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Title 13 Part 136

Title 13 → Chapter I → Part 136

Electronic Code of Federal Regulations e-CFR

Title 13 Part 136

e-CFR data is current as of December 10, 2018

Title 13Chapter I → Part 136


Title 13: Business Credit and Assistance


§136.101   Purpose.

The purpose of this part is to effectuate section 119 of the Rehabilitation, Comprehensive Services, and Developmental Disabilities Amendments of 1978, which amended section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 to prohibit discrimination on the basis of handicap in programs or activities conducted by Executive agencies or the United States Postal Service.

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§136.102   Application.

This part applies to all programs or activities conducted by the Small Business Administration except for programs or activities conducted outside the United States that do not involve individuals with handicaps in the United States.

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§136.103   Definitions.

For purposes of this part, the term—

Agency means the Small Business Administration.

Assistant Attorney General. Assistant Attorney General means the Assistant Attorney General, Civil Rights Division, United States Department of Justice.

Auxiliary aids means services or devices that enable persons with impaired sensory, manual, or speaking skills to have an equal opportunity to participate in, and enjoy the benefits of, programs or activities conducted by the Agency. For example, auxiliary aids useful for persons with impaired vision include readers, Brailled materials, audio recordings, and other similar services and devices. Auxiliary aids useful for persons with impaired hearing include telephone handset amplifiers, telephones compatible with hearing aids, telecommunication devices for deaf persons (TDD's), interpreters, notetakers, written materials, and other similar services and devices.

Complete complaint means a written statement that contains the complainant's name and address and describes the Agency's alleged discriminatory actions in sufficient detail to inform the Agency of the nature and date of the alleged violation of section 504. It shall be signed by the complainant or by someone authorized to do so on his or her behalf. Complaints filed on behalf of classes or third parties shall describe or identify (by name, if possible) the alleged victims of discrimination.

Facility means all or any portion of buildings, structures, equipment, roads, walks, parking lots, rolling stock or other conveyances, or other real or personal property.

Individual with handicaps means any person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, has a record of such an impairment, or is regarded as having such an impairment. As used in this definition, the phrase:

(1) Physical or mental impairment includes—

(i) Any physiological disorder or condition, cosmetic disfigurement, or anatomical loss affecting one or more of the following body systems: Neurological; musculoskeletal; special sense organs; respiratory, including speech organs; cardiovascular; reproductive; digestive; genitourinary; hemic and lymphatic; skin; and endocrine; or

(ii) Any mental or psychological disorder, such as mental retardation, organic brain syndrome, emotional or mental illness, and specific learning disabilities. The term physical or mental impairment includes, but is not limited to, such diseases and conditions as orthopedic, visual, speech, and hearing impairments, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, mental retardation, emotional illness, and drug addiction and alcoholism.

(2) Major life activities includes functions such as caring for one's self, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, and working.

(3) Has a record of such an impairment means has a history of, or has been misclassified as having, a mental or physical impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.

(4) Is regarded as having an impairment means—

(i) Has a physical or mental impairment that does not substantially limit major life activities but is treated by the Agency as constituting such a limitation;

(ii) Has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits major life activities only as a result of the attitudes of others toward such impairment; or

(iii) Has none of the impairments defined in paragraph (1) of this definition but is treated by the Agency as having such an impairment.

Qualified individual with handicaps means—

(1) With respect to any Agency program or activity under which a person is required to perform services or to achieve a level of accomplishment, an individual with handicaps who meets the essential eligibility requirements and who can achieve the purpose of the program or activity without modifications in the program or activity that the Agency can demonstrate would result in a fundamental alteration in its nature;

(2) With respect to any other program or activity, an individual with handicaps who meets the essential eligibility requirements for participation in, or receipt of benefits from, that program or activity; and

(3) For purposes of employment, a person who qualifies under the definition contained at 29 CFR 1613.702(f), which is made applicable to this part by §136.140.

Respondent means the organizational unit in which a complainant alleges that discrimination occurred.

