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Equal Opportunity

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Richard Bradford
Equal Opportunity Administrator – Title VI/ADA

Phone: (863) 534-6075
Toll Free: (800) 780-5346


Street Address:
330 W. Church St.
Bartow, FL 33830

Office Hours of Operation:
Monday through Friday
8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Whether you are looking to become a vendor with Polk County, a resident trying to get information or trying to land a Polk County job Polk County’s Equal Opportunity Office wants to make sure you are treated fairly.

This division oversees many important functions within Polk’s government, which includes:

  • Investigating discrimination and sexual harassment complaints
  • Ensuring compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act
  • Practicing progressive minority recruitment and hiring practices to promote careers with Polk County
  • Promoting contractual bid opportunities for women and minority businesses. Click here to to submit a bid to the county.
  • Providing quarterly and annual workforce statistics
  • Conducting training on equal employment laws and practices


Polk County’s Equal Opportunity Division investigates and resolves discrimination and sexual harassment complaints made against the county. Anyone who wishes to file a complaint should contact the division at (863) 534-6075 or

Title VI Discrimination
Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 forbids federal aid recipients from excluding from participation, denying the benefits of or subjecting to discrimination anyone on the basis of race, color or national origin.

It is the policy of the Polk County Board of County Commissioners to operate its projects, programs, services and activities in full compliance with federal nondiscrimination laws, including Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Civil Rights Restoration Act of 1987 and related federal and state statutes and regulations.

In compliance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the county prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, or national origin in programs, projects, and activities receiving federal financial assistance. The county guarantees fair treatment for all people and will identify and address any disproportionately high and adverse effects of its programs, policies, and activities on minority and low-income populations, where applicable. The county will take reasonable steps to ensure that limited English proficiency persons have meaningful access to the programs, services and information the county provides.

The equal opportunity administrator, or designated representative, shall investigate all complaints alleging discrimination based on race, color or national origin in county programs, projects and services, and ensure civil rights compliance and monitoring. All Title VI complaints against the county shall be submitted to the equal employment administrator, or designee, on the fourth floor of the County Administration Building, 330 W. Church St., Bartow, FL.

Employment Discrimination
Polk County prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, political affiliation or belief, marital status or disability or any other reason prohibited by law.

Americans with Disabilities Act
The county also prohibits discrimination based on disability, in compliance with ADA. The ADA prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in employment, transportation, public accommodation, communications and governmental activities. Disability discrimination occurs when an employer, or other entity covered by the ADA or Rehabilitation Act, treats a qualified individual with a disability unfavorably because of a disability.

Disability discrimination also occurs when an employer or other entity treats an applicant or employee less favorably because they have a history of a disability, or because they are believed to have a physical or mental impairment.

How to file a complaint
Complaints of discrimination against the county must be forwarded, in writing, to the equal opportunity administrator or designated representative within 30 calendar days following the alleged discrimination. Intake forms are located in the Equal Opportunity Division on the fourth floor of the Administration Building, 330 W. Church St., Drawer CA05, Bartow, FL 33830. All complaints must include the following items of information:

  • Name of the charging party, work location and telephone number
  • The basis for the alleged discrimination, which could include race, color, sex, age, religion, national origin, marital status, political affiliation or belief, physical handicap or any other reason prohibited by law
  • A short statement of the actions and circumstances that caused the act or acts of discrimination to occur, including the date, time and place
  • Name, title and office/division of the individual(s) responsible for the alleged act(s) of discrimination
  • List any witnesses or persons having knowledge of the event(s)

Diversity and Education

Community Relations Advisory Council
The Community Relations Advisory Council (CRAC) is an advisory board that advises and assists the County Commission and other agencies in creating educational programs, projects focused on the elimination of prejudice, racial tension, intolerance and all forms of discrimination.

Workforce Demographics
In order to comply with state and federal laws, the county conducts an analysis of its workforce to make sure it complies with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Affirmative Action guidelines. The ultimate goal of the workforce analysis is to determine whether the county’s workforce mirrors Polk County’s labor force.

