Language/national origin discrimination can take many forms. Federal law does not allow government agencies or organizations that receive government funding to discriminate against people because of the language they speak or their national origin. For example, government agencies or organizations that receive government funding may NOT:
- Require people with limited English proficiency (LEP) to provide their own interpreter
- Provide different services to people with LEP than people who are English-proficient
- Refuse to translate important documents into languages other than English
- Refuse services to people who do not speak English proficiently
People with LEP are entitled to have meaningful access to, participate in, and benefit from federally-funded programs and services. Federal law requires U.S. government agencies (including courts) and state or local organizations that get money from the U.S. government to take reasonable steps when helping people with LEP. This could mean using an interpreter or bilingual staff member to communicate. It could also mean having documents translated from English into another language.
If you do not speak or understand English, or if you prefer to work with Legal Aid in your first language, let us know. Interpreters or bilingual staff members are available to help. Legal Aid also protects your right to language access with other Northeast Ohio agencies. If a government agency or court has refused to provide you free interpreter or translation services, please contact us at 888.817.3777.