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 RichardBradford@polk-county.net.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.