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Subpart E-Nondiscrimination on

the Basis of Age

the Job Training Partnership Act, 29 U.S.C. 1501, et seq. (Authority: 42 U.S.C. 6101-6107)

AUTHORITY: Age Discrimination Act of 1975, as amended, 42 U.S.C. 6101, et seq.; 45 CFR part 90 (1979).

SOURCE: 50 FR 34133, Aug. 23, 1985, unless otherwise noted.

GENERAL

$ 18.501 Purpose.

The purpose of these regulations is to set out Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) policies and procedures under the Age Discrimination Act of 1975 and the governmentwide age

discrimination regulations at 45 CFR part 90. The Act and the governmentwide regulations prohibit discrimination on the basis of age in programs or activities receiving Federal financial assistance. The Act and the governmentwide regulations permit federally assisted programs and activities, and recipients of Federal funds, to continue to use age distinctions and factors other than age which meet the requirements of the Act and its implementing regulations. (Authority: 42 U.S.C. 6101-6107) (50 FR 34133, Aug. 23, 1985, as amended at 54 FR 34984, Aug. 23, 1989)

$ 18.503 Definitions.

As used in these regulations:

(a) Act means the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, as amended (Title III of Pub. L. 94-135, 42 U.S.C. 6101-6107).

(b) Action means any act, activity, policy, rule, standard, or method of administration; or the use of any policy, rule, standard, or method of administration.

(c) Secretary means the Secretary of Veterans Affairs or designees.

(d) Age means how old a person is, or the number of elapsed years from the date of a person's birth.

(e) Age discrimination means unlawful treatment based on age.

(f) Age distinction means any action using age or an age-related term.

(g) Age-related term means a word or words which necessarily imply a particular age or range of ages (for example, children, adult, older persons, but not student).

(h) Day means calendar day.

(i) Federal financial assistance means any grant, entitlement, loan, cooperative agreement, contract (other than a procurement contract or a contract of insurance or guaranty), or any other arrangement by which a Federal agency or department provides or otherwise makes available assistance in the form of:

(1) Funds; or (2) Services of Federal personnel; or

(3) Real and personal property or any interest in or use of property, including:

(i) Transfers or leases of property for less than fair market value or for reduced consideration; and

(ii) Proceeds from subsequent transfer or lease of property if the Federal share of its market value is not returned to the Federal Government.

(j) Recipient means any State or its political subdivision, any instrumentality of a State or its political subdivision, any public or private agency, institution, organization, or other entity, or any person to which Federal financial assistance is extended, directly or through another recipient. Recipient includes any successor, assignee, or

$ 18.502 Application.

(a) These regulations apply to any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance provided by VA directly or through another recipient.

(b) These regulations do not apply to:

(1) An age distinction contained in that part of a Federal, State, or local statute or ordinance adopted by an elected, general purpose legislative body which:

(i) Provides any benefits or assistance to persons based on age; or

(ii) Establishes criteria for participation in age-related terms; or

(iii) Describes intended beneficiaries or target groups in age-related terms.

(2) Any employment practice of any employer, employment agency, labor organization, any labor-management joint apprenticeship training program, except any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance for public service employment under

а

or

transferee, but excludes the ultimate beneficiary of the assistance.

(k) Subrecipient means any of the entities in the definition of recipient to which a recipient extends or passes on Federal financial assistance. A subrecipient is generally regarded as a recipient of Federal financial assistance and has all the duties of a recipient in these regulations.

(1) United States means the fifty States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, the Canal Zone, the Trust Territories of the Pacific Islands, the Northern Marianas, and the territories and possessions of the United States.

$ 18.512 Definitions of "normal oper

ation" and "statutory objective." For the purpose of these regulations, the terms normal operation and statutory objective shall have the following meaning:

(a) Normal operation means the operation of a program or activity without significant changes that would impair its ability to meet its objectives.

(b) Statutory objective means any purpose of a program or activity expressly stated in any Federal statute, State statute, or local statute or ordinance adopted by an elected, general purpose legislative body. (Authority: 42 U.S.C. 6101-6107)

(Authority: 42 U.S.C. 6101-6107)

STANDARDS FOR DETERMINING AGE

DISCRIMINATION

§ 18.511 Rules against age discrimina

tion.

The rules in this section are limited by the exceptions contained in $18.513 and 18.514 of these regulations.

(a) General rule. No person in the United States shall, on the basis of age, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under, any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.

(b) Specific rules. A recipient may not, in any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance, directly or through contractual licensing, or other arrangements, use age distinctions or take any other actions which have the effect, on the basis of age, of:

(1) Excluding individuals from, denying them the benefits of, or subjecting them to discrimination under, a program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance; or

(2) Denying or limiting individuals in their opportunity to participate in any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.

