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Equal Employment Opportunity Laws, Statutes, and Regulations


Legal mandates and regulations dictate and define the Coast Guard’s Equal Opportunity policies.  Some of the laws and applicable statutes include the Equal Pay Act of 1963 as amended, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and 1991 as amended, and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967.

Military Equal Opportunity policies are generally based on precepts set forth in civilian equal employment opportunity policy. However, the military Equal Opportunity Program is based on the concepts of the 1964 and 1991 Civil Rights Acts.  Federal statutes and regulations applicable to civilian Equal Employment Opportunity programs do not apply, and the EEOC has no jurisdiction over military cases.

Civil Rights Laws and Statutes

29 CFR Part 1614 prohibits employment discrimination on the bases of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age and disability, as well as retaliation, and applies to employment discrimination by the federal government.

U.S. Code Title 42, Chapter 21 -- Civil Rights prohibits discrimination against persons based on age, disability, gender, race, national origin and religion (among other things) in a number of settings including education, employment, access to businesses and buildings, and federal services. In Chapter 21 a number of federal acts related to civil rights have been codified including the Civil Rights Act of 1866, Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.

Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects against discrimination based on race, color, and national origin in any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance (e.g., the State Recreational Boating Safety Grant Program).  The Federal grant application process requires applicants to provide a standard Title VI Assurance Agreement.

The Civil Rights Act of 1991 provides monetary damages up to $300,000 in cases of intentional employment discrimination for Federal EEO complaints.

The Equal Pay Act of 1963 (EPA) protects men and women who perform substantially equal work in the same establishment from sex-based wage discrimination.

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA) protects individuals who are 40 years of age or older.

Title I and Title V of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990(ADA) prohibit employment discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities in the private sector and in state and local governments.

The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 requires Government employers to ensure equal employment opportunities to persons having physical or mental disabilities that substantially limit one or more major life activities.  Sections 501 and 505 prohibit discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities who work in the federal government.  It protects disabled persons otherwise qualified for the jobs they seek and requires employers to make “reasonable accommodation” to their disabilities.  This Act also requires a form of affirmative employment substantially different from the usual concept: all agencies are required to have affirmative employment plans to hire, place, and advance disabled individuals.  The non-discrimination provisions affect Federal employers. 

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 as amended (29 USC 790) protects against discrimination based on any physical or mental disability by any program or activity the Federal Government sponsors.

Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 requires that when Federal agencies develop, procure, maintain, or use electronic and information technology, Federal employees with disabilities have access to and use of information and data that are comparable to the access and use by Federal employees without disabilities, unless an undue burden would be imposed on the agency. Section 508 also requires that members of the public with disabilities who seek information or services from a Federal agency have access to and use of information and data that are comparable to those provided to the general public, unless an undue burden would be imposed on the agency.

Architectural Barriers Act of 1968 requires that buildings and facilities designed, constructed, altered, or leased with certain federal funds after September 1969 must be accessible to and usable by handicapped persons.

Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972 prohibits discrimination based on sex in educational institutions receiving Federal funds and covers programs and activities such as student loans and scholarships, access to courses, housing, health services, athletics, career services and publications. 

Section 402 of the Veterans' Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974 requires affirmative action to employ and advance in employment qualified special disabled veterans and veterans of the Vietnam era and prohibits discrimination based on Vietnam-era veteran status or special disabled veteran status in federally assisted programs.

Veterans’ Rights Title 5 U.S.C. Chapter 35; Title 10 U.S.C. § 1143(d); Title 38 U.S.C. Chapters 42 and 43, all pertain to veterans’ employment and re-employment rights.

The Civil Service Reform Act of 1978 requires Federal employers to recruit and employ a labor force as diverse as the nation’s available workforce and forbids them from discriminating on the basis of marital status or political affiliation.  Senior Executive Service employees’ performance appraisals measure their effectiveness in achieving equal employment opportunities for Federal workers and meeting affirmative employment goals for their department.  Executives’ promotions, raises, or bonuses reflect the results of these efforts. 

The National and Community Services Act of 1990 (as amended by PL 106-170) directs each Federal agency head to design and carry out a comprehensive strategy to involve employees in a partnership program with elementary and secondary schools to enhance students’ educational opportunities and career awareness.  This law serves as the basis for the Coast Guard's Partnership in Education Program.

Student Employment Program (5 CFR.213.3202(a)-(d) provides opportunities for students to obtain exposure to Coast Guard careers while gaining work experience and earning income to help with school expenses.  The students can obtain employment in this program through their counseling and placement offices.

Notification and Federal Employee Antidiscrimination and Retaliation Act of 2002, (No FEAR Act) requires that Federal agencies be accountable for violations of antidiscrimination and whistleblower protection laws.  The Act also requires an agency to provide this notice to Federal employees, former Federal employees and applicants for Federal employment to inform them of the rights and protections available to them under Federal antidiscrimination and whistleblower protection laws.


