Office of Equal Opportunity - LEP FAQ

Limited English Proficiency

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. How will I recognize a Limit English Proficient (LEP) person?

A. A LEP Person is one whom does not speak English as a primary language AND has limited ability to read, speak, write or understand English.

Q. Does LEP apply to all conditions?

A. Hearing or visual impairments - Sign language interpretation and Braille texts are accommodations of disabilities provided under the Americans with Disabilities Act and/or Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

Illiteracy - LEP individuals protected by the Executive Order and Title VI are those who not only cannot speak, read, or write English, but primarily speak, read or write a language other than English.

Employment Issues – Human Resources issues and employment issues are not covered in the LEP guidelines within Title VI.

Road Signs – Road Signs are optional translation services that SHA could provide (already provided in parts of Prince George ’s County), but is not mandated under LEP guidelines.

Q. Why LEP?

A. SHA is required under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and other federal and state laws, to provide services and meaningful access to all persons who are limited in the English language, whether by speaking, reading, or writing. No person should ever be denied SHA services because they can not communicate in English.

Q. Who is affected by LEP?

A. All programs and operations of entities that receive federal funds or assistance (recipients and sub-recipients)

  • State agencies
  • Local agencies
  • Private and not-for-profit entities

Failure to comply may be national origin discrimination under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and other federal and state laws.

Q. What is a federally conducted activity?

A. All federal agencies subject to Executive Order 13166 must design and implement a federally conducted plan to ensure access for LEP individuals to all of its federally conducted programs and activities (basically, everything that it does).

Q. Who will enforce the LEP rules?

A. Most federal agencies have an office that is responsible for enforcing Title VI of the Civil Rights Act. To the extent that a recipient's actions are inconsistent with their obligations under Title VI, then such agencies will take the necessary corrective steps.

Q. What are recipients of federal funds and federal agencies required to do to meet LEP requirements?

A. Recipients and federal agencies are required to take reasonable steps to ensure meaningful access to their programs and activities by LEP persons. While designed to be a flexible and fact-dependent standard, the starting point is an individualized assessment that balances the following four factors:

  1. The number or proportion of LEP persons eligible to be served or likely to be encountered by the program or grantee;
  2. the frequency with which LEP individuals come in contact with the program;
  3. the nature and importance of the program, activity, or service provided by the program to people's lives; and
  4. The resources available to the grantee/recipient or agency, and costs. As indicated above, the intent of this guidance is to find a balance that ensures meaningful access by LEP persons to critical services while not imposing undue burdens on small business, or small nonprofits.

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