Click here to skip navigation Home  |  Subject Index  |  Important Links  |  Contact Us  |  Help

U.S. Office of Personnel Management - Ensuring the Federal Government has an effective civilian workforce

Advanced Search

Training and Development Policy

Training Policy Handbook

Equal Employment Opportunity Concerns and Merit Principles

Federal organizations are required to include in their equal employment opportunity plans provisions for training and education programs designed to provide opportunities for employees to advance and perform at their highest potential. This provision does not change existing, or provide new, training authority for organizations but does influence the direction of training. See Title 42 USC §2000e-16(b).

Selection and Assignment for Training

Agencies' training programs must consider all employees fairly. Procedures for the selection of employees for training must meet the following requirements:

  1. The head of each agency shall provide training for employees without regard to race, creed, color, national origin, sex, disability, or other factors unrelated to the need for training. See E.O. No. 11348 §302 (1967), as amended.

  2. The head of each agency shall prescribe procedures as are necessary to ensure that the selection of employees for training is made without regard to political preference, race, color, religion, national origin, sex, marital status, age, or handicapping condition, and with proper regard for their privacy and constitutional rights as provided by merit system principles set forth in Title 5 USC §2301(b)(2). See Title 5 CFR §410.302(a)(1)

Merit Promotion Procedures

Agency merit promotion procedures must be followed in selecting employees for training that is primarily to prepare trainees for advancement and that is not directly related to improving performance in their current positions. For example, merit promotion procedures apply to training:

  1. to prepare an employee for a promotion; and

  2. whose purpose, or effect, is to allow an employee to meet, in whole or in substantial part, minimum educational requirements set by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM), or other training required for assignment to a different position with higher promotion potential.

Under the authority of Title 5 USC §4103, and consistent with merit system principles set forth in Title 5 USC §2301(b)(1) and (2), an agency may provide training to non-temporary employees that in certain instances may lead to promotion. An agency must follow its competitive procedures under Title 5 CFR Part 335 when selecting a non-temporary employee for training that permits noncompetitive promotion after successful completion of the training. See Title 5 CFR §410.307(b).

Consideration of Employees with Disabilities

An agency must ensure that employees with a physical or mental disability are equally considered in the selection and assignment of employees to training. Title 29 CFR §1614 covers nondiscrimination procedures that govern Federal employment and training for people with disabilities.

Prohibition Against the Selection of Training Facilities that Deny Access

Agencies are prohibited by law from using a training facility that discriminates in the admission or treatment of students because of race, color, sex, religion, or national origin. See Title 5 CFR §410.302(a)(3). Agencies must also ensure that discrimination does not result from the use of training facilities that deny access on other grounds, such as lack of "reasonable accommodation" of people with disabilities. See Title 5 CFR §410.302(a)(2) and Presidential Memorandum to the Office of Personnel Management, June 2, 1977.

Accessibility of Training Facilities

Agencies may pay expenses necessary to make training accessible to employees with disabilities under Title 5 USC §4109. For hearing-impaired employees, agencies may pay for interpreters. For the visually impaired, agencies may pay for readers and tapes or braille learning materials.

Under Title 5 USC §3102(d), agencies may pay for individuals to accompany or aid employees with disabilities traveling on official business (including travel for training) within prescribed U.S. Office of Personnel Management and U.S. General Services Administration salary, travel, and per diem rates for Federal employees.

OPM has determined that it will make every practical effort to ensure that its Federal Executive Institute (FEI) and Management Development Centers (MDC) are accessible to participants with disabilities. OPM pays the cost of readers and interpreters for Federal employees attending its FEI and MDC programs. Agencies must notify OPM of the employee's need for assistance when registering an employee for program. Notification should occur at least four weeks prior to the beginning of the program.