennial Review process and Office of Civil Rights specialized reviews.
FTA developed the EEO circular in three chapters. The circular went through a 90-day comment period through the Federal Register.