Section 504 means section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 ((Pub. L. 93-112, 87 Stat. 394) (29 U.S.C. 794)), as amended by the Rehabilitation Act Amendments of 1974 (Pub. L. 93-516, 88 Stat. 1617), and the Rehabilitation, Comprehensive Services, and Developmental Disabilities Amendments of 1978 (Pub. L. 95-602, 92 Stat. 2955) and the Rehabilitation Act Amendments of 1986 (Pub. L. 99-506, 100 Stat. 1810). As used in this part, section 504 applies only to programs or activities conducted by SBA and not to activities of recipients of assistance from SBA.

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§§136.104-136.109   [Reserved]

§136.110   Self-evaluation.

(a) The Agency shall, by July 17, 1989, evaluate its current policies and practices, and the effects thereof, that do not or may not meet the requirements of this part, and, to the extent modification of any such policies and practices is required, the Agency shall proceed to make the necessary modifications.

(b) The Agency shall provide an opportunity to interested persons, including individuals with handicaps or organizations representing individuals with handicaps, to participate in the self-evaluation process by submitting comments (both oral and written).

(c) The Agency shall, for at least three years following the self-evaluation, maintain on file and make available for public inspection:

(1) A description of areas examined and any problems identified; and

(2) A description of any modifications made.

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§136.111   Notice.

The Agency shall make available to employees, applicants, participants, beneficiaries, and other interested persons such information regarding the provisions of this part and its applicability to the programs or activities conducted by the Agency, and make such information available to them in such manner as the Administrator finds necessary to apprise such persons of the protections against discrimination assured them by section 504 and this part.

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§§136.112-136.129   [Reserved]

§136.130   General prohibition against discrimination.

(a) No qualified individual with handicaps shall, on the basis of handicap, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or otherwise be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity conducted by the Agency.

(b) The Agency, in providing any aid, benefit, or service, may not, directly or through contractual, licensing, or other arrangements, on the basis of handicap:

(1) Deny a qualified individual with handicaps the opportunity to participate in or benefit from the aid, benefit, or service;

(2) Afford a qualified individual with handicaps an opportunity to participate in or benefit from the aid, benefit, or service that is not equal to that afforded others;

(3) Provide a qualified individual with handicaps with an aid, benefit, or service that is not as effective in affording equal opportunity to obtain the same result, to gain the same benefit, or to reach the same level of achievement as that provided to others;

(4) Provide different or separate aid, benefits, or services to individuals with handicaps or to any class of individuals with handicaps than is provided to others unless such action is necessary to provide qualified individuals with handicaps with aid, benefits, or services that are as effective as those provided to others;

(5) Deny a qualified individual with handicaps the opportunity to participate as a member of planning, voluntary (such as SCORE or Ace) or advisory boards; or

(6) Otherwise limit a qualified individual with handicaps in the enjoyment of any right, privilege, advantage, or opportunity enjoyed by others receiving the aid, benefit, or service.

(c) The Agency shall permit a qualified individual with handicaps the opportunity to participate in any of the Agency's programs or activities, despite the existence of permissibly separate or different programs or activities especially designed to accommodate qualified individuals with handicaps.

(d) The Agency may not, directly or through contractual or other arrangements, utilize criteria or methods of administration the purpose of effect of which would—

(1) Subject qualified individuals with handicaps to discrimination on the basis of handicap; or

(2) Defeat or substantially impair accomplishment of the objectives of a program or activity with respect to individuals with handicaps.

(e) The Agency may not, in determining the site or location of a facility, make selections the purpose or effect of which would:

(1) Exclude individuals with handicaps from, deny them the benefits of, or otherwise subject them to discrimination under any program or activity conducted by the Agency; or

(2) Defeat or substantially impair the accomplishment of the objectives of a program or activity with respect to individuals with handicaps.

(f) The Agency, in the selection of procurement contactors, may not use criteria that subject qualified individuals with handicaps to discrimination on the basis of handicap.

(g) The Agency may not administer a licensing or certification program in a manner that subjects qualified individuals with handicaps to discrimination on the basis of handicap, nor may the Agency establish requirements for the programs or activities of licensees or certified entities that subject qualified individuals with handicaps to discrimination on the basis of handicap. However, the programs or activities of entities that are licensed or certified by the Agency are not, themselves, covered by this part.

