Idaho Human Rights Commission Launches Language Access Plan

NEWS RELEASE

For Immediate Release: Oct. 23, 2019
Information Contact: Benjamin Earwicker, (208) 344-2873 ext. 4055

The Idaho Human Rights Commission has launched a new Language Access Plan to ensure speakers of all languages, especially individuals with limited English proficiency (LEP), have access to the commission’s processes and services.

Assistance for limited English proficient customers include:

  • Bilingual staff: Five commission employees are fluent in Spanish and English and available to assist individuals over the phone or in person during normal business hours.
  • Over the phone interpreting: The commission provides customer access to live professional interpreters over the phone for more than 200 languages.
  • Written translation: Individuals can request help with interpretation or translating essential documents, which include written materials critical for accessing commission programs and services.
  • Materials/brochures: Informational brochures are currently available in English and Spanish.

The plan also includes providing in-person and video relay interpreting services at no cost to the deaf and hard-of-hearing.

The commission’s goal is to help limited English proficient customers receive and understand the information they need to file a charge of discrimination. This includes all vital documents and communications relating to a discrimination charge and investigation.

“We are tasked with enforcing Idaho’s anti-discrimination laws, and educating Idahoans about their rights and preventing illegal discrimination. A portion of Idaho’s population is not English proficient, leaving them vulnerable to discrimination — especially if they are unaware of or cannot express their rights. All Idahoans deserve to understand the protections afforded to them and have meaningful access to our services. Our new Language Access Plan demonstrates this dedication,” said Lindsy Glick, IHRC civil rights investigator.

Glick led the effort to research and develop the Language Access Plan, based on the commission’s interest in making it easier for limited English proficient customers to fully access relevant services and information.

“The services included in the Access Plan meet or exceed federal standards for translation, interpretation and providing vital documents in an individual’s preferred language or mode of communication,” said Commission Administrator Ben Earwicker.

Although English is Idaho’s most commonly spoken language, the state includes a diverse population with a variety of language needs, according to a Department of Education survey and the U.S. Census Bureau.

The Idaho Human Rights Commission enforces Idaho state and federal anti-discrimination laws and provides mediation services to resolve complaints. The commission also provides free training for businesses and organizations throughout the state.

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