Program Compliance Branch

Program Compliance Complaints:

For questions on issues or how to file a Program Discrimination complaint you may contact the Rural Development Civil Rights staff via the “Contact Us" link in the left menu, or call them at 1-800-787-8821 option 02.

Program Compliance Branch

The Program Compliance (PC) Branch is responsible for establishing and maintaining effective programs of compliance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, as well as the following laws: Equal Credit Opportunity Act of 1974, Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Rehabilitation Act), Age Discrimination Act of 1975, Title IX of the Education Amendment Act, Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), Executive Order 13166, as amended as well as other various executive orders, regulations, and federal laws. In accordance with guidance from Rural Development Instruction 1901-E, the PC Branch ensures RD’s Program Recipients (MFH, SFH, RBCS, RUS, CF) are legally compliant and that all decisions pertaining to RD Program Recipients and Beneficiaries are free from discrimination on the basis of race, color, income derived from public assistance, religious creed, sex, age, sexual orientation, familial status, marital status, disability, national origin, or Limited English Proficiency. (Not all bases apply to all programs.) Reprisal is prohibited based on prior civil rights activity.

The Program Compliance Branch, in collaboration with Agency senior leadership, managers, supervisors and employees, strives to maintain effective program compliance in RD programs by incorporating six essential principles:

  • National Leadership and Education;
  • Expert, Knowledgeable Civil Rights Advice;
  • Sound Civil Rights Policy;
  • Efficient, Impartial Investigations;
  • Support of The Agency’s Overall Mission
  • Improving the Quality of Life in Rural America

The PC Branch provides Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) services in an attempt to resolve allegations of program discrimination. Additionally, the PC Branch provides advisory services to RD management and employees; and periodically assesses the Agency’s program compliance effectiveness, complaint activity, proposed regulation actions, policies and practices in order to remove any barriers to program access for RD customers.

The following includes contact and compliance information:

    Email Address   
    Robert Harris   
    Acting Branch Chief   
    Bertina Adams   
    Administrative   Management Specialist   
    Jim Hafner   
    Regional Midwest Civil Rights Manager   
    Ora Giles   
    Equal Opportunity Specialist   
    Cathy Beales   
    Equal   Opportunity Specialist   
    Craig Stroman   
    Equal Opportunity Specialist   
    Darren Kaihlanen   
    Equal   Opportunity Specialist   
    Derrin Jourdan   
    Equal   Opportunity Specialist   
    Pauline Price   
    Equal   Opportunity Specialist   
    Terri Sneed   
    Equal   Opportunity Specialist   
    Tonja Jackson   
    Equal   Opportunity Specialist   
    Elizabeth Messervey   
    Equal   Opportunity Specialist   
    Heather Rhine-Bouie   
    Equal   Opportunity Specialist   
    Catrina Southall   
    Equal   Opportunity Specialist   
    Carolyn Turner   
    Equal   Opportunity Specialist   
    Ivelisse Valentin   
    Equal   Opportunity Specialist   
  • How to file a complaint

    To file a Program Discrimination complaint, you can contact the Rural Development Civil Rights staff via the “Contact Us” Button. An Available Specialist on Staff Will Be Happy to Assist You.

    For questions on issues or how to file a complaint you may contact the Rural Development Civil Rights staff at 1-800-787-8821, option 02.

    What is a Program Discrimination Complaint?

    Filing a Program Discrimination Complaint as a USDA Customer

    USDA prohibits discrimination against its customers. If you believe you experienced discrimination when obtaining services from USDA, participating in a USDA program, or a program that receives financial assistance from USDA, you may file a complaint with USDA. OASCR, through the Center for Civil Rights Enforcement, will investigate and resolve complaints of discrimination in programs operated or assisted by USDA.

    USDA prohibits discrimination on the bases of race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, marital status, sexual orientation, familial status, disability, limited English proficiency, or because all or a part of an individual's income is derived from a public assistance program. In programs that receive Federal financial assistance from USDA, discrimination is prohibited on the bases of race, color, religious creed, sex, political beliefs, age, disability, national origin, or limited English proficiency. (Not all bases apply to all programs.) Reprisal is prohibited based on prior civil rights activity.

    To file a program discrimination complaint, you may obtain a complaint form by sending an email to SM.OASCR.Info. You or your authorized representative must sign the complaint form. You are not required to use the complaint form. You may write a letter instead. If you write a letter, it must contain all of the information requested in the form and be signed by you or your authorized representative. Incomplete information will delay the processing of your complaint. Employment civil rights complaints will not be accepted through this email address.

    Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.), should contact USDA's TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TDD). Send your completed complaint form or letter by mail, fax, or email.

    By Mail
    U.S. Department of Agriculture
    Director, Center for Civil Rights Enforcement
    1400 Independence Avenue, SW
    Washington, DC 20250-9410
    Fax (202) 690-7442

  • What is Alternative Dispute Resolution?

    Alternative Dispute Resolution, or ADR, is a process USDA Rural Development uses to help complainants resolve program discrimination disputes in an informal setting. ADR helps to avoid the cost, delay, and unpredictability of more formal dispute processes like litigation, hearings, and appeals, which can potentially take years to reach a decision. Several techniques of ADR exist, including mediation, conciliation, and early neutral evaluation, to name a few.

    USDA Rural Development has selected mediation as the preferred ADR method for resolving program discrimination disputes. Through mediation, a neutral, impartial third-party mediator assists the people involved in the disagreement with voluntarily reaching a resolution acceptable to all. Mediators facilitate the process — they do not have the authority to make final decisions or rulings on a dispute.

  • Types of Programs

    • Assisted – Multi-Family Housing (MFH); Rural Utilities Service (RUS); Rural Business-Cooperative Service (RBCS), Community Facilities (CF)
    • Guaranteed – (*interest credit only*)
    • Conducted – Single-Family Housing (SFH); Rural Business-Cooperative Service (RBCS)
    • Guaranteed Loans

    Discrimination by Type

    Learn about the various types of discrimination prohibited by the laws enforced by RD Instruction 1901-E and 7 CFR Part 15 Subpart A. We also provide links to the relevant laws, regulations and policy guidance, and also fact sheets, Q&As, best practices, and other information.

    • Age
    • Disability
    • Income Derived From Public Assistance
    • National Origin
    • Race
    • Color
    • Religion
    • Retaliation
    • Sex
    • Language Barriers
    • Familial Status
    • Marital Status
    • Sexual Orientation
  • Under Development