(h) The exclusion of individuals without handicaps from the benefits of a program limited by Federal statute or Executive Order to individuals with handicaps or the exclusion of a specific class of individuals with handicaps from a program limited by Federal statute or Executive Order to a different class of individuals with handicaps is not prohibited by this part.

(i) The Agency shall administer programs and activities in the most integrated setting appropriate to the needs of qualified individuals with handicaps.

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§§136.131-136.139   [Reserved]

§136.140   Employment.

(a) No qualified individual with handicaps shall, on the basis of handicap, be subjected to discrimination in employment under any program, or activity conducted by the Agency.

(b) The definitions, requirements and procedures of section 501 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (29 U.S.C. 791) as established by the EEOC in 29 CFR part 1613, shall apply to employment in federally conducted programs or activities.

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§§136.141-136.148   [Reserved]

§136.149   Program accessibility: Discrimination prohibited.

Except as otherwise provided in §136.150, no qualified individual with handicaps shall, because the Agency's facilities are inaccessible to or unusable by individuals with handicaps, be denied the benefits of, be excluded from participation in, or otherwise be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity conducted by the Agency.

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§136.150   Program accessibility: Existing facilities.

(a) General. The Agency shall operate each program or activity so that the program or activity, when viewed in its entirety, is readily accessible to and usable by individuals with handicaps. This paragraph does not—

(1) Necessarily require the Agency to make each of its existing facilities accessible to and usable by individuals with handicaps; or

(2) Require the Agency to take any action that it can demonstrate would result in a fundamental alteration in the nature of a program or activity or in undue financial and administrative burdens. In those circumstances where Agency personnel believe that the proposed action would fundamentally alter the program or activity or would result in undue financial and administrative burdens, the Agency has the burden of proving that compliance with §136.150(a) would result in such alteration or burdens. The decision that compliance would result in such alteration or burdens must be made by the Administrator or Deputy Administrator after considering all Agency resources available for use in the funding and operation of the conducted program or activity and must be accompanied by a written statement of the reasons for reaching that conclusion. The Administrator or Deputy Administrator's decision shall be made within 30 days of the initial decision by Agency personnel that an action would result in such an alteration or burdens. If an action would result in such an alteration or such burdens, the Agency shall take any other action that would not result in such an alteration or such burdens but would, nevertheless, ensure that individuals with handicaps receive the benefits and services of the program or activity.

(b) Methods. The Agency may comply with the requirements of this section through such means as redesign of equipment, reassignment of services to accessible buildings, assignment of aids to beneficiaries, home visits, delivery of services at alternate accessible sites, alteration of existing facilities and construction of new facilities, use of accessible rolling stock, or any other methods that result in making its programs or activities readily accessible to and usable by individuals with handicaps. The Agency is not required to make structural changes in existing facilities where other methods are effective in achieving compliance with this section. The Agency, in making alterations to existing buildings, shall meet accessibility requirements to the extent compelled by the Architectural Barriers Act of 1968, as amended (42 U.S.C. 4151-4157), and any regulations implementing it. In choosing among available methods for meeting the requirements of this section, the Agency shall give priority to those methods that offer programs and activities to qualified individuals with handicaps in the most integrated setting appropriate.

(c) Time period for compliance. The Agency shall comply with the obligations established under this section by September 13, 1988, except that where structural changes in facilities are undertaken, such changes shall be made by July 15, 1991, but in any event as expeditiously as possible.

(d) Transition plan. In the event that structural changes to facilities will be undertaken to achieve program accessibility, the Agency shall develop, by January 16, 1989, a transition plan setting forth the steps necessary to complete such changes. The Agency shall provide an opportunity to interested persons, including individuals with handicaps or organizations representing individuals with handicaps, to participate in the development of the transition plan by submitting comments (both oral and written). A copy of the transition plan shall be made available for public inspection. The plan shall, at a minimum:

(1) Identify physical obstacles in the Agency's facilities that limit the accessibility of its programs or activities to individuals with handicaps;

(2) Describe in detail the methods that will be used to make the facilities accessible;

(3) Specify the schedule for taking the steps necessary to achieve compliance with this section and, if the time period of the transition plan is longer than one year, identify steps that will be taken during each year of the transition period; and

(4) Indicate the official responsible for implementation of the plan.

