Civil Rights Training

Civil Rights
Presented by Food Gatherers
Your Organization’s
Civil Rights Responsibilities
All Food Gatherers’ partners receive food from
the Federal government through:
Why does your organization have civil rights
responsibilities related to food received from
Food Gatherers?
USDA Commodities Program
The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP)
Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP)
Commodity Distributions to Charitable Institutions
Summer Food Service Program (SFSP)
….because some of the food (but not all) originally
came from the Federal government!
Civil Rights & Food
Every 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:
National origin
Non-discrimination is the law!
Civil Rights
Required Training Topics
Collection and use of data about consumers
Effective ways to notify the public
How to file a civil rights complaint
How compliance is reviewed
Consequences of not following civil rights laws
Accommodations for people with disabilities
Language assistance for people who have
limited English language skills
Conflict resolution
Customer service
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:
• Volunteers
• Servers
• Supervisors
It is everyone’s responsibility to eliminate
Training can be provided in different ways:
In person
Online, etc.
What Are “Civil Rights”?
Rights of personal liberty
Guaranteed to U.S. citizens by the 13th and 14th
Amendments of the U.S. Constitution and by
acts of Congress
14th Amendment
• “Nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty,
or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any
person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the
Other Laws: Civil Rights Act of 1964, Americans with
Disabilities Act, Age Discrimination Act, Civil Rights
Restoration Act of 1987.
Goals of Civil Rights
Equal treatment for all people under the law.
For people to know their rights and for
institutions/ organizations to uphold their
Elimination of barriers that prevent or stop
people from receiving services.
Dignity and respect for all people.
Types of Discrimination
Unequal Treatment
Unequal Impact
When an action or rule has different outcomes
for different groups of people.
Being treated differently because individual
belongs to a certain group.
Receiving negative treatment due to an
individual’s prior civil rights activity or for filing a
civil rights complaint.
Protected Classes
What is a protected class?
Protected classes in TEFAP/CFSP programs
Any person or group of people who have
characteristics for which discrimination is prohibited
by law.
National Origin
Political Belief
Protected classes vary for different Federal
Equal Opportunity for
Religious Organizations
Faith-based organizations:
Have equal access to USDA funding as
other non-profits.
Are eligible to participate in USDA programs
regardless of their religion, religious belief,
character, or affiliation.
Can use space in their facilities for USDA
programs without removing religious art,
symbols, or scriptures.
Protecting Consumers
When an organization receives USDA food
or funding…
They ARE NOT allowed to discriminate
against a consumer or prospective
USDA food, funds, and programs ARE NOT
to support worship, religious instruction, or
proselytizing. To do so violates your
membership agreement.
Collection and Use of Data
USDA may require that your organization…
This data must be:
Collects racial and ethnic data on your
Kept secure
Kept confidential
Access ONLY allowed to authorized
Records must be maintained for 3 years
after the completed fiscal year, plus the
current fiscal year.
What is the Purpose of Data
Data can:
Help determine if service-eligible individuals
are actually using the services.
Reveal if certain racial or ethnic groups are
not receiving services.
Improve outreach efforts to inform
underserved groups.
Racial and Ethnic Data
Collection Guidelines
Respect for individual dignity should guide the
process of collecting data on race and ethnicity.
Consumer should self declare all racial and ethnic
categories that apply to her/him.
Consumer may refuse to self declare or the situation
may make self declaration impractical
Then the data collector may record racial and ethnic
data based on their perception.
Public Notification &
“And Justice for All” poster
Inform the public and local community organizations
about your services.
Use different types of
media for outreach
Prominently displayed
Especially where meals/food is distributed to consumers
TV ads
Radio ads
Know the primary languages used by your consumers
Provide information and outreach in these other languages
Public Notification and
Convey that your services are open to everyone
Indicate this on outreach materials
Use photos and graphics that show diversity in
race, age, ability, etc.
Target outreach to underserved populations
• Ethnic radio stations
• TV channels
• Newspapers
Community events
• Distribute information at local organizations, stores, and
places of worship
Outreach materials MUST be easy for
consumers to read and understand!
“The U.S. Department of Agriculture prohibits
discrimination against its customers, employees, and
applicants for employment on the bases of race,
color, national origin, age, disability, sex, gender
identity, religion, reprisal, and where applicable,
political beliefs, marital status, familial or parental
status, sexual orientation, or all or part of an
individual’s income is derived from any public
assistance program, or protected genetic information
in employment or in any program or activity
conducted or funded by the Department. (Not all
prohibited bases will apply to all programs and/or
employment activities.)
If you wish to file a Civil Rights program complaint of
discrimination, complete the USDA Program
Discrimination Complaint Form, found online
or at any USDA office, or call (866) 632-9992 to request
the form. You may also write a letter containing all of
the information requested in the form. Send your
completed complaint form or letter to us by mail at U.S.
Department of Agriculture, Director, Office of
Adjudication, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W.,
Washington, D.C. 20250-9410, by fax (202) 690-7442 or
email at [email protected]
Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech
disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay
Service at (800) 877-8339; or (800) 845-6136 (Spanish).
USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.”
This statement is REQUIRED to be printed on the following,
assuming that they are related to USDA funded programs:
Any other materials
Non-discrimination Statement
in Other Languages
The “And Justice for All” poster has the nondiscrimination statement in English and
Spanish only
Translations for Chinese, Creole, French,
German, Hindi, Hmong, Italian, Korean, Polish,
Russian, and Vietamese can be found at:
Following Civil Rights Rules
When are sites reviewed to check if they
are following civil rights requirements?
