No Fear Act Notice, November 2, 2006


[Federal Register: November 2, 2006 (Volume 71, Number 212)]
[Notices]               
[Page 64562-64563]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr02no06-71]                         

=======================================================================
-----------------------------------------------------------------------

DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE

 
Justice Management Division; No FEAR Act Notice

AGENCY: Justice Management Division, Department of Justice.




ACTION: Notice.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: This notice fulfills the Department of Justice's ``No FEAR Act 
Notice'' Federal Register publication obligations, as required by the 
Act and by the Office of Personnel Management implementing regulations 
at 5 CFR 724.202.

DATES: This notice is effective November 2, 2006.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Marcus Williams, Acting Director, 
Equal Employment Opportunity Staff, Department of Justice, Suite 10001, 
1425 New York Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20530. Telephone: (202) 616-
4800.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: On May 15, 2002, Congress enacted the 
``Notification and Federal Employee Antidiscrimination and Retaliation 
Act of 2002'' which is now known as the No FEAR Act. One purpose of the 
Act is to ``require that Federal agencies be accountable for violations 
of antidiscrimination and whistleblower protection laws.'' Public Law 
107-174. In support of this purpose, Congress found that ``agencies 
cannot be run effectively if those agencies practice or tolerate 
discrimination.'' Public Law 107-174, Title I, General Provisions, 
section 101(1).
    The Act also requires Federal agencies, including the Department of 
Justice (``DOJ''), to provide this notice to Federal employees, former 
Federal employees and applicants for Federal employment to inform you 
of the rights and protections available to you under Federal 
antidiscrimination and whistleblower protection laws.

Antidiscrimination Laws

    The Department of Justice cannot discriminate against an employee 
or applicant for Federal employment with respect to the terms, 
conditions or privileges of employment on the basis of race, color, 
religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, 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)(1), 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. If you believe that you have been the victim of unlawful 
discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national 
origin or disability, 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 with your agency. See, e.g., 29 CFR part 
1614. If you believe that you have been the victim of unlawful 
discrimination on the basis of age, you must either contact an EEO 
counselor, as noted above, or give notice of intent to sue to the Equal 
Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) within 180 calendar days of 
the alleged discriminatory action. If you are alleging discrimination 
based on marital status or political affiliation, you may file a 
written complaint with the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) (see 
contact information below). In the alternative (or in some cases, in 
addition), you may pursue a discrimination complaint by filing a 
grievance through the DOJ's administrative or negotiated grievance 
procedures, if such procedures apply and are available.

Whistleblower Protection Laws

    A DOJ employee with authority to take, direct others to take, 
recommend or approve any personnel action must not use that 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 prohibited by law and 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 20036-4505 or online 
through the OSC Web site--http://www.osc.gov.


Retaliation for Engaging in Protected Activity

    The DOJ cannot retaliate against an employee or applicant for 
employment because that individual exercises his or her rights under 
any of the Federal antidiscrimination 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 Antidiscrimination Laws and Whistleblower 
Protection Laws sections or, if applicable, the administrative or 
negotiated grievance procedures in order to pursue any legal remedy.

Disciplinary Actions

    Under the existing laws, the DOJ retains the right, where 
appropriate, to discipline an employee for conduct that is inconsistent 
with Federal Antidiscrimination 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), the DOJ 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 DOJ 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.

Additional Information

    For further information regarding the No FEAR Act regulations, 
refer to 5 CFR part 724, as well as the Equal Employment Opportunity 
Staff at the Department of Justice. Additional information regarding 
Federal antidiscrimination, whistleblower protection and retaliation 
laws can be found at the EEOC Web site--http://www.eeoc.gov and the OSC Web site--http://www.osc.gov.


Existing Rights Unchanged

    Pursuant to section 205 of the No FEAR Act, neither the Act nor 
this notice creates, 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).

    Dated: October 16, 2006.
Lee J. Lofthus,
Acting Assistant Attorney General for Administration.
[FR Doc. 06-9022 Filed 11-1-06; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4410-NW-M