U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs

Limited English Proficient (LEP)

Discrimination on the Basis of National Origin - Limited English Proficient (LEP) Individuals

Title VI's prohibition of discrimination on the basis of national origin has been interpreted by courts to include discrimination on the basis of English proficiency. Under Title VI (and the Safe Streets Act), recipients are required to provide LEP individuals with meaningful access to their programs and services. Providing "meaningful access" will generally involve some combination of oral interpretation services and written translation of vital documents.

The Department of Justice's Guidance to Federal Financial Assistance Recipients Regarding Title VI Prohibition Against National Origin Discrimination Affecting Limited English Proficient Persons provides additional information for recipients about their Title VI obligations. This guidance includes a Four Factor Analysis, which recipients can use to determine what steps they should take to provide meaningful access for LEP individuals. The following resources are available:

More information related to LEP can be found at LEP.gov.

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