Bias Rules Updated in Workforce Law

Existing nondiscrimination and equal opportunity regulations of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act got a fresh coat of paint today.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Civil Rights Center today announced that final rules have been issued updating those regulations.

Section 188 of the law require equal opportunity and nondiscrimination in the workforce development system. The section prohibits discrimination because of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, or political affiliation or belief.

The new rules announced today expand on some of those protections.

Significant changes include:

  • Expanding the explanation of the obligations to prevent discrimination based on national origin and provide services to individuals with limited English proficiency.
  • Making changes to reflect the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008.
  • Clarifying that sex discrimination includes discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth and related medical conditions, transgender status, gender identity and sex-based stereotyping.

The new rule also revises procedures and processes for enforcement of the nondiscrimination and equal opportunity provisions to reflect changes in the practices of recipients, including the use of computer-based and Internet-based systems to provide aid, benefits, services and training through WIOA Title I-financially assisted programs and activities.

The rule goes into effect on Jan. 3, 2017, 30 days after publication in the Federal Register. More information can be found on the Civil Rights Center’s website at


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