Executive Order

Executive Order  No. 526: Order regarding non-discrimination, diversity, equal opportunity, and affirmative action

Date: 02/07/2011
Issuer: Deval L. Patrick
Mass Register: No. 1177
Superseding: Executive Order No. 478
Revoked and Superseded by: Executive Order No. 592

Table of Contents

WHEREAS, the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is based on a belief in freedom and equality for all individuals and in the duty of Government to safeguard and foster these rights;

WHEREAS, the Executive Branch of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts recognizes the importance of non-discrimination, diversity, and equal opportunity in all aspects of state employment, programs, and activities;

WHEREAS, creating a culture of inclusion that values and promotes diversity and.equal opportunity for all individuals is the central objective of this Executive Order and the goal of my administration;

WHEREAS, while acknowledging the many efforts and accomplishments of the past, the Commonwealth can and must do more to ensure that non-discrimination, diversity and equal opportunity are safeguarded, promoted, and reflected in state workplaces, decisions, programs, activities, services, and contracts; NOW, THEREFORE, I, Deval L. Patrick, Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution, Part 2, c. 2, § I, Art. I, do hereby order as follows:

Section 1. This Executive Order shall apply to all state agencies in the Executive Branch. As used in this Order, "state agencies" shall include all executive offices, boards, commissions, agencies, departments, divisions, councils, bureaus, and offices, now existing and hereafter established.

Section  2.   Non-discrimination, diversity,  and equal opportunity  shall be the policy of the Executive Branch of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts  in  all aspects  of state employment,  programs, services, activities, and decisions. Each executive officer and agency head serving under the Governor, and all state employees, shall take immediate,  affirmative  steps  to  ensure  compliance  with this  policy and with applicable federal and state laws in connection with both the internal operations of state government as well as their external relations with the public, including those persons and organizations doing business with the Commonwealth.   Each agency, in discharging its duties, shall consider the likely effects that its decisions, programs, services, and activities will have on achieving non-discrimination, diversity, and equal opportunity.

Section 3. All state agencies shall develop and implement affirmative action and diversity plans to identify and eliminate discriminatory barriers in the workplace; remedy the effects of past discriminatory practices; identify, recruit, hire, develop, promote, and retain employees  who are members of under-represented groups; and ensure diversity and equal opportunity in all facets, terms, and conditions of state employment.  Such plans shall set forth specific goals and timetables for achievement, shall comply with all applicable state and federal laws, and shall be updated, at a  minimum,  every two years.

Section 4. All programs, activities, and services provided, performed, licensed, chartered,  funded, regulated, or contracted  for by the state shall be conducted without unlawful discrimination based on race, color, age, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, religion, creed, ancestry, national origin, disability, veteran's status (including Vietnam-era veterans), or background. Equal opportunity and diversity shall be protected and affirmatively promoted in all state, state-assisted, and state-regulated programs, activities, and services. Non-compliance shall subject violators to such disciplinary or remedial actions as permitted by law. This provision applies, but is not limited to, the use and operation of facilities owned, leased, funded or subject to control by the Commonwealth; the sale, lease, rental, financing, construction, or development of housing; state-licensed or chartered health care facilities, educational institutions, and businesses; education, counseling, and training programs; and public schools.

Section 5.        All Executive Branch contracts entered into after the effective date of this Order shall contain provisions prohibiting contractors and subcontractors from engaging in discriminatory employment practices; certifying that they are in compliance with all applicable federal and state laws, rules, and regulations governing fair labor and employment practices; and committing to purchase supplies and services from certified minority or women-owned businesses, small businesses, or businesses owned by socially or economically disadvantaged persons or persons with disabilities. Such provisions shall be drafted in consultation with the Office of the Comptroller and the Operational Services Division, which shall develop and implement uniform language to be incorporated into all Executive Branch contracts. The provisions shall be enforced through the contracting agency, the Operational Services Division, and/or the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination. Any breach shall be regarded as a material breach of the contract that may subject the contractor to appropriate sanctions.

Section 6.        All state agencies shall exclude from any forms requesting information any item or inquiry expressing or soliciting specifications as to race, color, creed, religion, national origin, ethnicity, gender, age, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or disability, unless the item or inquiry is expressly required by statute or is deemed by the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination, the Massachusetts Office on Disability, the Human Resources Division, or the Office of Diversity and Equal Opportunity to be a bona fide qualification or otherwise required in good  faith for  a proper purpose.