Executive Orders

Executive Order 14035, "Executive Order on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility in the Federal Workforce," states that the Federal Government must be a model for diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility (DEIA).

Executive Order 13985, "Executive Order On Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government," charges the federal government to revise agency policies to account for racial inequities in their implementation.

Executive Order 14901, "Executive Order on Further Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through The Federal Government," builds upon previous equity-related Executive Orders by extending and strengthening equity-advancing requirements for federal agencies.

Executive Orders 11246 (1965) and 11375 (1967) bar discrimination in Federal employment based on race, religion, color, or national origin.  These Executive Orders require agencies to establish Equal Opportunity programs and complaint procedures.  Executive Order 11375 amended Executive Order 11246 to prohibit discrimination based on sex as well.  As a result of this order, the Federal Women’s Program was established.  

Executive Order 11478 (1969) establishes the principles of affirmative employment for Federal employees and requires the Federal Government to create affirmative programs to ensure equal employment opportunities for minorities and women.  If an agency finds a manifest imbalance or conspicuous absence of minorities and women among its workers, the agency may consider qualified applicants’ sex or race in the selection process until the agency’s labor force is brought to parity.  The Order integrates the Federal Women’s Program into the overall EEO program and brings it under the stewardship of agency EEO directors.  The EEOC enforces the Order.

Executive Order 12876, “Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs)” advances the development of human potential, strengthens the capacity of historically Black colleges and universities to provide quality education, and increases opportunities to participate in and benefit from Federal programs.

Executive Order 12898,  “Federal Actions to Address Environmental Justice in Minority Populations and Low-income Populations,” protects minority and/or low-income communities against disproportionately adverse human health or environmental effects from any Federally conducted or assisted programs, policies, or activities.  This program establishes the basis for the Coast Guard's Environmental Justice Program in the Civil Rights Directorate.

Executive Order 12900, “Educational Excellence For Hispanic Americans,” advances the development of human potential, strengthens the Nation’s capacity to provide high-quality education, and increases opportunities for Hispanic Americans to participate in and benefit from Federal education programs.

Executive Orders 13078 (1998) and 13172 (2000) increase the employment of adults with disabilities to a rate that is as close as possible to the employment rate of the general adult population and support the goals articulated in the findings and purpose section of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.

Executive Order 13084, Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments.  The United States Government has a unique legal relationship with Native American tribal governments as set forth in the Constitution of the United States, treaties, statutes, and court decisions.  Executive Orders 13083 and 13084 outline principles that executive departments and agencies must follow in their interactions with Native American tribal governments.  The purpose of these principles is to clarify agency responsibility to ensure that the Federal Government operates within a government-to-government relationship with federally recognized Native American tribes.  In carrying out these responsibilities, the Coast Guard will consider Tribal interests in formulating Service policy.  The Coast Guard will also ensure appropriate involvement of Tribal Governments in making decisions and managing Service programs that may affect reservation policies.

Executive Order 13087 (1998) prohibits discrimination against civilian employees of the Federal Government based on their real or perceived sexual orientation.

Executive Order 13096, American Indian and Alaska Native Education, affirms the unique political and legal relationship of the Federal Government with tribal governments.  The Federal Government has a special, historic responsibility for the education of American Indian and Alaskan Native students.  Improving educational achievement and academic progress for these students is vital to the national goal of preparing every student for responsible citizenship, (continued) learning, and productive employment.  In recognition of the unique educational and culturally related academic needs of American Indian and Alaskan Native students, six goals were defined to assist Federal agencies to help fulfill its commitment to the students.  These goals are:  (1) improving reading and mathematics; (2) increasing high school completion and postsecondary attendance rates; (3) reducing the influence of long-standing factors that impede educational performance, such as poverty and substance abuse; (4) creating strong, safe, and drug-free school environments; (5) improving science education, and (6) expanding the use of educational technology.   

Executive Order 13145 To Prohibit Discrimination in Federal Employment Based on Genetic Information provides equal employment opportunity in Federal employment for all qualified persons and prohibits discrimination against employees based on protected genetic information or information about a request for or the receipt of genetic services. This policy of equal opportunity applies to every aspect of Federal employment.  

Executive Order 13152  Further Amendment to Executive Order 11478, Equal Employment Opportunity in Federal Government, May 2, 2000.

Executive Order 13163, Increasing the Opportunity for Individuals With Disabilities To Be Employed in the Federal Government, promotes an increase in the opportunities for individuals with disabilities to be employed at all levels and occupations of the Federal Government, supports the goals articulated in section 501 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (29 U.S.C. 791), increases understanding of the reasonable accommodations available for persons with disabilities, and permits persons with disabilities to compete for employment on a more level playing field.