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§136.151   Program accessibility: New construction and alterations.

Each building or part of a building that is constructed or altered by, on behalf if, or for the use of the Agency shall be designed, constructed, or altered so as to be readily accessible to and usable by individuals with handicaps. The definitions, requirements, and standards of the Architectural Barriers Act (42 U.S.C. 4151-4157), as established in 41 CFR 101-19.600—101-19.607, apply to buildings covered by this section.

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§§136.152-136.159   [Reserved]

§136.160   Communications.

(a) The Agency shall take appropriate steps to ensure effective communication with applicants, participants, personnel of other Federal entities, and members of the public.

(1) The Agency shall furnish appropriate auxiliary aids where necessary to afford an individual with handicaps an equal opportunity to participate in, and enjoy the benefits of, a program or activity conducted by the Agency.

(i) In determining what type of auxiliary aid is necessary, the Agency shall give primary consideration to the requests of the individual with handicaps.

(ii) The Agency need not provide individually prescribed devices, readers for personal use or study, or other devices of a personal nature.

(2) Where the Agency communicates with applicants and beneficiaries by telephone, telecommunication devices for deaf persons (TDD's) or equally effective telecommunication systems shall be used.

(b) The Agency shall ensure that interested persons, including persons with impaired vision or hearing, can obtain information as to the existence and location of accessible services, activities, and facilities.

(c) The Agency shall provide a sign at each primary entrance to each of its inaccessible facilities, directing users to a location at which they can obtain information about accessible facilities. The international symbol for accessibility shall be used at each primary entrance of an accessible facility.

(d) This section does not require the Agency to take any action that it can demonstrate would result in a fundamental alteration in the nature of a program or activity or in undue financial and administrative burdens. In those circumstances where Agency personnel believe that the proposed action would fundamentally alter the program or activity or would result in undue financial and administrative burdens, the Agency has the burden of proving that compliance with §136.160 would result in such alteration or burdens. The decision that compliance would result in such alteration or burdens must be made by the Administrator or Deputy Administrator after considering all Agency resources available for use in the funding and operation of the conducted program or activity and must be accompanied by a written statement of the reasons for reaching that conclusion. The Administrator or Deputy Administrator's decision shall be made within 30 days of the initial decision by Agency personnel that an action would result in such an alteration or burdens. If an action required to comply with this section would result in such as alteration or such burdens, the Agency shall take any other action that would not result in such an alteration or such burdens but would nevertheless ensure that, to the maximum extent possible, individuals with handicaps receive the benefits and services of the program or activity.

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§§136.161-136.169   [Reserved]

§136.170   Compliance procedures.

(a) Applicability. Except as provided in paragraph (b) of this section, this section applies to all allegations of discrimination on the basis of handicap in programs or activities conducted by the Agency.

(b) Employment complaints. The Agency shall process complaints alleging violations of section 504 with respect to employment according to the procedures established by EEOC in 29 CFR part 1613 pursuant to section 501 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (29 U.S.C. 791).

(c) Filing a complaint—(1) Who may file. Any person who believes that he or she has been subjected to discrimination prohibited by this part may file a complaint. An authorized representative of such person may file a complaint on his or her behalf. Any person who believes that any specific class of persons has been subjected to discrimination prohibited by this part and who is a member of that class, or the authorized representative of a member of that class, may file a complaint.

(2) Confidentiality. The Chief, Assistant Administrator, Office of Equal Employment Opportunity & Civil Rights Compliance (AA/EEOCCR), shall hold in confidence the identity of any person submitting a complaint, unless the person submits written authorization otherwise, except to the extent necessary to carry out the purposes of this part, including the conduct of any investigation, hearing, or proceeding under this part, or to cooperate with the Office of Inspector General in the performance of its responsibilities under the Inspector General Act of 1978, as amended.

