Consumer Civil Rights

The purpose of this annual course is to increase/refresh your knowledge and understanding of (a) civil rights laws as they apply to providing services and (b) the agency’s non-discrimination practices. 

Following the course you will be able to:

  1. Identify what "Civil Rights" means in the context of our Agency's services
  2. Comply with Agency nondiscrimination requirements
  3. Understand the Agency’s discrimination complaint process for youth or adults who believe their civil rights have been infringed upon while receiving services with our Agency


Our Commitment to Equal Access to our Services

Uplift Family Services promotes and ensures that people have equal access and the opportunity to participate in the Agency’s services and programs without facing unlawful discrimination.

We carry out this commitment by enforcing Federal and State laws and regulations that prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, religion, age, sexual orientation and Limited English Proficiency and other “protected characteristics” in Agency programs and activities.

This presentation is focused on the rights of consumers of our services. Information and procedures related to Civil Rights discrimination complaints by Agency employees described in Agency Policies and Procedures (# 311, 313, 316, 322, 325 and 332), are handled by our Human Resources department and are addressed in other courses.

Preventing Discrimination

What are Civil Rights?

Civil Rights are the rights of individuals to receive equal treatment (and to be free from unfair treatment or discrimination) in a number of settings -- including education, employment, housing, health care and more -- and are based on certain legally-protected characteristics.  Civil Rights are guaranteed and protected by the U.S. Constitution, Federal and State laws.

Civil Rights include:

·         Freedom of speech

·         The right to vote

·         Due process of the law

·         Equal protection of the laws, and

·         Protection from unlawful discrimination

Uplift Family Services is committed to following both Federal and California Civil Rights laws in the provision of services to our consumers.  Below is a list of a few Civil Rights laws that govern our services:

  • Civil Rights Act of 1964
  • Rehabilitation Act of 1973
  • Age Discrimination Act of 1975
  • Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990

Our goal is to ensure our services and programs are non-nondiscriminatory, and that no person be subject to discrimination based on

  • Race
  • Color
  • National origin
  • Sex
  • Physical or mental disability
  • Religion
  • Age
  • Sexual orientation
  • Limited English Proficiency (LEP)
  • Ancestry
  • Medical condition
  • Marital status
  • AIDS/HIV status
  • Genetic information
  • Political activities or affiliations
  • Military or veteran status
  • Immigration status or
  • Status as a victim of domestic violence, assault or stalking

As an employee of the Agency, you are responsible for ensuring that every person you serve is treated fairly and in accordance with the regulations and laws protecting unfair discrimination.  

What is Discrimination?

Discrimination in the context of Civil Rights law refers to the "practice of unfairly treating a person or group of people differently from other people or groups of people."

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Federal and state laws prohibit discrimination on the basis of any of the following characteristics in programs and activities receiving federal or state financial assistance. 

  • Race

  • Color
  • National origin
  • Sex
  • Religion
  • Age
  • Sexual Orientation
  • Limited English Proficiency (LEP)
  • Ancestry
  • Physical or mental disability
  • Medical condition
  • Marital status
  • AIDS/HIV status
  • Genetic information
  • Political activities or affiliations
  • Military or veteran status OR
  • Status as a victim of domestic violence, assault, or stalking

Serving those with Physical Disabilities

The Agency has created policies and procedures to reasonably accommodate persons with physical disabilities.

Auxiliary Aids and services can include:

  • Large print materials;
  • Brailled or voice-recorded text;
  • Telecommunication devices for the deaf (TDD);
  • Sign language interpreters; or
  • Employee's assistance with completing forms (also those with low literacy)

IMPORTANT: Never ask if a consumer has a disability, but document it if he/she discloses a disability.  Do not assume a disability based upon observation either; the consumer may have a temporary condition rather than a permanent disability.

Serving Limited English Proficient (LEP) and Non English Proficient (NEP) persons

Improving access to services for persons with Limited English Proficiency (LEP) requires that the Agency provide services so LEP persons can have meaningful access to such services.  The United States is home to millions of individuals who are Limited English Proficient and Non English Proficient (NEP).

LEP persons are individuals who do not speak English as their primary language and who have a limited ability to read speak, write, or understand English.   NEP persons may not communicate in English at a level that permits them to interact effectively with social services agencies.  Providing meaningful access to LEP and NEP consumers includes the successful use of professional interpreters, translated written materials and intake forms, and certified bilingual employees and/or bicultural employees. 

