Civil Rights Program

Any person eligible to receive disaster aid or other services from FEMA is entitled to those benefits without discrimination. Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects individuals from discrimination on the basis of their race, color, or national origin in programs that receive Federal financial assistance. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 affords comparable guarantees to individuals with disabilities, and adds protections against bias in programs conducted by the government itself. Section 508 of this law deals specifically with access to computers and information technology. Section 308 of the Robert T. Stafford Emergency Management and Disaster Assistance Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, nationality, sex, age, or economic status in all disaster assistance programs.

The Civil Rights Program section of the Office of Equal Rights provides the following services:

Technical Assistance - The office offers policy guidance to the Agency in meeting Civil Rights mandates. In disaster operations, staff works closely with community organizations to resolve tensions and eliminate potential complaints. The office also provides assistance to the Agency and the national emergency management community in the effort to make publications, programs, and facilities accessible to people with disabilities.

Complaints Resolution - Anyone who believes they have been discriminated against in receiving services or benefits from FEMA may contact OER. Disaster applicants can obtain help from an Equal Rights Officer (ERO) through the FEMA Helpline. If the ERO cannot resolve the issue, a formal written complaint may be filed with OER. This office is responsible for processing complaints, acknowledgement, acceptance/dismissal, investigations, compliance reviews, and issuing final decisions.

Last Modified: Tuesday, 21-Mar-2006 08:56:44 EST