Civil Rights

Business | Community


Title VI – Civil Rights Act of 1964

Nondiscrimination In All VDOT Programs and Activities

Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, is the federal law that protects individuals from discrimination on the basis of race, color and national origin in programs and activities. Nondiscrimination programs require that the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), as a federal-aid recipient, and its sub-recipients and contractors prevent discrimination (intentional or unintentional) in all programs and activities.

The Title VI Program is the “system of requirements” developed to implement Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and civil rights related provisions of other federal acts.

VDOT is committed to the value of equal opportunity, which ensures non-discrimination in the employment and contracting practices of the department Efforts to prevent discrimination will address, but not be limited to a program's impact upon:

  • Access
  • Benefits
  • Participation
  • Treatment
  • Services
  • Contracting opportunities
  • Training opportunities
  • Investigation of complaints
  • Allocation of funds
  • Prioritization of projects
  • The functions of planning, project development, design, right of way acquisition, construction and research.
  • Title VI Brochure in EnglishPDF (3.9 MB)


Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Program


Equal Opportunity Contract Compliance
Labor Compliance
Local Assistance for VDOT Projects
Small, Women and Minority Business (SWAM) Program



Socially and Economically Disadvantaged Participation
Public Hearings
Environmental Justice
Americans with Disabilities
Limited English Proficiency
Equitable Offers in Relocation
Veterans Internship Program



Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Program

The Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Program was designed to foster the development of DBE firms to be responsible, competitive and independent contractors.

The objectives of the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Program are:

  • To ensure nondiscrimination in the award and administration of Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) assisted contracts
  • To create a level playing field on which DBEs can compete fairly for FHWA assisted contracts
  • To ensure that the DBE Program is narrowly tailored in accordance with applicable law
  • To ensure that only firms that fully meet 49CFR, Part 26 eligibility standards are permitted to participate as DBEs
  • To help remove barriers to the participation of DBEs in FHWA assisted contracts
  • To assist the development of firms that can compete successfully in the market place outside of the DBE Program
  • To provide appropriate flexibility to recipients of Federal financial assistance in establishing, and providing opportunities for DBEs.

The DBE Program provides supportive services to DBEs to achieve maximum participation to conduct business with VDOT.


DBE Certification:

To participate in VDOT’s DBE Program, a firm must meet qualifying criteria. DBE certification is handled by the Virginia Department of Minority Business Enterprise. Contractor prequalification is handled by VDOT.

Overall Goal: 

DBE regulations (49 CFR 26.45) require the establishment of an overall goal based on demonstrable evidence of the availability of ready, willing, and able DBEs relative to all businesses who are ready, willing, and able to participate on DOT assisted contracts.

This process begins by determining a base figure for the relative availability of DBEs and then, based on evidence, determining whether the base figure requires adjustments to arrive at the overall goal. VDOT’s goal setting methodology complies with these requirements. Details

Project Goals:

Determination of DBE Goals on Projects


Federal regulations (49 Code of Federal Regulations 26.45) require the establishment of an overall DBE goal based on demonstrable evidence of the availability of ready, willing, and able DBEs to participate on DOT-assisted projects. In order to attain the aforementioned goal, all projects are individually evaluated, with DBE goals established only on those projects having DBE subcontracting possibilities.

VDOT will not establish a goal on every contract. Project goals will be expressed as a percentage of the total amount of a Department of Transportation (DOT) assisted project. The following methodology will be utilized:

Guidelines for Determining DBE Goals on Projects 

1.  Receive the detail estimate, including the location of the project by coordinates, the estimated cost of each item to be constructed, and the total dollar value of the project from scheduling and contracts.

2.  Verify the location of the project and obtain and verify the names and locations of DBEs who are currently certified and prequalified to perform work for VDOT, and are ready, willing, and able to perform on the contract.

3.  Analyze the estimate for items potentially constructible by DBEs.

4.  Calculate the total value (sum) of the selected items.

5.  Calculate the total percentage of the gross (unadjusted) DBE goal for the project.

  • Example
    • Total Dollar Value of Selected Items = DBE Goal Percentage
         Total Dollar Value of the Contract

6.   Analyze the results of this calculation, considering:

  • On-going projects approaching completion, newly awarded projects, currently advertised projects, and projects proposed for advertisement.
  • Historical performance of prime contractors on similar projects.
  • Type of work activities considered.
  • Cost (dollar value) of the work activities considered.
  • Availability of DBEs who are ready, willing, and able to bid on the project under consideration for goals.

7.   Adjust the goals in accordance with the results of the aforementioned analysis.


DBE Compliance:

Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Program Compliance Reviews 

The purpose of the DBE Contract Compliance Program is to monitor DBE contractor involvement during the performance of a contract. DBE compliance reviews:

  • Determine whether a DBE firm is performing a commercially useful function (CUF) as set forth in appropriate guidelines.
  • Identify areas where DBE technical assistance is needed and provide or refer to sources available for such assistance.
  • Determine the amount of expenditures that can be credited toward DBE participation.