(c) The specific forms of age discrimination listed in paragraph (b) of this section do not necessarily constitute a complete list. (Authority: 42 U.S.C. 6101-6107)

$ 18.513 Exceptions to the rules

against age discrimination; normal operation or statutory objective of

any program or activity. A recipient is permitted to take an action, otherwise prohibited by $ 18.511, if the action reasonably takes into account age as a factor necessary to the normal operation or the achievement of any statutory objective of a program or activity. An action reasonably takes into account age as a factor necessary to the normal operation or the achievement of any statutory objective of a program or activity, if:

(a) Age is used as a measure or approximation of one or more other characteristics; and

(b) The other characteristic(s) must be measured or approximated in order for the normal operation of the program or activity to continue, or to achieve any statutory objective of the program or activity; and

(c) The other characteristic(s) can be reasonably measured or approximated by the use of age; and

(d) The other characteristic(s) are impractical to measure directly on an individual basis. (Authority: 42 U.S.C. 6101-6107) $ 18.514 Exceptions to the rules

against age discrimination; reason

able factors other than age. A recipient is permitted to take an action otherwise prohibited by $ 18.511 which is based on a factor other than age, even though that action may have a disproportionate effect on persons of

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different ages. An action may be based on a factor other than age only if the factor bears a direct and substantial relationship to the normal operation of the program or activity or to the achievement of a statutory objective. (Authority: 42 U.S.C. 6101-6107) 8 18.515 Burden of proof.

The burden of proving that an age distinction or other action falls within the exceptions outlined in $8 18.513 and 18.514 is on the recipient of Federal financial assistance. (Authority: 42 U.S.C. 6101-6107)

(b) Recipient assessment of age distinctions. (1) As part of a compliance review under $18.541 or complaint investigation under $18.544, the Secretary may require a recipient employing the equivalent of 15 of more employees to complete a written self-evaluation, in a manner specified by the responsible agency official, of any age distinction imposed in its programs or activities receiving Federal financial assistance from VA to assess the recipient's compliance with the Act.

(2) Whenever an assessment indicates a violation of the Act or these regulations, the recipient shall take corrective action.

(Authority: 42 U.S.C. 6101-6107)

$ 18.516 Affirmative action by recipi

ents. Even in the absence of a finding of discrimination, a recipient may take affirmative action to overcome the effects of conditions that resulted in limited participation in the recipient's program or activity on the basis of age. (Authority: 42 U.S.C. 6101-6107)

$ 18.534 Information requirements.

Each recipient shall:

(a) Make available upon request to VA information necessary to determine whether the recipient is complying with the Act and these regulations.

(b) Permit reasonable access by VA to the books, records, accounts, and other recipient facilities and sources of information to the extent necessary to determine whether the recipient is in compliance with the Act and these regulations.

RESPONSIBILITIES OF DEPARTMENT OF

VETERANS AFFAIRS RECIPIENTS

(Authority: 42 U.S.C. 6101-6107)

INVESTIGATION, CONCILIATION, AND

ENFORCEMENT PROCEDURES

$ 18.531 General responsibilities.

Each VA recipient must ensure that its programs and activities are in compliance with the Act and these regulations. (Authority: 42 U.S.C. 6101-6107) $ 18.532 Notice of subrecipients.

Where a recipient passes on Federal financial assistance from VA to programs and activities of subrecipients, the recipient shall provide the subrecipients written notice of their obligations under the Act and these regulations with respect to such programs and activities. (Approved by the Office of Management and Budget under control number 2900-0400) (Authority: 42 U.S.C. 6101-6107)

$ 18.541 Compliance reviews.

(a) VA may conduct compliance reviews and preaward reviews of recipients or use other similar procedures that will permit it to investigate and correct violations of the Act and these regulations. VA may conduct these reviews even in the absence of a complaint against a recipient. The review may be as comprehensive as necessary to determine whether a violation of these regulations has occurred.

(b) If a compliance review preaward review indicates a violation of the Act or these regulations, VA will attempt to achieve voluntary compliance with the Act. If voluntary compliance cannot be achieved, VA may institute enforcement proceedings as described in $ 18.546. (Authority: 42 U.S.C. 6101-6107)

or

$ 18.533 Assurance of compliance and

recipient assessment of age distinc

tions. (a) Each recipient of Federal financial assistance from VA shall sign a written assurance as specified by the Secretary that it will comply with the Act and these regulations.

cial to whom the complaint was referred. (Approved by the Office of Management and Budget under control number 2900-0401) (Authority: 42 U.S.C. 6101-6107)

$18.542 Complaints.

(a) Any person, individually or as a member of a class or on behalf of others, may file a complaint with VA alleging discrimination prohibited by the Act or these regulations based on an action occurring on or after July 1, 1979. A complainant shall file a complaint within 180 days from the date the complainant first had knowledge of the alleged act of discrimination. However, for good cause shown, VA may extend this time limit. Complaints may be submitted to the Director, Office of Equal Opportunity (06B), Department of Veterans Affairs, 810 Vermont Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20420.

(b) VA will attempt to facilitate the filing of complaints wherever possible, including taking the following measures:

(1) Acknowledging receipt and acceptance of a complaint in writing.

(2) Accepting as a sufficient complaint, any written statement which identifies the parties involved and the date the complainant first had knowledge of the alleged violation, describes generally the action or practice complained of, and is signed by the complainant.

