Regulation of Recipients of Federal Funds

Author:George Rutherglen

Recipients of federal funds, like federal contractors, are subject to special prohibitions against discrimination tied to their receipt of federal money. Again, the Rehabilitation Act, in section 504, provides an example of this form of regulation.[930] This provision itself was modeled on Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964,[931] which prohibits racial discrimination by recipients of federal funds. Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 [932] also follows the model of Title VI in prohibiting sex discrimination by educational institutions that receive federal funds.

Title VI prohibits employment discrimination only "where a primary objective of the Federal financial assistance is to provide employment.""[933] Title VI has therefore been limited in its application to employment cases. Its coverage was further restricted by a decision of the Supreme Court that applied its prohibitions only to the precise programs that received federal funds.[934] This decision applied to all statutes modeled on Title VI, but it was superseded by legislation that expanded the coverage of these statutes to reach all the operations of an entity if any part of it received federal funds.[935] Title VI, however, has been limited in other ways as well, particularly insofar as regulations under Title VI prohibit practices with disparate impact. These regulations were upheld by the Supreme Court, but in a decision denying the availability of compensatory relief.[936] Most recently, the Supreme Court has also denied a private right of action for enforcing these regulations.[937]

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 is limited only to sex discrimination in educational institutions. Unlike Title VI, however, Title IX prohibits employment discrimination by educational institutions regardless of the purpose of the federal funding.[938] The usual remedy under Title IX, as under Title VI, is a public action, either through administrative proceedings to cut off federal funding or in court to require compliance with the statute.[939] Private plaintiffs can nevertheless bring individual actions to enforce Title IX, as well as Title VI.[940]

A number of other statutes that authorize the award of federal funds prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, national origin, sex, and religion in the funded programs. There are, for instance, the Public Works Employment Act of 1977,[941] the Railroad Revitalization and Regulatory Reform Act,[942] and the Housing and...

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