Equal Opportunity Action Plan

Title VI Plan
The Polk County Board of County Commissioners receives federal financial assistance and is required to comply with various nondiscrimination laws and regulations. As part of those requirements, the county complies with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which forbids discrimination against anyone in the United States because of race, color, or national origin by any agency receiving federal funds.

The Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1973 also added the requirement that there be no discrimination on the grounds of sex. Additionally, the Civil Rights Restoration Act of 1987 defined the word “program” to make clear that discrimination is prohibited throughout an entire agency if any part of the agency receives federal financial assistance.

Below are the components outlined in the BoCC’s Title VI Plan:

I. Title VI and related statutes nondiscrimination requirements

II. Other Nondiscrimination Requirements

  • Limited English Proficiency Assistance
  • Environmental Justice

III. Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973

IV. Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Program

You can find the Title VI Plan here

Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Plan
Polk County is an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer and has established this Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Plan as a method of documenting and formulating the organization’s commitment to equal employment opportunity for all people without regards to race, religion, color, age, sex, national origin, disability or marital status. The plan measures the organization’s effectiveness and is an important element of the county’s management system. It precludes preferential treatment, quota systems, or reduction in job-related qualifications solely to increase minority or female representation.

This plan examines the county’s current work force by equal opportunity job category, analyzes the use of minorities and females, presents reasonable goals to overcome any underutilization, and establishes measurable objectives to meet those goals.

Programs and Services

Limited English Proficiency Assistance

Polk County will make reasonable efforts to ensure its programs, services and activities are meaningfully accessible to those who do not speak English proficiently. These include:

  • Identifying county employees who are fluent in languages in addition to English to act as translators whenever necessary
  • Utilizing Google’s translator on all sites posted on the county website in order to allow individuals to translate information regarding programs and services into their language of choice
  • To determine if or when alternate language usage is required for meaningful access, the county will assess the program, service or activity using the following four factors:
    • The number or proportion of LEP persons eligible to be served or likely to be encountered by the county’s programs, services or activities
    • The frequency with which LEP individuals come in contact with these programs, services or activities
    • The nature and importance of the program, service, or activity to people’s lives
    • The resources available to the county and the costs

Persons requiring special language services should contact Polk County’s Equal Opportunity Division, Fourth Floor, Polk County Administration Building, 330 W. Church St., Drawer CA05, Bartow, FL 33830 or call (863) 534-5901.

The purpose of the Polk County Board of County Commissioners (BoCC) Limited English Proficiency (LEP) (LEP) is to clarify our responsibilities as a recipient of federal financial assistance from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and implement a plan detailing our responsibilities to LEP persons, pursuant to Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This LEP plan was prepared in accordance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 USC 2000d, et seq., and its implementing regulations provide that no person shall be subjected to discrimination on the basis of race, color, or national origin under any program or activity that receives federal financial assistance. It also complies with Executive Order 13166 “Improving Access to Services for Persons with Limited English Proficiency,” reprinted at 65 FR 50121 (August 16, 2000), which directs each Federal agency that is subject to the requirements of Title VI to publish guidance for its respective recipients clarifying that obligation. Executive Order 13166 further directs that all such guidance documents be consistent with the compliance standards and framework detailed in the Department of Justice’s (DOJ’s) Policy Guidance entitled “Enforcement of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 – National Origin Discrimination Against Persons with Limited English Proficiency” (See 65 FR 50123, August 16, 2000 DOJ’s General LEP Guidance). Different treatment based upon a person’s inability to speak, read, write, or understand English may be a type of national origin discrimination.

It is the intent of the BoCC, that in providing language services to persons with limited English proficiency, the process achieves, a balance that ensures meaningful access to programs and services, while not incurring undue burden on resources of the organization. A Limited English Proficiency person is one who does not speak English as their primary language and who has a limited ability to read, speak right or understand English.

