2 Federal Financial Assistance Triggers Civil Rights Responsibilities Federal financial assistance is anything of value received from the Federal government. This includes the food and other items you receive from the Food Bank.
3 Your Organization’s Civil Rights Responsibilities Most FBEM partners receive food through one or more of the following Federal programs:USDA Commodities ProgramThe Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP)Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP)Commodity Distributions to Charitable InstitutionsSummer Food Service Program (SFSP)Child and Adult Care Food ProgramWhy does your organization have civil rights responsibilities related to food received from FBEM?….because some of the food (but not all) originally came from the Federal government!x
4 Annual Civil Rights Training All people who work or interact with program applicants or participants and those who supervise frontline staff that work with US Department of Agriculture (USDA) funded programs must receive Civil Rights Training once a year.This includes:VolunteersServersSupervisorsIt is everyone’s responsibility to eliminate discrimination.Training can be provided in different ways:In personOnline, etc.
5 Civil Rights & FoodEvery human being has the right to have enough nutritious food to meet his/her needs.No person should be denied food or receive unequal treatment because of their:RaceColorSexAgeDisabilityNational originNon-discrimination is the law!x
6 Goals of Civil RightsEqual treatment for all applicants and beneficiaries under the law.Knowledge of rights and responsibilities.Elimination of illegal barriers that prevent or deter people from receiving benefits.Dignity and respect for all.
7 Civil Rights LawsTitle VI—Civil Rights Act of 1964—Race, color, national originTitle IX of the Education Amendments of 1972—SexSection 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973—DisabilityAmericans with Disabilities Act—DisabilityAge Discrimination act of 1975—AgeCivil Rights Restoration Act of 1987—Race, color, national originProgram statutes and regulations—race, color, national origin, sex, age, and disability
8 What is a Protected Class? Any person or group of people who have characteristics for which discrimination is prohibited based on law, regulation, or executive order. Protected classes in The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) & Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) are race, color, national origin, age, sex, and disability.
9 Types of Discrimination Disparate treatment - Someone of a protected class who is treated differently may sue the agency.Disparate impact - Results from action or rule from the complaint about the agency.Reprisal/Retaliation - Negative treatment due to prior civil rights activity by an individual or his/her family or known associates or for cooperating with an investigation – may sue agency.
10 2004 “Equal Opportunity for Religious Organizations” Regulations Protect Faith-Based OrganizationsFaith Based Organizations (FBOs) and Community Based Organizations (SBOs) have equal footing.Prohibits discrimination against an organization on the basis of religion, religious belief or character in the distribution of funds.Clarifies that FBOs can use space in their facilities without removing religious art or symbols.
11 Law Protects Beneficiaries No organization that receives direct assistance from the USDA can discriminate against a beneficiary or prospective beneficiary on the basis of religion or religious belief.FBOs retain their independence and carry out their mission, as long as USDA funds (or activities) do not support worship, religious instruction or proselytization.
12 TrainingAll who work with Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) funded programs must be trained.First line workers (including volunteers) and supervisors must receive annual training.There are flexibilities in how training is provided.
13 Civil Rights Required Training Topics Collection & use of dataEffective public notification systemsComplaint proceduresCompliance review techniquesResolution of non complianceReasonable accommodation of people with disabilitiesLanguage assistanceConflict resolutionCustomer Service
14 Collection & Use of Data Required for CSFP.Currently NOT required in TEFAP except initial estimates.Data collected about beneficiaries should be kept secure and confidential.Helps determine if there are disparities between the potentially eligible population and the participating population or shows discrimination.Outreach efforts can be targeted.
15 Collection & Use of Data People self-declare.If they refuse to disclose info, you or someone else will code for them based on perception.RATIONALE: Discrimination is often based on perception, and others would probably have a similar perception to the person doing the coding.
16 Public NotificationProminently display the “And Justice for All” poster.Inform potentially eligible persons, applicants, participants and grassroots organizations of programs or changes in programs.Provide appropriate information in alternative formats for persons with disabilities.Provide information in other languages for Limited English Proficiency (LEP) populations.
17 Public Notification and Outreach Convey that your services are open to everyoneIndicate this on outreach materialsUse photos and graphics that show diversity in race, age, ability, etc.Target outreach to underserved populationsMediaEthnic radio stationsTV channelsNewspapersCommunity eventsDistribute information at local organizations, stores, and places of worshipOutreach materials MUST be easy for consumers to read and understand!
18 Public NotificationInclude the required nondiscrimination statement on all appropriate FNS and agency publications, web sites, posters and informational materials.Convey the message of equal opportunity in all photos and other graphics that are used to provide program or program related information.
19 Non-Discrimination Statement “In accordance with Federal law and U.S. Department of Agriculture policy, this institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Director, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C or call toll free(866) (voice). Individuals who are hearing impaired or have speech difficulties may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) ; or (800) (Spanish). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.”
