The Enterprise Center (TEC) does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, sex,
or disability in administration of its programs or activities, nor does TEC intimidate or retaliate against
any individual or group because they have exercised their rights to participate in protected actions.
TEC is committed to ensuring that no person is excluded from participation in, denied the benefits of,
or subjected to discrimination under any program, activity, or service that it provides.
This Policy establishes a framework for the steps that TEC is taking to ensure access to all services
provided by TEC and establishes procedures whereby TEC will review and investigate allegations of
What Does This Mean?
TEC will not restrict an individual in any way from the enjoyment of any advantage or privilege enjoyed by
others receiving any service, financial aid, or other benefit under any of its programs or activities that receive financial assistance from EPA or any other federal agency. Individuals may not be subjected to discriminatory treatment or criteria or methods of administration which cause adverse impact because of their race, color, or national origin, or have the effect of defeating or substantially impairing accomplishment of the objectives of the program or activity because of race, color, or national origin.
TEC will take reasonable steps to provide meaningful access to TEC programs or activities to individuals with limited English proficiency, i.e., individuals with ability to speak, write, or understand English.
TEC will not tolerate intimidation, threats, coercion, or retaliation against any individual or group for the
purpose of interfering with any right or privilege guaranteed under law or regulations, or because the
individual has filed a complaint or has testified, assisted, or participated in any way in an investigation,
proceeding, or hearing or has opposed any TEC action or decision.
It is TEC’s policy that no otherwise qualified individual with a disability will be denied access to or participation in any program or activity offered by TEC.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Regulations
Title 40 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Parts 5 and 7, Nondiscrimination in Programs or
Activities Receiving Federal Assistance from the Environmental Protection Agency, prohibits
discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, sex, or disability in programs or
activities receiving federal assistance from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA). It
requires recipients of federal assistance from the U.S. EPA to, among other things:
• Collect, maintain, and provide information showing compliance with 40 CFR, Part 7;
• Designate a person to be the Nondiscrimination Compliance Coordinator (NCC) to
coordinate efforts to comply with 40 CFR, Part 7;
• Adopt grievance procedures that assure the prompt and fair resolution of discrimination complaints alleging violations of 40 CFR, Part 7; and
• Provide continuing and prominent public notice of nondiscrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, sex, or disability, and of the identity and contact information for the NCC.
As set forth below, it is TEC’s policy not to discriminate on the basis of several factors, including those in 40 CFR Parts 5 and 7.
Federal Civil Rights Laws Implemented by EPA Regulations
Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is the overarching civil rights law that prohibits discrimination based on race, color, or national origin, in any program, service, or activity that receives federal assistance. Specifically, Title VI assures that “No person in the United States shall, on the grounds of race, color, or national origin, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefit of, or be otherwise subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal assistance.”
Nondiscrimination prohibitions have been further broadened and supplemented by related statutes, regulations, and executive orders:
• Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (Title IX), which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any education or training program receiving federal financial assistance, with a limited number of defined exceptions;
• Section 13 of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act Amendments of 1972, which prohibits sex discrimination in any program or activity receiving financial assistance from the EPA pursuant to the FWPC Act;
• Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504), which forbids discrimination on the basis of an individual’s disability by all federal agencies and in all federally funded activities;
• The Age Discrimination Act of 1975, as amended, which prohibits discrimination in federally supported activities on the basis of age.
As a recipient of a federal assistance from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, TEC abides by all laws all relevant statutes, regulations, and executive orders to prevent discrimination. Procedures to Implement the Requirements of 40 CFR, Parts 5 and 7 TEC adopts the following procedures to implement the requirements of 40 CFR, Parts 5 and 7. Compliance Information TEC shall collect, maintain, and on request of the U.S. EPA, Office of Civil Rights (OCR), provide the following information to show compliance with 40 CFR, Parts 5 and 7:
• A brief description of any lawsuits pending against TEC that allege discrimination which 40 CFR, Part 7, prohibits;
• Racial/ethnic, national origin, age, sex, handicap, and disability data, or EPA Form 4700-4 information submitted with TEC applications for U.S. EPA assistance;
• A log of discrimination complaints that identifies the complaint, the date it was filed, the date TEC’s investigation was completed, the disposition, and the date of disposition;
• Reports of any compliance reviews conducted by any other agencies;
• Additional data and information specific to certain TEC programs or activities to determine compliance where there is reason to believe that discrimination may exist in a TEC program or activity or to investigate a complaint alleging discrimination in a TEC program or activity.
When preparing compliance information, TEC shall use the racial classifications set forth in 40 CFR, Section 7.25, in determining categories of race, color, or national origin.
TEC shall make compliance information available to the public upon request.
Nondiscrimination Compliance Coordinator
Geoff Millener, Chief Operating Officer, is responsible for coordination of compliance efforts and receipt
of inquiries concerning non-discrimination requirements under this Policy as the Nondiscrimination
If you have any questions about this notice or any of TEC’s non-discrimination programs, policies, or
procedures, you may contact:
Geoff Millener, Chief Operating Officer
1100 Market St., Suite 500
Chattanooga, TN 37402
If you believe that you have been discriminated against with respect to a TEC program or activity, you
may contact the Nondiscrimination Compliance Coordinator.
TEC understands the highly sensitive nature of discrimination complaints. TEC pledges to maintain
confidentiality to the extent possible throughout the complaint and investigation process. TEC acknowledges that, in some cases, confidentiality may need to be waived in order to conduct a thorough investigation.
