Unemployed workers whose English-speaking skills are limited will be getting more help from the state Commerce Department.
The state agency entered into an agreement with the U.S. Department of Labor over deficiencies in its unemployment and employment assistance programs for non-English-speaking workers.
The problems were uncovered in a compliance review conducted by Labor’s Civil Right Center after a discrimination complaint was filed by Legal Aid of North Carolina.
The state is obliged to provide meaningful access to people with limited English skills in programs that receive federal financial assistance.
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The Commerce Department issued a statement this week noting that the federal compliance review “began and ended in 2013 involving practices from previous administrations.”
Before the review was concluded, the statement continued, the department’s Division of Employment Security and Division of Workforce Solutions worked on improving the system.
“Nearly three years later we received the review findings, and as acknowledged by USDOL, are committed to non-discrimination,” the statement concluded. “The Department of Commerce is also committed to making continuous improvements now that it has some indication from the DOL as to the current expectations.”
Under the agreement, the state has, among other things, agreed to: correct deficiencies in translating written materials and providing interpretation services for those with limited English proficiency; publicize that language assistance is available; notify customers that they have language access rights; and develop and implement a plan to provide meaningful access to those with limited English proficiency.