(3) When to file. Complaints shall be filed within 180 days of the alleged act of discrimination, except when this deadline is extended by the AA/EEOCCR for good cause shown. For purposes of determining when a complaint is timely filed under this paragraph, a complaint mailed to the Agency shall be deemed filed on the date it is postmarked. Any other complaint shall be deemed filed on the date it is received by the Agency.

(4) How to file. Complaints may be delivered or mailed to the AA/EEOCCR Small Business Administration, 1441 L Street NW.—Room 501, Washington, DC 20416. Any other SBA official receiving a complaint under this part shall forward such complaint immediately to the AA/EEOCCR.

(d) Notification to the Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board. The agency shall promptly send to the Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board a copy of any complaint alleging that a building or facility that is subject to the Architectural Barriers Act of 1968, as amended, 42 U.S.C. 4151-4157 is not readily accessible to and usable by individuals with handicaps.

(e) Acceptance of complaint. (1) The AA/EEOCCR shall accept a complete complaint that is filed in accordance with paragraph (c) of this section and over which the Agency has jurisdiction. The AA/EEOCCR shall notify the complainant and the respondent of receipt and acceptance of the complaint.

(2) If the AA/EEOCCR receives a complaint that is not complete, he or she shall notify the complainant, within 30 days of receipt of the incomplete complaint, that additional information is needed. If the complainant fails to furnish the necessary information within 30 days of receipt of this notice, the AA/EEOCCR shall dismiss the complaint without prejudice.

(3) If the AA/EEOCCR receives a complaint over which the Agency does not have jurisdiction, he or she shall promptly notify the complainant and shall make reasonable efforts to refer the complaint to the appropriate Government entity.

(f) Investigation/Conciliation. (1) Within 180 days of the receipt of a complete complaint the AA/EEOCCR shall complete the investigation of the complaint and attempt informal resolution. If no informal resolution is achieved, the AA/EEOCCR shall issue a letter of findings.

(2) The AA/EEOCCR may require Agency employees to cooperate in the investigation and attempted resolution of complaints. Employees who are required to participate in any investigation under this section shall do so as part of their official duties and during regular duty hours.

(3) The AA/EEOCCR shall furnish the complainant and the respondent with a copy of the investigative report and provide the complainant and respondent with an opportunity for informal resolution of the complaint.

(4) If a complaint is resolved informally, the terms of the agreement shall be reduced to writing and made part of the complaint file, with a copy of the agreement provided to the complainant and respondent. The written agreement may include a finding on the issue of discrimination and shall describe any corrective action to which the complainant and respondent have agreed.

(g) Letter of findings. If an informal resolution of the complaint is not reached, the AA/EEOCCR shall, within 180 days of receipt of the complete complaint, notify the complainant, the respondent and the Director, Office of Equal Employment Opportunity and Compliance (OEEOC), of the results of the investigation in a letter sent by certified mail, return receipt requested, and containing—

(1) Findings of fact and conclusions of law;

(2) A description of a remedy for each violation found;

(3) A notice of the right of the complainant and respondent to appeal to the Director, OEEOC; and

(4) A notice of the right of the complainant and respondent to request a hearing.

The letter of findings becomes the final Agency decision if neither party files an appeal within the time prescribed in paragraph (h)(1) of this section. The AA/EEOCCR shall certify that the letter of findings is the final Agency decision on the complaint at the expiration of that time.

(h) Filing an appeal. (1) Any notice of appeal to the AA/EEOCCR, with or without a request for hearing, shall be filed by the complainant or the respondent in writing with the AA/EEOCCR within 30 days of receipt from him or her of the letter required by paragraph (g) of this section. The notice shall be accompanied by a certificate of service attesting that the party has served a copy of his or her notice of appeal on all other parties to the proceeding. The AA/EEOCCR may extend this time limit for good cause shown pursuant to the procedure in paragraph (h)(3) of this section.

(2) If a timely notice of appeal without a request for hearing is filed, any other party may file a written request for hearing within the time limit specified in paragraph (h)(1) of this section or within 10 days of his or her receipt of such notice of appeal, whichever is later.

(3) A party may appeal to the AA/EEOCCR from a decision of the AA/EEOCCR that an appeal is untimely. This appeal shall be filed with the AA/EEOCCR within 15 days of receipt of the decision from the AA/EEOCCR.