BEFORE receiving Federal food/financial
WHILE receiving Federal food/financial
WHEN significant civil rights concerns affect
the delivery of services
Resolving Noncompliance to
Civil Rights Requirements
What to do when individuals fail to comply:
STOP discriminatory actions
CHANGE organization’s procedures/policies
• Helps ensure that discrimination will not occur again
• Be sure to inform volunteers and staff about these
What can happen if you fail to correct
discriminatory practices?
Your organization can lose Federal food/financial
assistance! 
Filing Discrimination
How to handle consumers wishing to file a
discrimination complaint:
Listen politely to the consumer
Be aware of the bases for which discrimination
complaints may be filed with the TEFAP/CSFP:
• Race, color, national origin, age, sex, disability
Inform consumers that they should file complaints
within 180 DAYS of the discriminatory incident
NEVER 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 Discrimination
Send Discrimination
Complaints To….
Office of Adjudication
1400 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20250-9410 or call toll free (866)632-9992
Individuals that are hearing impaired or have speech
disabilities mt contact USDA through the Federal Relay
Service at (800)877-8339; or (800)845-6136 (Spanish).
USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.
Access for People with
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
Public Accommodation
What are considered places of public
Social service centers
Food banks
Mandated by the ADA that people with
Have an equal opportunity to
PARTICIPATE in and BENEFIT from goods
and services offered by a place of public
This should occur in the most integrated
setting that is appropriate
Rights of People with
People with disabilities must be:
Admitted or served regardless of their disability
Integrated into regular programs to the maximum extent
• However…separate programs for individuals with disabilities
are permitted where necessary
• Public accommodation may still need to provide opportunity for
individuals to benefit from regular program
• Ensures equal opportunity
Included in regular program
Given the choice to accept or decline special services or
Allowed to use a service animal if one is required because
of a disability.
Providing Assistance to People
with Disabilities
Public accommodations should consult with
individuals with disabilities wherever possible to
determine what types of aid/services they
Examples of aid/services:
Clearing hallways and doorways of unnecessary clutter
Exchanging written notes with a person who is deaf
Helping a person reach an item on the shelf
Providing a tape-recorded version of an informational
brochure for a person who is blind
• Verbally describing an item to a person who is blind
• Guiding a person in and out of the building
Many of these aids/services can be provided for
free or at low cost!
Providing Language Assistance
Organizations receiving Federal food/financial
assistance MUST provide meaningful access
to people with limited English language skills by
serving them in their primary language.
Outreach in other languages is important.
Translation/interpretation services must be
Services must be provided in a flexible way.
Shortage of resources does NOT eliminate this
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:
Interpretation is a skill that not all bilingual
individuals have.
Faithful interpretation
Seek professional interpretation services when a
staff member or volunteer feels uncomfortable with
interpretation responsibilities.
Types of Language Assistance
If a large proportion of your organization’s
consumers speak a language other than
Interpretation services can be obtained via
phone by calling:
Have a bilingual staff or volunteer available during
meals/food distributions
Language Line Services 1-877-886-3885
Document translation services also available
Language Identification Card
What to do when consumer is seeking
language assistance:
Ask them to point to their primary language on the
language ID card
Find staff or volunteer member for interpretation OR
seek professional interpretation services
See Language ID Card handout for more
Resolving Conflicts
Remain calm
Open lines of communication
Use the L.A.R.A. method:
Safety first!
Listen carefully to the other person
Affirm his/her feelings and concerns
Respond with appropriate action
Add information, provide options, and followup
Seek help if conflict is escalating or if there
are threats of violence.
Situations & Answers
Situation: 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
Situations & Answers
Answer: 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.
Situations & Answers
Situation: 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?
Situations & Answers
Answer: 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.
Situations & Answers
Situation: 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
Situations & Answers
Answer: 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.
Situations & Answers
Situation: An organization wants to include
religious literature with food packages that
contain USDA commodity food. Is this
Situations & Answers
Answer: Proselytizing is not allowed.
Situations & Answers
Situation: 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?
Situations & Answers
Answer: This is not a Civil Rights violation for TEFAP
or CSFP but it is a membership agreement violation.
Food Gatherers requires program to serve the public –
they cannot just serve church members. Please call
Food Gatherers and they will discuss the situation with
the pantry to ensure that all are served.
Situations & Answers
Situation: 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?
Situations & Answers
Answer: 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.
Situations & Answers
Situation: 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?
Situations & Answers
Answer: 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.
Situations & Answers
Situation: 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?
Situations & Answers
Answer: 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.
Situations & Answers
Situation: 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?
Situations & Answers
Answer: 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.
Situations & Answers
Situation: 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
Situations & Answers
Answer: 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
Customer Service
Treat all consumers with honesty and
Do not assume you know the
circumstances that bring a consumer to
your organization in search of assistance.
Communicate with consumers:
If a consumer is seeking services, then
she/he deserves services.
HOW they would like to be addressed
WHAT kind of assistance they would like
from your organization
Take Away Points
If site has eligibility requirements, they
must be:
Clearly posted
Clearly explained to consumers
Your site may refuse service to someone if
they pose a safety threat.
Anyone has the right to file a civil rights
Non-discrimination is the law!
Civil Rights Quiz
Click the link below to complete the
Civil Rights Quiz:
Contact Information
Marti Lachapell
Director of Agency Relations
Food Gatherers
[email protected]
(734) 761-2796
Language Line Services.
 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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