ENSURING NONDISCRIMINATION AT OUR NATION’S AIRPORTS
Ensuring Nondiscrimination at Our Nation’s Airports
By: Marcus H. England, Team Lead National Airports Civil Rights Policy & Compliance FAA Office of Civil Rights
Every day, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) works to ensure no traveler faces discrimination at our nation’s more than 5,000 public airports. The FAA’s Office of Civil Rights is responsible for the development and implementation of civil rights and equal opportunity policies and programs. Title VI of the Civil Rights Act requires, among other things, that airport sponsors ensure there is nondiscrimination in all facets of airport operations. To ensure compliance with the act, signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson on July 2, 1964, the FAA works with its external partners to guarantee that no traveler or person seeking to do business at the nation’s public airports faces discrimination. As the anniversary date approaches, the FAA continues its efforts to educate and help ensure there is no discrimination at the nation’s airports.
What is the FAA’s role in airport nondiscrimination?
Airport sponsors who receive grants under the FAA Airport Improvement Program are obligated by the civil rights requirements of Title VI, CFR Part 21. Collectively, these authorities prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, or creed.
Airport operators, airport staff, contractors, concessionaires, and other entities licensed to operate at the airport must comply with these nondiscrimination laws and regulations. The FAA has established policy and addresses all complaints of unlawful discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, religion, creed, sexual orientation, and disability in federally operated and federally assisted airport programs.
Through the Airport Nondiscrimination Compliance Program, the FAA works with the owners and operators of public airports across the country to prevent the unequal treatment of travelers and businesses. To accomplish this mission, the agency partners with the Department of Justice, the Department of Transportation’s Office of Consumer Protection, and stakeholder groups to ensure compliance with Title VI requirements.
How does the FAA ensure airports comply with Title VI laws and regulations?
Each airport is encouraged to have a designated employee to coordinate Title VI compliance issues and most airports employ such a coordinator. These employees work closely with the FAA and look to the Airport Nondiscrimination Compliance Program team for training and guidance.
As part of our compliance duties, the FAA conducts airport compliance reviews. Risk-based factors such as prior complaints, airport renovation projects, airport size, or the interval since the last review guide selection of airports for these reviews. Elements covered in the review include interviews of selected airport staff, evaluation of concessionaire training and policies, and review of airport contracts to ensure the inclusion of nondiscrimination language/clauses. The FAA shares lessons learned from its Title VI reviews with airport sponsors and others in the aviation industry during training conferences and webinars.
How does the FAA, other federal agencies and stakeholder groups stay informed of changes to Title VI laws and regulations?
Several times each year, the FAA provides updates at stakeholder conferences and collaborates with federal agencies on nondiscrimination compliance matters. The agency also sponsors a Civil Rights Training Conference for Airports where attendees receive specific training on regulatory updates, Executive Orders, Title VI guidance and best practices. The 2022 virtual training conference will be held July 26-28, 2022. How does someone file an airport Title VI complaint with the FAA and how is it addressed?
The number of airport Title VI complaints received by the FAA each year varies. Any member of the public can file a complaint alleging violations of Title VI requirements by mailing the FAA at:
Federal Aviation Administration (ACR-4) 800 Independence Ave., SW Washington, DC, 20591 Room 1030, FOB 10-A
The FAA investigates all complete complaints involving airports, and issues written determinations to address the concerns. If an airport sponsor is found to be out of compliance with Title VI requirements, the FAA works to resolve the issue with the airport and complainant. The FAA also assists Title VI coordinators or designees to conduct their own investigations when complaints are filed locally.
How do I get more information on Title VI?
Read more about the program through these resource links:
Additional policy, regulations, and laws pertaining to Title VI can be found at: https://www.faa.gov/about/office_org/headquarters _offices/acr/com_civ_support/national_airport_ policy_compliance/
Airport Civil Rights Program National Airport Policy and Compliance https://www.faa.gov/about/office_org/headquarters_ offices/acr/policy_law_regulation/
Office of Civil Rights EEO Policies, Laws & Regulations Civil Rights Training Conference for Airports
Marcus H. Englund is the Program Manager of the National Airport Civil Rights Policy and Compliance
Team in the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Office of Civil Rights in Washington DC. He leads a staff that is responsible for the oversight of federal civil rights policy and compliance at airports receiving federal funding as it relates to the Americans with Disabilities Act, Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights
Act, and the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Program (airport business opportunities including airport construction projects and airport concessions). Marcus prefers using a common sense approach to civil rights as ensuring equal opportunity, equal access, and equity is a win for all of us. Why not have equality and equity?
Marcus is a graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) with a B.S. in Business Administration and Management. Marcus values leadership and has completed various leadership training programs in both the private sector and the federal government during his career. Marcus is an active and Life Member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc.