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October 12, 2001

Carrying Out Transportation Inspection and Safety Responsibilities
In A Nondiscriminatory Manner

This DOT policy statement was e-mailed to major U.S. airlines and aviation associations on October 17, 2001. The Department believes that this guidance could be of benefit to pilots, flight attendants and other customer contact personnel who may have a role in safety or security determinations.

This is a reminder to Department of Transportation (DOT) employees and those carrying out transportation inspection and enforcement responsibilities with DOT financial support of longstanding DOT policy prohibiting unlawful discrimination against individuals because of their race, color, religion, ethnicity, or national origin. The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, have raised concerns about intimidation and harassment directed at individuals who are, or are perceived to be, of Arab, Middle Eastern, or South Asian descent and/or Muslim. Federal civil rights laws prohibit discrimination on the basis of a personís race, color, national or ethnic origin, religion, sex, ancestry, or disability. DOT applauds the professionalism and dedication of its safety inspectors and law enforcement investigators and recognizes the enormous challenges we face in ensuring the security of our Nationís transportation system. However, it is important to reemphasize that in performing our critical duties, we may not rely on generalized stereotypes or attitudes or beliefs about the propensity of members of any racial, ethnic, religious, or national origin group to engage in unlawful activity. Protecting the constitutional and civil rights of our constituents/ stakeholders remains one of our highest priorities. This policy is not intended to forbid conduct that is considered legal under U.S. law such as considering citizenship in carrying out port security activities, border control and interdiction missions , and apprehension and detention of illegal drug smugglers. Consistent with DOTís policy, here are several points to keep in mind while doing your important jobs:

We hope this information is helpful to you. If you are unsure about what constitutes inappropriate behavior, or if you have any other questions, do not hesitate to contact the Departmentís Office of Civil Rights or the operating administrationsí civil rights offices. The telephone numbers of DOTís headquarters civil rights offices are listed below.

Office of the Secretary
United States Coast Guard
Federal Aviation Administration
Federal Highway Administration
Federal Railroad Administration
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
Federal Transit Administration
Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation
Maritime Administration
Research and Special Programs Administration
Bureau of Transportation Statistics
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
(202) 366-4648
(202) 267-1562
(202) 267-3254
(202) 366-0693
(202) 493-6010
(202) 366-0972
(202) 366-4018
(315) 764-3209
(202) 366-5065
(202) 366-9638
(202) 366-1270
(202) 366-2994

 Issued by the Office of the General Counsel, U.S. Department of Transportation.

This policy statement is intended to clarify the manner in which transportation inspection and safety responsibilities are carried out and does not create any right or benefit by any party against the United States, its agencies or instrumentalities, officers, employees, or any other person.