California Department of Transportation
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Tribal Employment Rights Ordinance

The California Department of Transportation desires to work cooperatively with California Tribal Governments to increase Native American employment opportunities on transportation projects. The department encourages Native American employment opportunities on transportation projects and supports Tribal Employment Rights Ordinances (TEROs) adopted by federally recognized California Native American Tribes on the Department projects (construction and contracted maintenance) that take place on tribal lands.


State law expressly encourages and authorizes the Department "to cooperate with federally recognized California Indian tribes on matters of economic development and improvement for the Tribes". Tribal employment policies and programs pursuant to a TERO create job opportunities for Native Americans, especially in communities with high unemployment rates. TERO fees are used to support job development and employment programs.


Tribal Governments, as domestic dependent nations, may exercise their sovereign rights to establish and enforce their own laws on tribal lands. The Department honors tribal ordinances pursuant to the law, and as a result, follows the TERO provisions on hiring preferences for contracted State highway work conducted on tribal lands or on any State highway included in a TERO tribe's Indian Reservation Road (IRR) Inventory when a portion of the project is on tribal lands. The Department also pays TERO fees for the portions of projects on tribal lands. These fees will be based on the portion of the project that is on tribal lands.

To support this initiative the Caltrans Native American Liaison Branch worked in collaboration with California TERO Tribes to develop a TERO policy. On December 15, 2010, Caltrans Chief Deputy Director Malcolm Dougherty signed Deputy Directive 74-R2, “Tribal Employment Rights Ordinance”. This policy works in conjunction with Directors Policy 19 “Working with Native American Communities and went into effect immediately.

The Director's Native American Advisory Committee has recently approved a TERO Guidance document created by the Native American Liaison branch.


For more information, or if you have any questions, please feel free to contact HQ or your district on our District Info page.