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Office of Civil Rights

Our Mission

The Departmental Office of Civil Rights (DOCR) enforces civil rights laws and regulations, which prohibit workplace discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, religion, age, genetic information, equal pay compensation, and reprisal in employment and the provision of government services.

Most Requested Pages

Culture Assessment of the USMMA

The United States Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA) at Kings Point, NY is the training ground for hundreds of future Merchant Marine officers. A unique element of the Academy’s curriculum is the Sea Year, which gives USMMA Midshipmen the opportunity to work on ships and gain real world experience as mariners. Unfortunately, there have been persistent problems relating to sexual assault and sexual harassment on campus and during sea year despite best efforts to address these challenges. As a result, Secretary Foxx directed the Sea Year Stand Down in June of 2016 until such time that the safety of the Midshipmen could be ensured. Additionally the Department retained Logistics Management Institute (LMI) to assess the culture on campus and in the Sea Year program to identify the root causes and make recommendations for addressing the problems. Below is the LMI Culture Assessment with attachments, the Department’s Action Plan for moving forward, and letters from Secretary Foxx to Admiral Helis and the USMMA Community.

Reducing The Impact Of Bias In The STEM Workforce: Strengthening Excellence And Innovation

In October 2015, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) established an Interagency Policy Group to identify policies and practices to increase diversity in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) workforce both in the Federal Government and in federally-funded institutions of higher education, by reducing the impact of implicit and explicit bias in their respective recruitment, hiring, development and training processes.

Learn more about the report issued by the Interagency Policy Group.

Disability in the workplace

With respect to disability in the workplace, the DOCR office also has jurisdiction over some entities that do not receive Federal funds. In addition, DOCR is responsible for ensuring that DOT does not discriminate against its employees or applicants for employment, and that DOT conducts its programs and activities free of discrimination. Major statues which DOCR enforces include: Titles VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended; Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended; Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990; the Equal Pay Act of 1963; and, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967.

DOCR Organization

DOT is composed of the Office of the Secretary (OST) and several transportation components referred to as "Operating Administrations" (OAs) (for example, the Federal Highway Administration). Generally, OST is responsible for policy and oversight of DOT transportation programs, and the OAs actually administer the programs for a particular mode of transportation, or transportation program area.

Within OST the Director of the Departmental Office of Civil Rights (DOCR) is the designated advisor to the Secretary on matters relating to civil rights in the Department of Transportation. The DOCR director provides leadership, policy, guidance, monitoring, and technical assistance to the OAs in implementing DOT's civil rights responsibilities.

Our Activities

Since nondiscrimination principles apply across the spectrum of civil rights, the Department has divided its activities along two broad categories:

  1. Internal civil rights programs affecting DOT employees and applicants for employment.
  2. External civil rights programs relating to the beneficiaries and potential beneficiaries of the various transportation programs receiving Federal financial assistance through DOT.

Each OA has an Office of Civil Rights, or individuals assigned these responsibilities, to ensure civil rights compliance for their respective organization and programs.

Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Program

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