Government affairs

Legislative Updates

House passes Federal Employee Anti-Discrimination Act

The Federal Employee Anti-Discrimination Act of 2015, H.R. 1557, passed the House of Representatives today, unanimously. The bill was introduced by Oversight & Government Reform Committee Ranking Member Elijah Cummings (D-MD) and Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), and it had the endorsement of the committee’s chairman, Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT).

H.R. 1557 seeks to require that agencies be more transparent while investigating discrimination complaints, by providing notice on its website of workplace discrimination findings, and to require that the agency submit a report within 60 days to the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (EEOC) stating whether disciplinary action was taken against the federal employee in question.

In addition, the legislation specifies that non-disclosure agreements that restrict federal employees from disclosing to Congress, to the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) or to an Inspector General any information that relates to violations of law, rule or regulation, or waste, fraud or abuse, would be prohibited. H.R. 1557 also seeks to prevent further discrimination by requiring each agency to create an Equal Employee Opportunity Program that requires the program’s leader to report directly to the head of the entire agency.

Thousands of discrimination complaints are filed each year by federal employees, especially as some federal agencies have not met the standards of a model program developed by the EEOC. “Federal EEO programs are critical to ensuring that federal workplaces are free from discrimination and that any variance impeding fairness in personnel decisions are identified and eliminated,” Cummings said.

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