Non-Retaliation and Intimidation Policy:
TEC understands that for individuals to feel comfortable and protected coming forward and filing discrimination complaints that TEC will take actions to protect the complainant as needed. TEC prohibits retaliation against or intimidation of individuals who file complaints of discrimination or participate in the investigation of such complaints. Claims of retaliation or intimidation will be handled immediately
and via the same procedure as a claim of discrimination.
If someone believes they have suffered from discrimination under a TEC program or activity, they may
contact the NCC to seek informal resolution. If a complaint is investigated, it must be proven by a
preponderance of the evidence in order to be found true. Preponderance of the evidence means that the evidence discovered must show a greater than 50% chance that the claim of discrimination is true.
If the matter cannot be resolved informally, the following steps will be followed:
Step 1 – Submittal of Complaint (complainant)
In order to have a complaint submittal considered for investigation under this procedure, the complainant shall file the complaint no later than 180 calendar days after the date(s) of the alleged act(s) of discrimination. The complaint shall be in writing and signed by the complainant or the complainant’s representative and shall include contact information for the complainant or their representative. The complaint shall specify with as much detail as possible:
• The actions or inactions by TEC that support an alleged violation of 40 CFR, Parts 5 or 7;
• The alleged discrimination that did or will result from such actions or inactions;
• The identity of the person(s) harmed or potentially harmed by the alleged discrimination;
• The section of 40 CFR, Parts 5 or 7, which TEC allegedly violated; and
• The complainant’s name and contact information.
TEC may request additional information from the complainant if needed to assist with meeting the complaint requirements listed above. If TEC does not receive the requested additional information, the case may be closed. Appropriate assistance shall be provided to individuals with disabilities and individuals with limited English proficiency. Also, complaints in alternate formats shall be accepted from individuals with disabilities, for example, complaints filed on computer disks, on audio tape, or in Braille. All complaint submittals should be mailed (or e-mailed) to the NCC at the following address: 1100 Market St., Suite 500 Chattanooga, TN 37402 or email@example.com.
Step 2 – Logging of Complaint Submittals (NCC)
All complaint submittals are to be logged. The NCC shall retain a copy of
all documents on file in accordance with the records retention schedule.
The NCC shall also notify the relevant program manager(s).
The following are examples of what will not be logged as a complaint submittal:
• Anonymous submittals;
• Submittals too vague to reasonably determine the allegations of
• Submittals not sufficiently identifying the person(s) harmed or
potentially harmed by the alleged discrimination;
• Inquiries seeking advice or information;
• Courtesy copies of court pleadings;
• Courtesy copies of complaints addressed to other local, state, or
• Newspaper articles;
• Web-based media sources such as YouTube videos, e-mail strings,
blogposts, comments strings, or Web pages;
• Courtesy copies of internal grievances;
• and Voice mail messages, phone calls, or in-person conversations.
Step 3 – Initial Review of Complaint Submittals (NCC)
Upon receipt of a complaint and any additional information supporting or otherwise associated with the complaint, a case file shall be established containing all documents and information pertaining to the complaint and an initial review of the case shall be conducted. The NCC will inform the complainant in writing that a preliminary inquiry is underway.
Step 4 – Determination if Complaint Warrants Further Investigation (NCC)
The NCC, based on information in the complaint submittal and other information available, shall determine if:
• TEC has jurisdiction to pursue the matter; and
• The complaint submittal contains sufficient merit to warrant further investigation.
A complaint shall warrant further investigation unless:
• It clearly appears on its face to be frivolous or trivial;
• Within the time allotted for making the determination of jurisdiction and investigative merit, TEC reaches an agreed resolution with the complainant;
• Within the time allotted for making the determination of jurisdiction and investigative merit, the complainant withdraws the complaint; or
• The complaint was not submitted within the time limit established in Step 1.
Within 14 calendar days of receipt of the complaint submittal, the NCC shall inform the complainant if the complaint has or has not been accepted for further investigation. If it is determined that further investigation is not warranted, the reason for such determination shall be recorded in the case file.
Step 5 – Further Investigation of Complaint (NCC)
If the NCC determines the complaint submittal warrants further investigation, the NCC shall review the alleged facts to determine the course of the investigation. The investigation may include interviews of TEC employees, other relevant witnesses, or others named in the complaint. Relevant TEC employees shall make themselves available as necessary. TEC aims for all investigations to be completed promptly and thoroughly.
Step 6 – Report and Determination (NCC)
The NCC shall issue a report and determination on whether TEC violated 40 CFR, Parts 5 and/or 7. The NCC shall prepare a written report of the investigation that shall include a narrative of the incident, an identification of individuals interviewed and evidence reviewed, and findings and a determination. The report and determination shall be placed in the complaint file. Within 180 calendar days of receiving the complaint that warranted investigation, the NCC shall notify the complainant in writing of the findings of the investigation, the recommendations for resolution and a timeline for appeal.
Step 7 – Appeal (complainant)
The person submitting the complaint may appeal the decision of the NCC by writing to TEC President within 30 calendar days of receiving the NCC’s decision. TEC President shall issue a written decision in response to the appeal no later than 30 calendar days after its filing.
Step 8 – Records (NCC)
TEC will retain all records pertaining to discrimination complaints and their resolutions for a minimum of three years.