This plan details how the BoCC identifies people who may need language assistance the ways in which Assistance may be provided, how did notify LEP persons that assistance is available and information for future plan updates.

Who is the plan is intended to assist?
This Limited English Proficiency plan applies to individuals who do not speak English as their primary language, and who have a limited ability to read, speak, write, or understand English. For example, the scope of the plan would not extend to the following:

The hearing or visually impaired, sign language, interpretation and braille text, are accommodations provided under the Americans with disabilities act.

Illiteracy – the inability to speak read or write English and conditions that may trigger language assistance under Title VI are distinguished with a key factor. A LEP person cannot speak. Read or write English, but primarily speaks read, or write in a language, other than English.

Four factor analysis
To help determine the BoCC’s extent of obligation to provide LEP services, the BOCC follows the US Department of Transportation, four factor LEP analysis, which considers the following: 1) the number or proportion of LEP persons eligible in the county to be served, are likely to encounter a BOCC program, activity or service; 2) the frequency with which LEP individuals come in contact with a BOCC program; 3) the nature and importance of the program, activity or service provided by the BOCC to the LEP population; and 4) the resources available to the BOC C, and overall cost to provide LEP assistance. A brief description of these considerations is provided in the following section.

The number or proportion of LEP persons, eligible to be served or likely to encounter a BOCC program, activity or service

The BoCC, examined the US, Census Bureau‘s American community survey data, included as appendix, A, and determined that approximately 18.9% of, or 106,519 people in Polk County age 5 and older spoke a language other than English at home and 8%, or 45,055, stated they speak English less than very well. Hispanics comprise the largest non-English-speaking language group. There were 198,663 Hispanic/Latinos or 27.4% of the Polk County population in spoken language other than English at home and 6.6% of the population said they speak English less than very well.

The frequency with which LEP individuals come in contact with BoCC program, activity or service The BoCC assesses the frequency at which staff house or could possibly have contact with LEP persons. This includes documenting phone inquiries and serving public meeting attendees.

The nature of importance of the program activity or service provided by the BoCC to LEP community
It is our intent to educate the LEP community about our unified planning work program. (PWP), transportation, improvement, program (TIP), and Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP). Based on data obtained from the census, we expect to likely come in contact with Spanish, German, Haitian, Creole, or French speakers with the Spanish community, being the largest population, and growing the fastest in Polk County.

The resources available to the BoCC and overall cost to provide LEP Assistance
The BoCC assess the following available resources that could be used for providing LEP Assistance:

  • Identifying what staff and volunteer language, interpreters are readily available.
  • How much professional turbos and/or translation service would cost.
  • Identifying which documents should be translated.
  • Taking an inventory of available organizations that the bill cc could partner with for outreach in translation efforts.
  • Examining which financial and in-kind sources could be used to provide assistance in what level of staff training is needed.

BoCC will utilize current staff and volunteer language interpreters and/or translators as needed. Should need for additional translation or interpretation rise, BoCC could utilize language services available through if necessary. The BoCC could also use personal interpreter services through if necessary.

The following the BoCC materials are currently available in Spanish: Advisor brochure, Aging in Place and Transit infographic, 2035 Polk Mobility Vision Plan newsletter. Should the need to arise for additional translation services, BoCC will analyze cost, and resources to provide LEP Assistance.

The BoCC has identified the following community groups who could aid in outreach in translation efforts: the Puerto Rican/Hispanic, Chamber of Commerce, the German-American Club of Lakeland, the French-American Business council of West Florida, and the Haitian American Chamber of Commerce of Florida.

How to identify a LEP person who needs language
After analyzing these four factors, the BoCC has developed the plan outlined in the LEP plan:

  • BoCC staff will set up a sign-in sheet at BoCC sponsored at workshops and or conferences. The sign-in table will be staffed by our bilingual representative to greet and briefly speak to each attend. To informally gauge the attendee’s ability to speak and understand English, ask a question that requires a full sentence reply.
  • BoCC staff will have the Census Bureau’s “I speak cards” at the workshop or conference signing table. All staff may not be able to provide translation assistance at this meeting, the cards are in an excellent tool to identify language needs for future meetings. Also, have the cards available at the BoCC office reception area.