Executive Order 13164 (2000) requires Federal Agencies to Establish Written Procedures for Processing Requests of Reasonable Accommodation, July 26, 2000.

Executive Order 13166 (2000) improves Access to Services for Persons with Limited English Proficiency - August 11, 2000.

Executive Order 13171 Hispanic Employment In The Federal Government improves the representation of Hispanics in Federal employment, within merit system principles and consistent with the application of appropriate veterans' preference criteria, to achieve a Federal workforce drawn from all segments of society.

Executive Order 13216 (2001)  Amendment to Executive Order 13125, Increasing Participation of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in Federal Programs, June 6, 2001. (Changes title to Increasing Opportunity and Improving Quality of Life of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and extends the term of the President's Advisory Commission on Asian and Pacific Islanders).

Executive Order 13230 (2001)   President's Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans, October 12, 2001.


Presidential Proclamation

Presidential Proclamation 5112 (3 October 1983) establishes the National Partnership in Education (PIE) Program under which each Executive Department forms partnerships with local schools.  The Proclamation suggests elements of agency programs including employees volunteering in tutoring programs, sponsoring field trips and tours, providing classroom speakers, and participating in classroom seminars.

New Freedom Initiative (February 2001)  promotes the full integration of people with disabilities into all aspects of American life. The goals of this comprehensive plan include expanding educational and employment opportunities; increasing access to assistive technologies and public accommodations; and providing accessible transportation and housing options for individuals with disabilities.  The New Freedom Initiative builds upon the progress made by the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) in protecting the civil rights of approximately 54 million Americans with disabilities. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has taken a lead role in implementing the employment goals of the Initiative.


EEOC Directives

EEOC Management Directive 110 provides Federal agencies with Commission policies, procedures, and guidance relating to the processing of employment discrimination complaints governed by the Commission’s regulations.

EEOC Management Directive 715 provides new guidance on the elements of legally compliant Title VII and Rehabilitation Act programs. This Directive requires agencies to take appropriate steps to ensure that all employment decisions are free from discrimination. It also sets forth the standards by which EEOC will review the sufficiency of agency Title VII and Rehabilitation Act programs, which include periodic agency self-assessments and the removal of barriers to free and open workplace competition.

Providing Urgent Maternal Protections (PUMP) for Nursing Mothers Act, effective April 28, 2023, requires a reasonable break time and private space for employees to express breast milk for their nursing child.

Pregnancy Workers Fairness Act (PWFA) is a law that requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to a worker’s known limitations related to pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions, unless the accommodation will cause the employer an “undue hardship.”


Architectural Barriers Act of 1968 (42 U.S.C. §§ 4151—57)

The Architectural Barriers Act (ABA) requires access to facilities that are designed, built, altered, or leased with Federal funds. The Access Board is the federal agency responsible for enforcing the ABA. The Access Board's accessibility standards are available on their website at, and information about filing a complaint may be found at


DHS Policy Statements, Directives, and Instructions

Instruction 047-01-007, Revision 03, Handbook for Safeguarding Sensitive Personally Identifiable Information (December 4, 2017)

Directive 065-01, Nondiscrimination for Individuals with Disabilities in DHS-Conducted Programs and Activities (Non-Employment) (September 25, 2013)

Directive 065-02, Revision 00, Equal Employment Opportunity Special Emphasis Programs (August 31, 2015)

Instruction 065-02-001, Revision 00, Equal Employment Opportunity Special Emphasis Programs (SEPs) (September 16, 2015)

Directive 065-04, Revision 00, Equal Employment Opportunity Alternative Dispute Resolution Program (December 12, 2016)

Policy Statement 256-06, Anti-Harassment Policy Statement (April 1, 2019)

Directive 256-01, Revision 02, Anti-Harassment Program (May 24, 2019)

Instruction 256-01-001, Revision 00, Anti-Harassment Program (June 7, 2019)

Directive 259-01, Revision 00, Providing Reasonable Accommodations for Employees and Applicants with Disabilities (March 8, 2013)

Instruction 259-01-001, Revision 00, Providing Reasonable Accommodations for Employees and Applicants with Disabilities (March 13, 2013)

Instruction 259-01-002, Revision 00, Procedures for Conducting a Department-wide Search for a Reassignment as a Reasonable Accommodation of Last Resort (March 8, 2013)


USCG EO Manual, Policy Statements, and Commandant Instructions

Coast Guard Civil Rights Manual

Anti Discrimination and Anti Harassment Policy Statement *Updated 27 May 2024*

Equal Opportunity Policy Statement *Updated 27 May 2024*

Coast Guard Accessible Systems and Technology Program (ASTP); Section 508; COMDTINST 5230.60C


Extra Links

DHS Civil rights and Civil Liberties


Coast Guard

EEOC Manual

Department of Defense Military Equal Opportunity (MEO) Program