The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) is the first legislative reform of the public workforce development system in more than 15 years. Section 188 of WIOA prohibits discrimination against individuals who apply to, participate in, work for, or come into contact with programs and activities of the workforce development system, including partners that are part of the American Job Center (AJC) delivery system. Section 188 prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, or political affiliation or belief, among other bases.
Effective January 3, 2017, the U.S. Department of Labor's Civil Rights Center (CRC) announced the publication of the Final Rule of Section 188 WIOA Nondiscrimination and Equal Opportunity Regulations (29 CFR Part 38). While the Rule has resulted in many substantive changes since 1999, the Final Rule does not impose any significant new obligations on recipients. The update ensures that the entire workforce system is aware of current equal opportunity rights and responsibilities of beneficiaries and recipients, while increasing equal opportunity for millions of job seekers, training participants, program beneficiaries, and recipients' employees in diversified programs and activities free from discrimination. The Final Rule upholds and protects access to the system in particular for people with disabilities by bringing the regulations in line with the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008 and the implementing regulations and guidance issued by the Department of Justice and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The Rule’s updated language affirms that the definition of “disability” will be interpreted broadly, allowing more individuals with disabilities to be effectively served within the workforce development system. The Rule also addresses accessibility requirements.
Read the entire policy brief: Section 188 of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (Nondiscrimination and Equal Opportunity): Summary Review of the DOL Final Rule, from a Disability Perspective.