For more information about the DBE Compliance Program, view the DBE Compliance Instructional Guide which provides an outline of individual and division responsibility in administering and monitoring the DBE Compliance Program and an overview of the forms used in the compliance review process.

DBE Supportive Services/Outreach:

The purpose of VDOT business development efforts are to facilitate and augment the growth and development of DBE’s to attain a high level of self-sufficiency and proficiency to compete for contracts within and outside of the DBE Program marketplace.

DBE supportive services guidelines, outlined in 49 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) – Part 26 establishes the DBE business development program which may include training, management and technical assistance, mentor protégé programs and other vehicles.  Business Development Programs (BDP) are approved by the FHWA and administered by VDOT.

Outreach, Training and Networking Events

Conferences, seminars and workshops are regularly coordinated for contractors and members of the business community to enhance contracting knowledge, share technical and regulatory information, hear about upcoming trends and utilize the network circuit to form useful alliances.

Training is offered in areas such as plans reading, bidding and estimating, construction methodologies, marketing, financial management, leadership, construction law, business planning, negotiating and human resource development.

  • Upcoming events
  • Upcoming training
  • DBE newsletter - "Let's Talk Business"
    • Spring 2008 PDF (PDF, 2 MB)

Management and Technical Assistance:

DBE firms are afforded individual business management training and assistance to facilitate growth and development. The Virginia Department of Minority Business Enterprise partners with VDOT to ensure that DBE businesses navigate appropriate strategies for contracting success.

The Legal, Accounting and Business Development (LAB) Program is a valued and unique resource to increase DBE administrative and financial capacity and strengthen business operations by providing professional services to companies bidding on and actively pursuing VDOT contracts. The program provides DBE-certified contractors and consultants with the opportunity to utilize professional consultants to address legal, financial, marketing and other management needs, as well as strategies for long-term business competitiveness.

The Mentor-Protégé Program is designed to promote and expand DBEs to ensure full participation of DBE contractors in the programs and services of VDOT. It is the intent of the Mentor-Protégé Program to provide an opportunity for DBE firms to enhance their capabilities through management and technical services from mentor firms that will increase the ability of DBE firms to independently and competitively participate in VDOT’s transportation program and to increase the number and capacity of DBE firms in the highway construction industry.

On-the-Job Training (OJT) Program:

Training and upgrading of minorities and women toward journeymen status are affirmative action steps and primary objectives of the On the Job Training Program (OJT) program. Contractors shall make every effort to enroll minority and female employees as trainees to meet their contractual trainee goals:

  • To provide on the job training and upgrading to veterans, minorities, women, the economically disadvantaged and all other interested persons, thereby increasing their skills and hiring and promotional opportunities
  • To meet the needs of the highway construction industry for knowledgeable and skilled workers
  • To demonstrate that equality exists in highway construction training opportunities as it relates to the essential function of the job without regard to race, creed, color, sex, national origin, age or disability

OJT Supportive Services Programs

The Welfare to Work Training Program in Highway Construction (WTW) is a six-week course for adults receiving state assistance who desire a career in highway construction. VDOT contractors are solicited and encouraged to hire the WTW program graduates and enroll them in the OJT program. Support to graduates includes covering the costs of transportation, childcare and purchasing of safety equipment (hard hats, boots, vests) for each participant to enable them to begin a career in the highway construction trades.

Equal Employment Opportunity Contractor Compliance Program

The Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Contract Compliance Program  is developed to ensure that VDOT ’s contractors, subcontractors, material suppliers, vendors and consultants do not discriminate in employment based upon race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age or disability; and, where the need has been identified, provide equal employment opportunity through affirmative action. The EEO contract compliance program establishes policies and procedures to determine a contractor’s compliance with contract EEO requirements, and when non-compliance is determined, a corrective action plan is established.

The compliance program consists of an ongoing monitoring and review of contractor’s efforts to comply with applicable EEO and affirmative action requirements. A formal compliance review (EEO Contractor Compliance Review) is conducted to determine the contractors’ adherence to the requirements of the contract and the effectiveness of their affirmative action efforts.

Civil Rights Forms


The Civil Rights Division is responsible for providing guidance to VDOT contractors and agency personnel on all laws associated with the Davis Bacon and related Acts, the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Contract Work Hours and Safety Standards Act, and the Copeland Act.  Compliance with federal labor requirements is a condition of participation in federal-aid highway projects pursuant to 23 U.S.C. Section 114.

It is a requirement of all highway contracts that federal and state labor regulations are followed throughout the prosecution of project work. The primary focus of the VDOT labor compliance effort is to protect workers from economic disruption caused by unlawful pay practices on direct federal and federal-aid highway construction contracts.