Communication Barriers

People who have language barriers experience negative effects when Language Access services are not provided, such as:

·         Denial of needed benefits and services

·         Delay in delivery of services

·         Wrong benefits or services

·         Ineffective or less effective services

Legal Obligation

Providing families that are LEP and NEP meaningful access to services and programs requires the Agency to provide access to timely, quality language assistance services to Limited English Proficiency and Non-English Proficiency persons.  The key is to standardize as much as possible our efforts to improve language access for our consumers.

Interpreter Services

The Agency’s Interpreter Services policy states that all eligible consumers will receive equal access to services and under no circumstances will a client be denied services because of language barriers. (See Policy #215 - Language Interpreter Services)

In many circumstances, the assistance of a professional interpreter will be necessary and a preferred option.  However, when bilingual staff members are asked to interpret, they should be certified bilingual staff who have passed a bilingual interpreter test in the language they will be interpreting and are included on a list maintained by the Agency’s Human Resources department.  Assessment of ability, training on interpreter ethics and standards, and clear policies that delineate appropriate use of bilingual employees, or contract interpreters promotes quality services for the people the Agency serves and provides an effective use of resources.

It's important to note:

  • Interpreter services are available at no additional cost to the consumer
  • Agency staff cannot require that family members provide interpreter services
  • If an individual insists on using a family member or friend as an interpreter, he/she may do so only after being informed of the availability of free interpreter services
  • ​ Minor children cannot be used as interpreters
  • Agency staff and consumers have access to Language Line Services interpreter services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week

LEP resources and a list of approved interpreter services in your region are available on our Agency intranet site.  From the homepage, find and click the Language Interpreter Assistance link. 

Test Your Knowledge: Which civil rights laws govern our services to consumers?

  • Civil Rights Act of 1964
  • Rehabilitation Act of 1973
  • Age Discrimination Act of 1975
  • Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990
  • All of the above

Test Your Knowledge: Define Discrimination

Drag and drop the words below to fill in the blanks.

  • practice
  • unfairly
  • differently

Test Your Knowledge: In what ways can we provide reasonable accommodations to consumers with physical disabilities?

Check all that apply.

  • Ask them if the have a physical disability
  • Provide them with large print materials
  • Sign language interpreter
  • Assist them with completing forms

Test Your Knowledge: Interpreter Services

  • If agency resources are limited, staff may require that family members provide interpreter services.
  • Interpreter services are available at no additional cost to the consumer
  • If an individual insists on using a family member or friend as an interpreter, he/she may do so only after being informed of the availability of free interpreter services
  • ​ Minor children can be used as interpreters
  • Agency staff and consumers have access to Language Line Services interpreter services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week

Complaint Process

Internal Procedure

All consumers receive information regarding their civil rights as they apply to the services they are receiving through our intake process.  If an individual believes his/her civil rights have been violated, they have the right to file a complaint.  Civil rights complaints are reviewed and considered based on whether  discrimination towards one or more of the protected classes or characteristics has occurred.  Below is a diagram of our internal complaint process.

When a complaint is received by our Agency’s  Civil Rights Officer, it is reviewed by an internal team of executive leaders to evaluate the validity of the allegations and determine if an investigation is warranted.  If further investigation is required, the Civil Rights Officer will oversee the completion of an investigation and a decision for appropriate resolution of the complaint.  

If you would like more information about this process, additional details can be found in Policy #1500 - Civil Rights Policy and Complaint Processing Procedures.

Your Responsibilities

If a consumer believes his or her civil rights have been violated, the consumer has the option of filing a civil rights discrimination complaint directly with the Agency, the Federal Office of Civil Rights or the Civil Rights Coordinator in the County where services were provided.  A complaint form, Q&A document and additional information can be found on the Civil Rights page of our agency website at the link below.

Uplift Family Services - Civil Rights

If a consumer needs assistance locating the form or filling out basic information, it is your responsibility to assist the consumer and submit the form to the email address listed below.  Below is the contact information for our Civil Rights Officer.


Civil Rights Officer

Hotline: (408) 364.4005  |  Fax: (408) 423.6402

Email: [email protected]

Address: 251 Llewellyn Ave. Campbell, CA  95008


Any questions, concerns or needs related to the Agency’s policies, procedures, and other information related to providing programs that are nondiscriminatory and protect the civil rights of the children and families we serve should be directed to your immediate supervisor, regional leadership team or the Civil Rights Officer.

Test Your Knowledge

  • If someone believes his or her civil rights have been violated they have a right to file a complaint
  • All complaints are reviewed by the agency Civil Rights Officer with a team of executive leaders
  • Specific details and forms regarding the Civil Rights Complaint process can be found in agency Policy & Procedure #1500
  • Consumers that believe their civil rights have been violated must file a complaint directly with our agency
  • It is our responsibility to provide assistance to consumers if they need help with completing a civil rights complaint


Thank you for the work you do.