TANF participants have a right, like all Americans, to a discrimination-free work environment and equal opportunity. Federal protections against discrimination, articulated in the landmark Title VII, Title IX and Title VI legislation, extend to TANF recipients in work placements and training programs.
In 1999 the Department of Health and Human Services clarified that the laws applied to TANF beneficiaries just as they apply to all other workers.
Federal anti-discrimination laws offer a much needed vehicle for holding states accountable for discriminatory practices in the state-level administration of TANF. TANF participants can seek a remedy if they experience sexual harassment or race or gender-based discrimination.
Past litigation on this front has reduced gender-based career education tracking, opening up more training opportunities for women in non-traditional fields. Legal Momentum continues to advocate for expanded access to non-traditional career training tracks for welfare recipients, and for training and education to be counted towards recipients’ workfare requirements.
For more information on this issue, see TANF Reports and Resources: Welfare and Civil Rights.