OCR Functions and Responsibilities




Department Organization Order 20-10 - prescribes the functions and organization of the Office of Civil Rights.




.01 This Order prescribes the functions and responsibilities of the Office of Civil Rights. (The position of Director for Civil Rights is authorized in DOO 10-5.)

.02 This revision establishes a Deputy Director position, the Departmental Policy and Evaluation Division, and the Program Implementation Division; abolishes the Programs, Planning and Systems Division transferring the functions to the newly established Departmental Policy & Evaluation Division; abolishes the Compliance Division transferring the functions to the newly established Program Implementation Division; and generally updates the Order.




The Office of Civil Rights, 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.

.02 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:

a. 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.

b. 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.

c. 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.

d. 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.




Pursuant to the authority vested in the CFO/ASA and the DAS by DOO 10-5, and subject to such policies and directives as the CFO/ASA and DAS may prescribe, the Office of Civil Rights shall:

a. Have Department-wide staff responsibility for ensuring EEO, 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.

b. 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.

b. Provide guidance to the operating units in the performance of their EEO and civil rights responsibilities.

c. 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;

d. Process EEO complaints within the Department and ensure that remedies ordered as a result of discrimination complaints or affirmative action initiatives:

1. accomplish what is intended by the remedy;

2. are permitted legally; and

3. 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.

f. 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.

g. 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.

h. 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.

i. Maintain liaison with minority groups and women's organizations within and outside of the Department.

j. 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.

k. 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.

l. Periodically establish a temporary, expedited complaint processing program to meet the unique needs of the Decennial Census.




Under the supervision of the Director, the functions of the Office are organized and carried out as follows:

a. The Departmental Policy & Evaluation Division shall:

1. Develop policies, guidelines, and procedures for implementing, monitoring, and enforcing and assessing Departmental compliance with the requirements of applicable civil rights, diversity, and equal employment statues, regulations, Executive Orders and management directives.

2. Prepare Department affirmative employment program plans which contain Department-wide EEO goals and objectives, employment and other barriers faced by EEO groups and solutions or alternatives to such barriers.

3. Manage a comprehensive system by which the Department's affirmative employment program efforts are planned, implemented, monitored and evaluated; provide guidance and technical assistance to Departmental offices and operating units on development of affirmative employment plans, programs, proposals and other related activities.

4. Establish and maintain EEO data systems to monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of EEO and affirmative employment programs and activities.

5. Provide guidance, assistance and aid to Departmental offices and operating units to promote equal opportunity training; develop, implement, evaluate and, where appropriate, adopt for Department-wide application, innovative methods in affirmative employment initiatives.

6. Ensure that the Department's affirmative employment activities are in compliance with legal, regulatory and oversight agency requirements by developing appropriate Department Administrative Orders, Civil Rights Bulletins, and other policy issuances or instructions.

7. Develop policy and administer a program for implementing civil rights programs covering activities and programs receiving Department funds, and for activities and programs conducted by the Department, as provided by law.

8. Provide technical assistance to Departmental offices and operating unit EEO managers in conducting external civil rights programs, programs pertaining to minority-serving institutions, and diversity initiatives.

9. Develop policy and administer a program for implementing Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR) initiatives Department-wide; provide technical assistance to Departmental offices and operating unit EEO managers in conducting the ADR program; and manage the Department's Persons with Disabilities Program.

10. Provides staff support to the Department Diversity Council and serves as a liaison to the Office of Human Resources Management on affirmative employment planning and recruitment activities.

b. The Program Implementation Division shall:

1. Be responsible for Departmental compliance with and enforcement of applicable civil rights and equal employment statutes, regulations, policies and Executive Orders and management directives.

2. Provides EEO counseling and mediation services to employees and managers, and investigates complaints.

3. Carries out information and awareness activities concerning civil rights and equal employment protections, policies and complaint procedures, and supports other departmental programs for affirmative employment and diversity.

4. Establishes and maintains a uniform Departmental EEO complaint processing system for current employees and applicants for employment with the Department.

5. Reviews the qualifications of persons nominated by Departmental offices and operating units to be designated EEO Officer and make recommendations to the Director of Civil Rights.

6. Reviews and monitors Department offices and operating units' EEO complaint programs and advise the Director of Civil Rights of noncompliance with Departmental policies, regulations or procedures, and conduct EEO investigations.


7. Prepares Final Agency Decisions on EEO complaints for the Director's signature and process appeals of Final Agency Decisions to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

8. Serves as focal point for the Office's coordination with the Departmental Office of the General Counsel.

9. Carries out information and awareness activities concerning civil rights training initiating and promoting program activities for EEO groups including outreach and cultural awareness programs.

10. Manages the Hispanic Employment Program, and Minority Service Institutions Program which includes Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Hispanic Servicing Institutions, and the Tribal Colleges.




This Order supersedes Department Organization Order 20-10, dated January 18, 1991, as amended.

Signed - Chief Financial Officer and Assistant Secretary for Administration

USCOMM- DC - 01-8911

Office of Civil Rights (OCR)
U.S. Department of Commerce

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Page last updatedSeptember 1, 2011