Regardless of the model of sponsorship, the sponsor is ultimately responsible for ensuring that the apprenticeship program complies with the obligations of the Equal Employment Opportunity regulations. When the sponsor is either the employer or has direct input into decisions on hiring, promotion, or termination of apprentices, the sponsor must ensure these actions comply with the Equal Employment Opportunity regulations. Where discriminatory actions or other actions in violation of this part are taken by employers participating in the sponsor’s program, the sponsor has an obligation to undertake steps to address the violation when it has knowledge of such actions.
To what extent is a sponsor responsible for the actions of a participating employer?
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All apprentices and applicants for apprenticeship are protected against discrimination on the grounds listed in 29 C.F.R. 30.3 of the apprenticeship Equal Employment Opportunity regulations. This means that no apprentice or applicant can be discriminated against because of their race, color, religion, national origin, sex (including pregnancy, sexual orientation, and gender identity), disability, age (40 or older), sexual orientation, or genetic information. So, for example, both men and women, as well as people of all races and ethnicities, are protected from discrimination on these bases.Read More
The Equal Employment Opportunity regulations apply to all sponsors of apprenticeship programs registered either with the U.S. Department of Labor Office of Apprenticeship or a State Apprenticeship Agency.Read More
The provisions of 29 C.F.R. 30.3 of the apprenticeship EEO regulations, and specifically the EEO Pledge, state that sex discrimination includes discrimination on the basis of gender identity, as well as discrimination on the basis of pregnancy. Additionally, the Office of Apprenticeship looks to the legal standards and defenses applied under title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Executive Order 11246 in determining whether a sponsor has engaged in unlawful discrimination on the basis of sex. The Supreme Court, in Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia, No. 17-1618 (S. Ct. June 15, 2020) held that the prohibition in title VII against sex discrimination includes discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, and thus that firing individuals because of their sexual orientation or transgender status violates title VII’s prohibition on discrimination because of sex.Read More
Sponsors retain the ability to identify and select the best candidates for their programs, as long as those selections are free from unlawful discrimination. Sponsors must engage in outreach and recruitment activities that extend to all groups of people, and ensure that their selection procedures are equitable, uniform, and consistently applied. By taking these steps, sponsors reach new and more diverse talent pools that can improve the quality of their apprenticeship programs and help to ensure Equal Employment Opportunity.Read More