No Fear Act Annual Report
On May 15, 2002, Congress enacted the "Notification and Federal Employee Anti-discrimination and Retaliation Act of 2002 (No FEAR Act). One purpose of the Act is to "…require that Federal agencies be accountable for violations of anti-discrimination and whistleblower protection laws" (see PublicLaw107-174). Notification requirements of the No FEAR Act require that federal agencies provide the following information to its employees, former employees and applicants for employment, in order to inform them of their rights and protections available under federal anti-discrimination and whistleblower protection laws.
The EAC may not discriminate against an employee or applicant with respect to the terms, conditions or privileges of employment on the basis of age, disability, genetic information, pregnancy, race/color, religion, sex, national origin, marital status or political affiliation. Discrimination on these bases is prohibited by one or more of the following statutes: 5 U.S.C. § 2302(b)(I), 29 U.S.C. § 206(d), 29 U.S.C. § 631, 29 U.S.C. § 633a, 29 U.S.C. § 791 and 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-16 (see also: EAC Statement on Non-Discrimination and Equal Employment Opportunity). If you believe that you have been the victim of unlawful discrimination on one or more of these bases, you must contact an Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) counselor within 45 calendar days of the alleged discriminatory action, or, in the case of a personnel action, within 45 calendar days of the effective date of the action, before you can file a formal complaint of discrimination against the EAC. See, e.g. 29 CFR §1614. Further, if you believe that you have been the victim of unlawful discrimination specifically on the basis of age, you must either contact an EEO counselor (as noted above) or give notice of intent to file suit against the EAC to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) within 180 calendar days of the alleged discriminatory action. If you are alleging discrimination based on sexual orientation, status as a parent, marital status or political affiliation, you may file a written complaint with the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) and/or the Merit Systems Protections Board (MSPB), as applicable. For more information, please see http://www.eeoc.gov/facts/fs-orientation_parent_marital_political.html.
Whistleblower Protection Laws
A Federal employee with authority to take, direct others to take, recommend or approve any personnel action must not use the authority to take or fail to take, or threaten to take or fail to take, a personnel action against an employee or applicant because of disclosure of information by that individual that is reasonably believed to evidence violations of law, rule or regulation; gross mismanagement; gross waste of funds; an abuse of authority; or a substantial and specific danger to public health or safety, unless disclosure of such information is specifically required by Executive Order to be kept secret, in the interest of national defense or the conduct of foreign affairs. Retaliation against an employee or applicant for making a protected disclosure is prohibited by 5 U.S.C. § 2302(b)(8). If you believe that you have been the victim of whistleblower retaliation, you may file a written complaint (Form OSC-11) with the U.S. Office of Special Counsel at 1730 M Street NW., Suite 218, Washington, DC, 200364505 or online through the OSC Website, http://www.osc.gov.
Retaliation for Engaging in Protected Activity
The EAC cannot retaliate against an employee or applicant because that individual exercises his or her rights under any of the Federal anti-discrimination or whistleblower protection laws listed above. If you believe that you are the victim of retaliation for engaging in protected activity, you must follow, as appropriate, the procedures described in the anti-discrimination laws and whistleblower protection laws sections, or, if applicable, the administrative or negotiated grievance procedures in order to pursue any legal remedy.
Under the existing laws, the EAC retains the right, where appropriate, to discipline a Federal employee for conduct that is inconsistent with federal anti-discrimination and whistleblower protection laws up to and including removal. If OSC has initiated an investigation under 5 U.S.C. § 1214, however, according to 5 U.S.C. § 1214(f), agencies must seek approval from the Special Counsel to discipline employees for, among other activities, engaging in prohibited retaliation. Nothing in the NO FEAR Act alters existing laws or permits the EAC to take unfounded disciplinary action against a Federal employee or to violate the procedural rights of a Federal employee who has been accused of discrimination.
For further information regarding the No Fear Act regulations, please refer to 5 CFR Part 724, as well as the EEO Office. Additional information regarding Federal anti-discrimination, whistleblower protection and retaliation laws can be found on the EEOC’s website at http://www.eeoc.gov and the OSC’s website at http://www.osc.gov.
Existing Rights Unchanged
Pursuant to section 205 of the No Fear Act, neither the Act nor this notice create, expands or reduces any rights otherwise available to any employee, former employee or applicant under the laws of the United States, including the provisions of law specified in 5 U.S.C. § 2302(d).