To prevent employment discrimination at DOT, individuals with Limited English Proficiency (LEP), are entitled to language assistance with respect to a particular type of service, benefit, or encounter.
Most individuals living in the United States read, write, speak, and understand English. There are many individuals, however, for whom English is not their primary language. The 2000 census shows that 26 million individuals speak Spanish and almost 7 million individuals speak an Asian or Pacific Island language at home. If these individuals have a limited ability to read, write, speak, or understand English, they are limited English proficient, or “LEP.”
In a 2001 Supplementary Survey by the U.S. Census Bureau, 33% of Spanish speakers and 22.4% of all Asian and Pacific Island language speakers aged 18–64 reported that they spoke English either “not well” or “not at all.”
Language for LEP individuals can be a barrier to accessing important DOT employment benefits or services, understanding and exercising important employment rights, complying with applicable responsibilities, or understanding other information provided by federally funded programs and activities. The Federal Government funds an array of services that can be made meaningfully accessible to otherwise eligible LEP persons in order to prevent employment discrimination. The Federal Government is committed to improving the accessibility of these programs and activities to eligible LEP persons, a goal that reinforces its equally important commitment to promoting programs and activities designed to help individuals learn English.