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About OCR

The Office of Civil Rights (OCR) coordinates the enforcement of equal opportunity and accessibility for Commerce employees, job applicants, and users of programs and services operated or funded by the Department.

Department Organization Order 20-10 - prescribes the functions and organization of OCR.

Organization

Mission

Ensure equal opportunity and accessibility for users of programs and services operated or funded by the Department; and ensure equal employment opportunity for Commerce employees and job applicants.

Vision

To be a CFO/ASA community that provides outstanding service to our customers through open communication, transparency, collaboration, and optimum use of our talents.

Core Values

  • RESPECT: We are professional, cooperative, and collaborative.
  • INTEGRITY: We are honest, open, and accountable.
  • CUSTOMER SERVICE EXCELLENCE: We are competent and knowledgeable professionals delivering high quality work products and services.
  • DIVERSITY & INCLUSION: We respect people’s differences while seeking understanding to create an environment where everyone feels valued and engaged.

Authority

OCR, a Departmental office, is headed by a Director who reports to and is responsible to the Chief Financial Officer and Assistant Secretary for Administration (the “CFO/ASA”) and the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Administration (the “DAS”). The Director shall be the advisor to the CFO/ASA and DAS regarding Department of Commerce (the “Department”) responsibilities under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended by the Equal Employment Act of 1972, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Sections 501, 504, and 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, as amended, Section 310 of the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978 (5 U.S.C. 7201), Executive Orders 11764, 11914, 11948, 12250 (nondiscrimination in Federally funded programs), 12106 and 13087 (nondiscrimination in Federal employment) and 12876, 12900, and 13021 (outreach to minority serving institutions) and all other statutes, Executive Orders, and regulatory provisions relating to equal employment opportunity, nondiscrimination, and civil rights.

The Director shall be assisted by a Deputy Director, who shall participate with the Director in management of the activities of the office, and who shall perform all functions of the Director in the latter’s absence. The Deputy Director shall also oversee Equal Employment Opportunity operations pertaining to the Decennial Census.

In addition to the authority implicit in and essential to carrying out the functions assigned to the Office, the Director:
 

  • Is delegated all authorities and responsibilities vested in the CFO/ASA and DAS for the development and management of all Office of Civil Rights and diversity policies and programs, including administration on behalf of the CFO/ASA and DAS as required by 29 CFR 1614: the direction, administration, processing and authority to take final action on all complaints of discrimination and all aspects of Affirmative Employment Planning.
  • Is authorized to redelegate authority to other officials of the Department, and within the Office of Civil Rights, subject to such conditions as may be prescribed.
  • Shall serve as adviser to, and the representative of, the CFO/ASA and DAS on all matters of Civil Rights/ Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) administration.
  • Is responsible for providing the full range of Civil Rights/EEO advice and services to the Office of Secretary and to such other components of the Department as may be warranted.

Functions

  • Have Department-wide staff responsibility for ensuring equal employment opportunity, including affirmative action, for employees and job applicants within the Department. This includes nondiscrimination in activities and projects supported by the Department, including Title VI, Title IX, nondiscrimination for individuals with disabilities and all other civil rights mandates.
  • Develop, direct, and coordinate Department programs, policies, and activities to ensure the accomplishment of EEO and civil rights responsibilities, and evaluate the implementation of these actions.
  • Provide guidance to the operating units in the performance of their EEO and civil rights responsibilities.
  • Develop and administer evaluation programs to determine the effectiveness of Department operating units’ EEO and civil rights performance, and report the results to the CFO/ASA and DAS, and the head of each affected Departmental office or operating unit;
  • Process EEO complaints within the Department and ensure that remedies ordered as a result of discrimination complaints or affirmative action initiatives:
    • accomplish what is intended by the remedy;
    • are permitted legally; and
    • appropriately resolve any conflicts between the rights of a victim of discrimination and the rights of an exclusive representative under any governing labor/management relations obligations.
  • Establish and maintain a close working relationship with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Department of Justice, Office of Personnel Management, Merit Systems Protection Board, and other government agencies; and cooperate closely with Departmental offices and operating units, particularly with the Office of Human Resources Management on EEO and personnel management matters.
  • With the Department’s General Counsel, advise the CFO/ASA and DAS and recommend corrective action on violations of civil rights or EEO statutes, Executive Orders, or regulations over which the Department has jurisdiction and for which legally sufficient corrective action has not been initiated.
  • Represent the Department and the CFO/ASA and DAS with other Federal agencies on matters regarding equal opportunity and affirmative action policies and programs of the Department.
  • Develop and administer a full range of activities involving the Department's relationships with minority-serving institutions and organizations dedicated to minority-focused education initiatives.
  • Administer the efforts in supporting and exploring activities that promote, recognize, and value diversity in the workforce. Provide staff support for the Department's Diversity Council.
  • Periodically establish a temporary, expedited complaint processing program to meet the unique needs of the Decennial Census.