VDOT has the responsibility and authority to make routine checks of contractor’s and subcontractors’ payrolls for accuracy and completeness with regard to names and addresses of employees, job classification, wage rates, hours worked, gross earnings, itemized deductions, and net weekly wages paid.

Labor compliance is a contract administration function and is administered by the Civil Rights Division with assistance from the VDOT Scheduling and Contracts Division.

Virginia Department of Labor and Industry



The Civil Rights Division will monitor localities to ensure that all contractors and subcontractors awarded work will meet contractual opportunity requirements under Executive Order 11246, as amended, 23 U.S.C., FHWA-1273 (23 CFR Part 633), Road and Bridge Specification Section 110.3 (Equal Employment Opportunity) and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended.

The compliance monitoring process includes:

  • Project site visits
  • Employee interviews and review of documents, such as:
    • Material tickets
    • Subcontracts
    • Lease agreements
    • Any other information needed to render a compliance determination.

For more information, click here.





Socially and Economically Disadvantaged Participation

Community Involvement
to create a more integrated, convenient and efficient transportation system is a priority for VDOT. Every person affected by highway programs and activities should be invited for full and fair involvement in the design, building and maintenance of transportation projects, to ensure that the adverse impact of projects on the environment, people and cultural resources are minimal.

Public Hearings

When VDOT submits plans for a federal-aid highway project involving the by passing of, or going through any city, town, or village, it shall hold public hearings, or at a minimum, afford the opportunity for such hearings, for the further consideration of the economic and social effects of such a location, its impact on the social, economic and natural environment, and its consistency with the goals and objectives of community planning.

Environmental Justice

Executive Order 12898, “Federal Action to Address Environmental Justice in Minority Population and Low-Income Populations”, requires agencies receiving federal funding to achieve environmental justice as part of its mission. VDOT utilizes a systematic process to study and evaluate environmental aspects of proposed projects, including social and economic factors. Depending on the scope, complexity and impacts of a project, a National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process, Categorical Exclusion (CE), NEPA Environmental Assessment or Environmental Impact Statement will be completed.

A State Environmental Review Process (SERP) is performed on all projects prior to the permit determination, provides an opportunity to document community impacts and may include an assessment of environmental justice. Environmental justice is identifying disproportionately high and adverse human health or environmental effects of programs, policies, and activities on minority (including the elderly, disabled and persons whose primary language is not English) and low-income populations. Maps identifying traditionally underserved populations in Virginia can be accessed at the following link:

Virginia Block Group Level Demographic Maps

Americans With Disabilities

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a civil rights statute that prohibits discrimination against people who have disabilities. Title II of the ADA prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in services, programs and activities provided by state and local government entities. It ensures that newly constructed and altered state and local government facilities are readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities in terms of architecture, design, and communication. The agency’s ADA plan is updated annually to reflect changes in the status of compliance activities and any new policies and procedures. Proposed guidelines and procedures for accommodating individuals with disabilities are being developed to unify efforts and practices agency-wide.

Limited English Proficiency

Limited English Proficiency (LEP) programs afford non-English speaking populations accessibility to agency information and activities. Presidential Executive Order 13166 titled, “Improving Access to Services for Persons with Limited English Proficiency,” requires recipients of federal financial assistance to develop and implement guidance on how they will provide meaningful access to LEP persons, to comply with Title VI.

The Civil Rights Division has developed LEP guidelines to ensure meaningful access to agency programs and services for persons with LEP, effective Jan. 1, 2007. These guidelines are a tool to provide services to persons whose primary language is not English and who may have difficulty with reading, speaking or understanding English.

A list of documents and portions of the VDOT Web site have been translated.


Equitable Offers in Relocation

Ensuring equitable practices in the allocation of benefits and services to beneficiaries affected by state programs is our priority. The Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Policies Act of 1970, prohibits unfair and inequitable treatment of persons displaced because of federal and federal-aid programs and projects.

Persons who are required to move from their homes for a federal or federally-assisted project must be provided advisory assistance by state highway agencies in relocating to decent, safe, and sanitary replacement dwellings.

Owners and tenants of displaced businesses, farms, and non-profit organizations are to be provided similar assistance in obtaining suitable replacement properties.

Advisory assistance includes those measures and services necessary to determine the relocation needs and preferences of persons displaced and an explanation of the relocation payments and other assistance for which such persons may be eligible.

Assistance also includes providing current and continuous information on the availability, purchase prices, and rental costs of comparable dwellings or suitable replacement properties for businesses, farms or non-profit organizations.

Relocation benefits provided to t includes the provision of relocation payments. Examples of such payments include:

  • Replacement housing payments
  • Rental supplements
  • Moving cost payments
  • Business reestablishment expense reimbursement

When comparable replacement housing is not available, or is not available within the financial means of the person displaced, the state may provide such housing under last-resort housing provisions.

Your Rights and Benefits as a Displaced Person Under the Federal Relocation Assistance Program

Page last modified: Nov. 28, 2023