(3) Freely permitting a complainant to add information to the complaint to meet the requirements of a sufficient complaint.

(4) Widely disseminating information regarding the obligations of recipients under the Act and these regulations.

(5) Notifying the complainant and the recipient of their rights and obligations under the complaint procedure, including the right to have a representative at all stages of the complaint procedure.

(6) Notifying the complainant and the recipient (or their representatives) of their right to contact VA for information and assistance regarding the complaint resolution process.

(c) VA will refer a complaint of discrimination based on age to another appropriate Federal agency when the complaint is outside the jurisdiction of VA. VA will notify the complainant in writing that the complaint has been referred; explain the reason why the complaint is not within the jurisdiction of VA; and give the complainant the name, agency, and address of the offi

8 18.543 Mediation.

(a) Referral of complaints for mediation. VA will refer to the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service all complaints that:

(1) Fall within the jurisdiction of the Act and these regulations; and

(2) Contain all information necessary for further processing.

(b) Both the complainant and the recipient shall participate in the mediation process to the extent necessary to reach an agreement or make an informed judgment that an agreement is not possible. However, the recipient and the complainant need not meet with the mediator at the same time.

(c) If the complainant and the recipient reach an agreement, the mediator shall prepare a written statement of the agreement and have the complainant and the recipient sign it. The mediator shall send a copy of the agreement to VA. VA will take no further action on the complaint unless the complainant or the recipient fails to comply with the agreement.

(d) The mediator shall protect the confidentiality of all information obtained in the course of the mediation process. No mediator shall testify in any adjunctive proceeding, produce any document, or otherwise disclose any information obtained in the course of the mediation process without prior approval of the head of the mediation agency.

(e) VA will use the mediation process for a maximum of 60 days after the responsible agency official receives a complaint.

(f) Mediation ends if:

(1) 60 days elapse from the time the responsible agency official receives the complaint; or

(2) Prior to the end of that 60-day period, an agreement is reached; or

(3) Prior to the end of that 60-day period, the mediator determines that an agreement cannot be reached.

(g) The mediator shall return unresolved complaints to VA. (Authority: 42 U.S.C. 6101-6107)

VA's investigation, conciliation, and enforcement process. (Authority: 42 U.S.C. 6101-6107)

re

$ 18.544 Investigation.

(a) Informal investigation. (1) VA will investigate complaints that are opened because of a violation of a mediation agreement.

(2) As part of the initial investigation VA will use informal fact finding methods, including joint or separate discussions with the complainant and recipient to establish the facts and, if possible, settle the complaint on terms that are mutually agreeable to the parties. VA may seek the assistance of any involved State program agency.

(3) VA will put any agreement in writing and have it signed by the parties and an authorized official from the VA.

(4) The settlement shall not affect the operation of any other enforcement effort of VA, including compliance reviews and investigation of other complaints which may involve the recipient.

(5) A settlement need not contain an admission of discrimination or other wrongdoing by the recipient nor should it be considered a finding of discrimination against the recipient.

(b) Formal investigation. If VA cannot resolve the complaint through informal investigation, it will begin to develop formal findings through further investigation of the complaint. If the investigation indicates a violation of these regulations, VA will attempt to obtain voluntary compliance. If voluntary compliance cannot be achieved, VA may institute enforcement proceedings as described in $18.546. (Authority: 42 U.S.C. 6101-6107)

$ 18.546 Compliance procedure.

(a) VA may enforce the Act and these regulations through:

(1) Termination of Federal financial assistance from VA with respect to a recipient's program or activity that has violated the Act or these regulations. The determination of the recipient's violation may be made only after a recipient has had an opportunity for a hearing on the record before an administrative law judge. Therefore, cases which are settled in mediation, or prior to a hearing, will not involve termination of a recipient's Federal financial assistance from VA.

(2) Any other means authorized by law including but not limited to:

(i) Referral to the Department of Justice for proceedings to enforce any rights of the United States or obligations of the recipient created by the Act or these regulations.

(ii) Use of any requirement of or referral to any Federal, State, or local government agency that will have the effect of correcting a violation of the Act or these regulations.

(b) VA will limit any termination under paragraph (a)(1) of this section to the particular program or activity or part of such program and activity of a recipient that VA finds to be in violation of the Act or these regulations. VA will not base any part of a termination on a finding with respect to any program or activity of the recipient which does not receive Federal financial assistance from VA.

(c) VA will take no action under paragraph (a) of this section until:

(1) The Secretary has advised the recipient of its failure to comply with the Act and these regulations and has determined that voluntary compliance cannot be obtained.

(2) Thirty days have elapsed after the Secretary has sent a written report of the circumstances and grounds of the action to the committees of the Congress having legislative jurisdiction over the Federal program or activity involved. The Secretary will file a report whenever any action is taken under paragraph (a) of this section.

$ 18.545 Prohibition against intimida

tion or retaliation. A recipient may not engage in acts of intimidation or retaliation against any person who:

(a) Attempts to assert a right protected by the Act or these regulations; or

(b) Cooperates in any mediation, investigation, hearing, or other part of

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