(4) Any request for hearing will be construed as a request for an oral hearing. The complainant's failure to file a timely request for a hearing in accordance with this part shall constitute waiver of the right to a hearing, but shall not preclude his or her submitting written information and argument to the AA/EEOCCR in connection with his or her notice of appeal.

(i) Acceptance of appeal. The AA/EEOCCR shall accept and process any timely filed appeal.

(1) If a notice of appeal is filed but no party requests a hearing, the AA/EEOCCR shall promptly transmit the complaint file, the letter of findings and the notice of appeal to the AA/EEOCCR.

(2) If a notice of appeal if filed and a party makes a timely request for a hearing, the AA/EEOCCR will transmit the notice of appeal, the request for hearing and the investigative file to the Office of Hearings and Appeals which office will assign the case to an administrative judge who will conduct a hearing in accordance with the procedures contained in 13 CFR part 134.

(j) Decision. (1) Where no request for a hearing is made, the AA/EEOCCR shall make the final Agency decision based on the contents of the complaint file, the letter of findings, the notice of appeal, and any responses to the notice of appeal filed by other parties. The decision shall be made within 60 days of receipt of the appeal or any response to the notice of appeal, whichever is applicable. If the AA/EEOCCR, determines that he or she needs additional information from any party, he or she shall request the information and provide the other party or parties an opportunity to respond to that information. The AA/EEOCCR shall have 60 days from receipt of the additional information or responses to such additional information, whichever is later, to make the decision. The AA/EEOCCR shall transmit his or her decision in writing to the parties. The decision shall set forth the findings, remedial actions, and reasons for the decision.

(2) Where a request for a hearing has been made, the administrative judge shall issue an initial decision, in writing, based on the hearing record, composed of the proposed findings of fact, conclusions of law, and remedies, to the parties and to the AA/EEOCCR within 30 days after receipt of the hearing transcripts, or within 30 days after the conclusion of the hearing if no transcript is made. This time limit may be extended with the permission of the AA/EEOCCR. The decision of the administrative judge shall be deemed to be the final decision of the Agency after 30 days, unless a party files a petition for review with the AA/EEOCCR, pursuant to 13 CFR 134.228(a) or the AA/EEOCCR issues an order stating his or her decision to review the initial decision, pursuant to 13 CFR 134.228(a). See 13 CFR 134.227(b).

(3) Where a petition for review is filed or a review is ordered by the AA/EEOCCR the AA/EEOCCR shall make the final decision of the Agency based on information in the complaint file, the letter of findings, the hearing record, the initial decision, the petition for review, and any responses to the petition or order. The decision shall be made within 60 days of receipt of the petition for review, the order, or any responses to such petition or order, whichever is later. If the AA/EEOCCR determines that he or she needs additional information from any party, he or she shall request the information and provide the other party or parties an opportunity to respond to that information. The AA/EEOCCR shall have 60 days from receipt of the additional information or responses to such additional information, whichever is later, to make the decision. The AA/EEOCCR shall transmit his or her decision by letter to the parties. The decision shall set forth the findings, recommended remedial actions, and reasons for the decision. The decision shall adopt, reject, or modify the initial decision of the administrative judge. If the decision is to reject or modify the initial decision, the decision letter shall set forth in detail the specific reasons for the rejection or modification.

(4) Any respondent required to take action under the terms of the decision of the Agency shall do so promptly. The AA/EEOCCR may require periodic compliance reports specifying:

(i) The manner in which compliance with the provisions of the decision has been achieved;

(ii) The reasons any action required by the final decision has not been taken; and

(iii) The steps being taken to ensure full compliance.

(k) The time limit cited in paragraph (f) of this section may be extended with the permission of the Assistant Attorney General.

(l) The Agency may delegate its authority for conducting complaint investigations to other Federal agencies, except that the authority for making the final determination may not be delegated to another agency.

[53 FR 19760, May 31, 1988, as amended at 61 FR 2691, Jan. 29, 1996; 72 FR 50042, Aug. 30, 2007]

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