Language assistance measures
When an interpreter is needed, in person, or on the telephone, the BoCC shall first determine what language is required. Polk County staff can provide Creole, German, Haitian, Hindi, Filipino, Spanish, and Vietnamese in formal verbal interpretation. Appendix B details which Polk County employees can be contacted for immediate translation service in a variety of languages. Staff may be able to assist with written communications and BoCC document translation request from LEP persons. Spanish teletypewriter (TTY) relay service is available through Florida relay service at (800) 955–8771

BoCC staff has been provided with a “how to respond to a Spanish caller index card.” This index card will provide a simple phrase in Spanish for BOCC staff to instruct a Spanish caller to hold while your call is being transferred to our Bilingual Transportation Planner.

BoCC staff training
BoCC staff are provided with the LEP plan and educated on procedures and services available. This information also be part of the BoCC staff orientation process for new hires.

Providing notice of available language service to LEP persons
BoCC will post signs that language Assistance is available to the public before public meetings. Our website www.polk– is equipped with a language translator for Spanish, French, German and Haitian Creole. We’ll see. Staff will continue to monitor request for additional languages and make modifications to this plan as needed.

Outreach techniques
For the strategies outlined in the Bill, cc public participation plan (PPP), his staff knows they will be presenting a topic that could be a potential importance to a LEP person, or staff will be hosting a meeting or a workshop in a geographic location with a non-concentration of LEP, persons, meeting, notices, flyers, advertisements and agendas will be printed in an alternative language, such as Spanish

When placing a general public meeting notice, staff will insert “un traductor del idioma Español estará disponsible.” This means “A Spanish translator will be available.“ Or if not sure of the need, staff should insert, “Si usted necessitating la ayuda de traductor del idioma español, pot favor cominiquese con Mianne Nelson al teléfono (863) 534-6090, por lo menos 48 horas antes de la junta” which asks persons who need Spanish language assistance to make arrangements with the BoCC within two days of the publication notice. Spanish-speaking staff, or a hired interpreter should be on hand at public meetings, intended for gathering public input on a topic or meeting location themes it appropriate.

Dissemination of the BoCC Limited English Proficiency plan
The LEP plan is posted at Any person, including social service, nonprofit and law-enforcement agencies and other community partners with Internet access will be able to access the plan. For those without personal Internet service, all Polk County libraries offer free Internet access.

Copies of the LEP plan are provided to the Florida Department of transportation, Federal Highway Administration, the Federal Transit Administration, and any person or agency, requesting a copy. Each BoCC sub recipient is provided a copy and informed of the importance of providing language assistance. LEP persons may obtain copies/translations of the plant upon request by calling (863) 534-6075 or it can be download it at www.polk–

Monitoring and updating the plan
At a minimum the BoCC will follow the title six program update schedule for the LEP plan. The question is listed below will be considered in updating the plan.

  1. How many LEP persons were encountered?
  2. Were their needs met?
  3. Has there been any change in the type of language where translation services are needed?
  4. Have the BoCC available resources, such as technology, staff, and financial costs changed.
  5. Has the BoCC fulfilled the goals of the LEP plan?

Were any complaints received?

Any questions or comments regarding this plan should be directed to
Richard L. Bradford BoCC Equal Opportunity Administrator (863) 534-6075 or email

Proactive Diversity Recruitment and Training Program

This program is a necessary and strategic response by the county to meet the demands of Polk’s diverse population and ensure that its workforce mirrors that population.

Office of Supplier Diversity

The Office of Supplier Diversity oversees the Women and Minority Business Enterprise program and ensures the utilization of women and minority vendors in with county contractual opportunities. This program also serves as an advocate for county agencies and the women and minority business community and holds educational seminars and training for business growth and development.