This bill — known as the Equity and Inclusion Enforcement Act — would allow for private civil causes of action for disparate impact violations of generally applicable federal regulations that prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, color, or national origin in educational programs or activities that receive federal financial assistance. Under current Supreme Court precedent based on a 2001 decision, victims of civil rights violations are prohibited from bringing a private right of action against a federally-funded entity if the violation was based on the theory of disparate impact, under which certain racial groups experience discriminatory effects from a policy that appears neutral.
Education programs that receive financial assistance authorized or extended by the Dept. of Education (ED) would be required to designate at least one compliance coordinator to carry out nondiscrimination responsibilities and investigate complaints. The bill would require ED to appoint a Special Assistant for Equity and Inclusion to promote, coordinate, and evaluate equity and inclusion programs; and also advise ED on matters related to equity and inclusion.