20 Non-discrimination Statement in Other Languages The “And Justice for All” poster has the non-discrimination statement in English and Spanish onlyTranslations for Chinese, Creole, French, German, Hindi, Hmong, Italian, Korean, Polish, Russian, and Vietamese can be found at:
21 Access for People with Disabilities Definition of disability with respect to individual according to Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA):a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the major life activities of such individual,OR a record of such an impairment,OR being regarded as having such an impairment.
22 Rights of People with Disabilities People with disabilities must be:Admitted or served regardless of their disabilityIntegrated into regular programs to the maximum extent appropriateHowever…separate programs for individuals with disabilities are permitted where necessaryPublic accommodation may still need to provide opportunity for individuals to benefit from regular programEnsures equal opportunityIncluded in regular programGiven the choice to accept or decline special services or benefitsAllowed to use a service animal if one is required because of a disability.
23 Providing Assistance to People with Disabilities Public accommodations should consult with individuals with disabilities wherever possible to determine what types of aid/services they need.Examples of aid/services:Clearing hallways and doorways of unnecessary clutterExchanging written notes with a person who is deafHelping a person reach an item on the shelfProviding a tape-recorded version of an informational brochure for a person who is blindVerbally describing an item to a person who is blindGuiding a person in and out of the buildingMany of these aids/services can be provided for free or at low cost!
24 Language AssistancePeople with Limited English Proficiency (LEP) need to be served in other languages.Outreach in other languages is important.Service must be provided - as well as being flexible in how service is provided.
25 Language Identification Card What to do when consumer is seeking language assistance:Ask them to point to their primary language on the language ID cardFind staff or volunteer member for interpretation OR seek professional interpretation servicesSee Language ID Card handout for more information
26 Shortage of resources does not eliminate this requirement!! Language AssistanceHow service is provided depends on:Number and proportion of LEP persons served.Frequency of LEP persons’ contact with program.Nature & importance of program.Resources available and costs.Shortage of resources does not eliminate this requirement!!
27 Providing Language Assistance Children who are minors SHOULD NOT be used as interpreters for their families.Be sure staff or volunteer who is interpreting is aware of interpreter ethics:Faithful interpretationConfidentialityInterpretation is a skill that not all bilingual individuals have.Seek professional interpretation services when a staff member or volunteer feels uncomfortable with interpretation responsibilities.
28 Types of Language Assistance If a large proportion of your organization’s consumers speak a language other than English:Have a bilingual staff or volunteer available during meals/food distributionsInterpretation services can be obtained via phone by calling:Language Line Services Document translation services also available
29 Conflict Resolution Try to remain calm. Try to explain the situation. Get help, especially if threats or if violence is possible.Use Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) techniques.
30 Following Civil Rights Rules When are sites reviewed to check if they are following civil rights requirements?BEFORE receiving Federal food/financial assistanceWHILE receiving Federal food/financial assistanceWHEN significant civil rights concerns affect the delivery of services
31 Resolving Noncompliance to Civil Rights Requirements What to do when individuals fail to comply:STOP discriminatory actionsCHANGE organization’s procedures/policiesHelps ensure that discrimination will not occur againBe sure to inform volunteers and staff about these changes!What can happen if you fail to correct discriminatory practices?Your organization can lose Federal food/financial assistance! x
32 Filing Discrimination Complaints How to handle consumers wishing to file a discrimination complaint:Listen politely to the consumerBe aware of the bases for which discrimination complaints may be filed with the TEFAP/CSFP:Race, color, national origin, age, sex, disabilityInform consumers that they should file complaints within 180 DAYS of the discriminatory incidentNEVER discourage individuals or groups from filing or voicing complaints.EVERYONE has the right to file complaints.For more information….see handout: How to File a Program Discriminationx
33 Compliance Investigation To file a complaint, write to:USDA, Director, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C or call toll free(866) (voice). Individuals who are hearing impaired or have speech difficulties may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) ; or (800) (Spanish).In the Midwest Region write to:Regional Director, Civil Rights/EEO, 77 W. Jackson Blvd., FL 20, Chicago, IL or call (312)
34 Customer Service Treat all consumers with honesty and respect. Do not assume you know the circumstances that bring a consumer to your organization in search of assistance.If a consumer is seeking services, then she/he deserves services.Communicate with consumers:HOW they would like to be addressedWHAT kind of assistance they would like from your organizationx
35 Resolving Conflicts Remain calm Open lines of communication Use the L.A.R.A. method:Listen carefully to the other personAffirm his/her feelings and concernsRespond with appropriate actionAdd information, provide options, and follow-upSafety first!Seek help if conflict is escalating or if there are threats of violence.
36 Customer ServicePlatinum Rule “Treat others the way they want to be treated.” Double Platinum rule “Treat others the way they don’t even know they want to be treated”. Anticipate, anticipate, anticipate. Don’t just meet your customer’s expectations, EXCEED them.
37 Situations & AnswersSituation: An organization decides to schedule different food delivery days for people who live on the eastern and western sides of a city. Most of the people who live on the west side are racial minorities. With this delivery schedule, residents of the west side would get their food 2 days later. Is this an example of discrimination?