Section 7. The Office of Diversity and Equal Opportunity ("ODEO"), as presently established within the Human Resources Division of the Administration and Finance Secretariat, shall be responsible for ensuring compliance with this Executive Order and with all applicable state and federal laws. ODEO shall have a Director (the "Director'1), who shall be selected by and serve at the pleasure of the Governor. The Director shall report to the Commonwealth's Chief Human Resources Officer and submit periodic written reports to the Governor. The Director shall have the authority to:

  • Establish guidelines for agency affirmative action and diversity plans ("plans");
  • Review all such plans and either approve, return for amendment, or reject them;
  • Establish periodic reporting requirements for agencies concerning the implementation of their plans and all actions taken to ensure compliance with this Executive Order and applicable state and federal laws;
  • Provide assistance to agencies in achieving compliance with their plans and with applicable federal and state laws;
  • Monitor and assess the status of agency compliance and investigate instances of non-compliance; and
  • Where appropriate, determine and impose remedial courses of action, including the potential imposition of a freeze on all personnel requisitions and appointment forms submitted by any non-compliant agency to the Chief Human Resources Officer.

Section 8. Each Secretariat shall appoint a Diversity Director. Each agency shall appoint a Diversity  Officer.  Diversity  Directors  and Officers shall have a direct reporting relationship to their Secretary or Agency head; shall also report to the Director of ODED; and shall coordinate  their  component's  compliance  with  the  requirements  of this  Order  and applicable  federal  and state laws.  Through  the Diversity Directors and Officers, and in compliance with the reporting guidelines  and requirements  established  by ODEO, all state agencies shall submit periodic reports to the Director of ODEO concerning the status and implementation of their affirmative action and diversity plans.

Section 9. The Massachusetts Office on Disability ("MOD"), through its Director, shall be responsible for advising, overseeing and coordinating compliance with federal and state laws protecting the rights of persons with disabilities, including but not limited to the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA"), 42 U.S.C. §§12131-12134; Section 504 ("504") of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 29 U.S.C. § 794; Article CXIV of the Massachusetts Constitution; and Chapter 6, §§ 185-87; Chapter 93, § 103; Chapter 151B; and Chapter 272, §§ 92, 98, and 98A of the Massachusetts General Laws. MOD shall serve as the Executive Branch's designated ADA and Rehabilitation Act Coordinator, and shall provide information, training, and technical assistance and promulgate guidelines reflecting best practices, policies and procedures concerning persons with disabilities. Each agency shall appoint an ADA/504 Coordinator who shall report directly to the agency head and work with MOD concerning issues involving persons with disabilities. Notification of such appointment shall be made to MOD's Director.

Section 10. Pursuant to guidelines established by ODEO and MOD, all agency heads, managers, supervisors, and employees shall attend mandatory diversity training within one year of the effective date of this Order. For future hires, such training shall be part of the standardized orientation provided to new employees.

Section 11. ODEO and MOD shall promulgate guidelines establishing a complaint resolution process for individuals who allege non-compliance by state agencies with applicable federal and state laws prohibiting discrimination. In instances where this process does not resolve the complaint, the Director of ODEO may refer to the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination ("MCAD") or to MOD any information concerning conduct that the Director believes may constitute a violation of the law. The MCAD shall initiate investigations and, where necessary; file complaints against those agencies and persons whom it has reason to believe are in violation of the laws of the Commonwealth or the United States.

Section 12. In performing their responsibilities under this Order, ODEO, MOD, and the MCAD shall have the full cooperation of all state agencies, including compliance with all requests for information.

Section 13. The Governor's Non-discrimination, Diversity and Equal Opportunity Advisory Council ("Advisory Council") is hereby established to advise the Governor concerning policies, practices, and specific actions that the Commonwealth should implement to ensure that the objectives of this Executive Order are accomplished.

13.1 The Advisory Council shall consist of fifteen persons, including a Chair, each of whom shall be appointed by the Governor. All members shall serve without compensation at the pleasure of the Governor in a solely advisory capacity.

13.2 The Advisory Council's work shall include, but need not be limited to, making written recommendations to the Governor concerning actions, policies, and practices that the Commonwealth should implement to ensure that the objectives of this Executive Order are accomplished.

13.3 The Advisory Council shall meet at such times and places as determined by the Chair and shall submit an initial report containing its written recommendations to the Governor no later than 60 days following the appointment of the Council's 15 members. Thereafter, the Advisory Council shall meet at least semi-annually and submit supplemental reports to the Governor no less than once per year.

Section 14. Nothing in this Executive Order shall be construed to preclude or otherwise limit the continuation or implementation of any lawful affirmative action programs or other programs that support the objectives of this Executive Order.

Section 15.This Executive Order shall take effect immediately and shall continue in effect until amended, superseded or revoked by subsequent Executive Order.

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