|IS WA STATE REQUIRED TO PROVIDE INTERPRETING SERVICES?|
YES. For more information, please visit www.lep.gov.
· Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000d et seq., prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, and national origin in programs and activities receiving federal financial assistance.
· SCOTUS unanimous decision in Lau v. Nichols, 414 U.S. 563 (1974), established that language can be used as a proxy for discrimination based on national origin.
· Executive Order 13166 (2000) "Improving Access to Services for Persons with Limited English proficiency" requires federal agencies to examine the services they provide, identify any need for services to those with limited English proficiency (LEP), and develop and implement a system to provide those services so LEP persons can have meaningful access to them.
· USDOJ 2002 LEP Guidance "Enforcement of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 - National Origin Discrimination Against Persons With Limited English Proficiency" sets forth the compliance standards that recipients of Federal financial assistance must follow to ensure that their programs and activities, normally provided in English, are accessible to LEP persons.
A series of lawsuits and civil rights complaints during the 1980s brought against the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) for not providing equal access to services for LEP clients culminated in the Reyes Consent Decree. DSHS agreed not only to provide (and pay for) interpreters and translations for its clients, but also to ensure the quality of those services it provided. Accordingly in 1991, DSHS created a competency based assessment program to certify its bilingual staff, interpreters, and translators working for DSHS throughout its many divisions and programs. In 2011, and because of the Affordable Care Act, the entire Medicaid program including its interpreting services was transferred out of DSHS into the Health Care Authority (HCA).