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Thursday, July 18, 2024

Department of Transportation Joins Seven Other Federal Agencies Working to Combat Religious Discrimination

DOT has also pledged additional actions to combat discrimination and raise awareness about antisemitic behavior, particularly in passenger transportation settings like transit and commercial aviation.

As described in the recently published National Strategy to Counter Antisemitism, on September 28 the U.S. Department of Transportation joined seven other Federal agencies – the Departments of Agriculture, Labor, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Homeland Security, Interior, and Treasury – to release its first-ever fact sheet clarifying that Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination based on actual or perceived ancestry or ethnic characteristics and prohibits certain forms of antisemitic, Islamophobic, and other religiously biased behavior in federally supported programs and activities. 

“Religious freedom has been a core principle of our country since its founding, and part of upholding that principle is to ensure that everyone, of every faith, has the right to move freely and safely through our transportation systems,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “At the Department of Transportation, we will continue working to ensure every member of the traveling public knows their civil rights, and continue enforcing those rights when they are violated.”

“As we continue to strengthen our rigorous enforcement of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, we want the public to know their rights. No matter how you look or what you sound like, members of the public have a right not to be discriminated against while traveling across our many transportation systems,” said Irene Marion, director of the DOT’s Departmental Office of Civil Rights.

Title VI prohibits discrimination based on race, color, and national origin. Title VI protections also extend to individuals who experience discrimination or harassment because of actual or perceived ancestry, ethnicity, or connection to another country with a dominant religion or distinct religious identity. Examples of this kind of discrimination include: 

  • Racial, ethnic, or ancestral slurs or stereotypes
  • How an individual looks, including skin color, physical features, or style of dress that reflects both ethnic and religious traditions
  • An accent or name, including names commonly associated with a particular shared ancestry or ethnic characteristics, or speaking a non-English language

DOT is committed to ensuring that all people feel safe and welcome on U.S. transportation systems, which is why the Department released the fact sheet, in addition to other work to eliminate discriminatory behavior in transportation. These fact sheets will be distributed broadly to help educate Americans about their rights under Title VI, including the right for an individual who believes they were a victim of discriminatory behavior to file a complaint with the Federal government. 

DOT recently published the Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Action Plan as part of the Department’s Equity Action Plan, which outlines the work that the Department is doing to help these communities overcome systemic barriers to economic opportunity and persistent disparities in access, safety, and other considerations across the transportation system. 

Through the National Strategy to Counter Antisemitism, a comprehensive and ambitious U.S. government effort to counter antisemitism, DOT has also pledged additional actions to combat discrimination and raise awareness about antisemitic behavior, particularly in passenger transportation settings like transit and commercial aviation.

DOT is committed to delivering a transportation system that protects the civil rights of all members of the traveling public, regardless of what they believe, how they look, or what they sound like. 

Read the full fact sheet at the Department of Transportation

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