Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, prohibits discrimination based upon race, color, and national origin. Specifically, 42 USC 2000d states that “No person in the United States shall, on the ground of race, color, or national origin, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.” The use of the word “person” is important as the protections afforded under Title VI apply to anyone, regardless of whether the individual is lawfully present in the United States or a citizen of a State within the United States.
In addition to Title VI, there are other Nondiscrimination statutes that afford legal protection. These statutes include the following: Section 162 (a) of the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1973 (23 USC 324) (sex), Age Discrimination Act of 1975 (age), and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973/Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990 (disability).
The Disadvantage Business Enterprise (DBE) program is intended to ensure nondiscrimination in the award and administration of the Department of Transportation (DOT)-assisted contracts in the department's highway, and transit programs. One of the goals of the program is to provide opportunities for local DBE's who compete for DOT-assisted contracts by reducing the burdens small businesses often time face.