38 Situations & AnswersAnswer: There is not enough information to make a determination. This could be discrimination if the service or the quality of the food is poor for one group of people. It could result in charges of impact discrimination. Possible solutions would be to ensure no differences in the quality of service/food or to do a north-south divide for deliveries.
39 Situations & AnswersSituation: A complaint was received that a volunteer at a pantry was rude and disrespectful to a consumer seeking services. Are there civil rights issues in this situation? Does it matter if the volunteer and the consumer are of different races, national origins, or genders?
40 Situations & AnswersAnswer: Based on the information provided, it is not clear if the disrespectful treatment was based on race, color, national origin, age, sex, or disability. If there was such an allegation against the volunteer, then it would not matter if the volunteer and the consumer are of different races, national origins, or genders. People can and sometimes do discriminate against people similar to them.
41 Situations & AnswersSituation: Members of an ethnic minority group say an organization is discriminatory because it does not provide them with food that is familiar to them. Is their complaint legitimate?
42 Situations & AnswersAnswer: It is not discriminatory for an organization to not have food for specific ethnic groups. In fact, it could become discrimination if ethnic food is provided to some groups but not to others. It is best to offer everyone diverse food choices and be sensitive to the dietary needs/habits of your consumers.
43 Situations & AnswersSituation: An organization wants to include religious literature with food packages that contain USDA commodity food. Is this allowed?
44 Situations & AnswersAnswer: Proselytizing is not allowed.
45 Situations & AnswersSituation: A person comes to your food pantry and says that the pantry at the church down the street refused to give her food because she is not a church member. Is this a civil rights violation?
46 Situations & AnswersAnswer: Religion is not a protected class for TEFAP or CSFP but USDA would consider this to be a Program violation. It is also a membership agreement violation.FBEM requires program to serve the public – they cannot just serve church members. Please call FBEM Agency Relations and they will discuss the situation with the pantry to ensure that all are served.
47 Situations & AnswersSituation: You are collecting racial and ethnic data on the elementary school-aged children who attend your summer lunch program. How do you collect this data?
48 Situations & AnswersAnswer: In this situation, it is impractical to ask each child about their racial and ethnic identity while they eat lunch. The data collector may record children’s race and ethnicity based on perception.
49 Situations & AnswersSituation: A 55 year old person with a disability is denied food through the Commodity Supplemental Food Program and alleges discrimination. He wants to file a complaint. You know that the CSFP is for elderly people 60+ years old and that discrimination is not involved in this situation. What should you do?
50 Situations & AnswersAnswer: Provide information to the consumer on how to file a complaint. You might explain that Congress wrote the law to limit participation in the CSFP to people age 60 and older. However, you should not discourage the consumer from filing a discrimination complaint if he wishes to do so.
51 Situations & AnswersSituation: A pantry that receives Federal financial assistance is located on the 2nd floor of a building and is not accessible to people with wheelchairs. What are some ways to ensure that all people have equal opportunity to benefit from the food pantry?
52 Situations & AnswersAnswer: Attempts should be made to improve access to the food pantry (examples: install an elevator or move the pantry to the 1st floor). If this is not possible, services can be provided in another manner such as bringing a variety of food items downstairs for the person to choose from or providing home delivery.
53 Situations & AnswersSituation: Some people come to the pantry and they do not speak English. You cannot understand them and have no idea what language they are speaking. You give them a note that says they need to return with an interpreter. Is this appropriate?
54 Situations & AnswersAnswer: Giving someone a note and telling them to come back with an interpreter is highly improper. The pantry needs to provide an interpreter or have information available in the consumer’s primary language. Language identification cards can help you determine what languages your consumers speak so you can have interpreters available on site or call a language line service.
55 Situations & AnswersSituation: A pantry manager designates Thursdays as “Asian Day” to make sure there are Chinese and Korean interpreters present on site. The pantry manager also thinks consumers would be more comfortable in a setting where other people speak their language. Is this an example of a civil rights violation?
56 Situations & AnswersAnswer: Even though the manager had good intentions, Thursdays designated as “Asian Days” could be seen as trying to segregate Asian people. The pantry can advertise times it has interpreters so people can decide to come during those times. The pantry, however, can not require people of a racial/ethnic group or nationality to only come at a certain time because that would be discrimination. Interpretation needs to be provided whenever anyone who needs the service comes to your organization.
57 Take Away Points If site has eligibility requirements, they must be: Clearly postedClearly explained to consumersYour site may refuse service to someone if they pose a safety threat.Anyone has the right to file a civil rights complaint.Non-discrimination is the law!
58 Contact InformationSarah Hierman Director of Programs Food Bank of Eastern Michigan (810)
59 References Language Line Services. http://www.languageline.com Michigan CSFP & TEFAP Civil Rights Training (2007).US Dept. of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service. And Justice for All Posters.US Dept. of Justice, Americans With Disabilities Act.
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