Office for Civil Rights
The Metro Region is supervised by an Associate Enforcement Director (AED) who is responsible for directing the operations of the Regional Office to meet OCR program objectives, including management of its staff and financial resources. The Office implements the civil rights statutes and regulations for which OCR is responsible by using a variety of approaches to resolve complaint investigations and compliance reviews to ensure equal access to education and to promote educational excellence through vigorous enforcement of civil rights; provides legal support to Metro staff; negotiates and resolves sensitive civil rights issues with high level officials; recommends cases for enforcement; provides assistance to help recipients correct noncompliance; engages in Early Complaint Resolution; and implements a technical assistance program at the state and local levels to promote understanding of civil rights legal responsibilities.
The Office also prepares and implements Metro's budget and its portion of the Annual Operating Plan and provides input on civil rights issues and supporting services to other offices in its own Enforcement Divisions and other Enforcement Divisions. The Office coordinates with the Resource Management Component on management and administrative matters as appropriate.
The Office implements an effective communications program with key Federal, State, local, and private civil rights officials, organizations, and the general public; and recruits, selects and trains employees. The Office participates with the Program Legal Component in policy, procedure, and program development. In the Immediate Office there is a Chief Attorney, Program Manager, Administrative Officer, Computer Specialist position, and an Assistant Support position.
The AED coordinates with the Enforcement Division Management Team (Enforcement Coordinator and other AEDs) and reports directly to an Enforcement Director. The AED serves as rating official for the Program Manager and Chief Attorney and as approving official for the Compliance and Enforcement Team Leaders. The AED works with the Team Leaders to identify strategies for improving the functioning of the teams. The AED meets periodically with each of the teams in carrying out this responsibility. The AED serves as rating official for immediate office staff.
The Program Manager, in collaboration with other Metro managers develops and updates region-wide plans and projects, such as the Proactive Enforcement Docket, the Annual Regional Operating Plan, or the Profile, Assessment and Resolution review compliance program; analyzes, prepares, and provides the AED with information and advice concerning meeting OCR's program and operations objectives, the number of compliance activities completed, and adherence to OCR compliance decisions and policies. The Program Manager assists in planning Metro's enforcement strategy, setting Metro's program priorities, managing resources and participating in management and administrative decisions concerning personnel, staff development, budget, ethics, conduct and other related matters. The Program Manager is responsible for planning and developing high quality training, Quality Improvement, and customer service programs .
The Chief Attorney makes final decisions on legal matters that cannot be resolved within the team, and meets periodically with the attorneys to promote discussions on significant legal and policy issues. The Chief Attorney ensures timely dissemination and explanation of policy and legal matters, including decisions or issues brought to his attention by the Attorneys. The Chief Attorney has primary responsibility for training legal staff.
Compliance and Enforcement Teams
Each Compliance and Enforcement Team is composed of the Team Leader, two Attorneys, six Equal Opportunity Specialists and three Support Assistant positions. Receiving leadership and support from the AED and immediate office staff, each Compliance and Enforcement Team resolves sensitive and complex civil rights complaints and compliance reviews. Functioning as a team with full delegated authority and responsibility from the AED, each Team:
- Conducts complaint investigations and compliance reviews of preschool, elementary and secondary institutions, vocational technical schools, institutions of postsecondary education, vocational rehabilitation agencies and providers under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, and conducts complaint investigations and compliance reviews of public entities for which the U.S. Department of Education serves as the designated agency under the regulations implementing Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.
- Uses a variety of approaches to resolve complaints and compliance reviews to ensure equal access to education and to promote educational excellence through vigorous enforcement of civil rights.
- Provides assistance to recipients as part of the complaint investigation and compliance review process.
- Monitors implementation of remedial action plans.
- Recommends cases for enforcement when voluntary compliance cannot be achieved or when otherwise appropriate.
- Conducts proactive enforcement activities that bring resources to bear on behalf of a well-defined student population facing discrimination; develop strong, educationally sound civil rights remedies that increase educational opportunity for those students; and ensure that OCR will be prepared to move towards enforcement if results are not achieved as anticipated.
- Exercises primary State responsibility in one State to identify and foster State-wide contacts with education and civil rights organizations. The purpose of these contacts is to obtain relevant information about civil rights issues within the State, and to educate organizations about the civil rights laws.
- Responds when assigned to requests for technical assistance on civil rights requirements to beneficiaries and recipients of Department of Education funds. This is done through on-site visits, public speaking engagements, training workshops, conferences and meetings, responding to requests for materials and publications, and responding to inquiries.
- Participates annually in the identification and setting of proactive enforcement priorities to be addressed by OCR in the next fiscal year.
- Provides team input to all regional and OCR databases and reporting systems.
- With other regional site locations, advises and assists recipients to resolve issues identified during complaint investigations and compliance reviews.
- Ensures all actions are legally sufficient.
NOTE: The structure of the Metro Region is similar to those of OCR's other Regional components. The others are not printed in this Manual in order to eliminate duplication.
OCR has four Enforcement Divisions, each consisting of three regional locations. Each regional location has the same general organizational structure and conducts the core business i.e., civil rights enforcement performed by Complaint Review and Compliance Teams. Each Enforcement Division is managed by a team that includes a non-supervisory Enforcement Coordinator (EC) and three Associate Enforcement Directors (AEDs). The Enforcement Division Management Teams have responsibility for coordinating the program operations and resource management of three regional site locations. In addition, they implement program initiatives and manage staff and financial resources at individual offices. The members of the Enforcement Division Management Team report directly to one of the Enforcement Directors.