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H.R. 1557 (114th): Federal Employee Antidiscrimination Act of 2015

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The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress, and was published on Jul 12, 2016.


Federal Employee Antidiscrimination Act of 2015

(Sec. 2) This bill amends the Notification and Federal Employee Antidiscrimination and Retaliation Act of 2002 to: (1) expand disclosure and enforcement requirements relating to findings of acts of discrimination and retaliation in the federal workplace, and (2) amend the sense of Congress provisions of such Act to declare that accountability in the enforcement of federal employee rights is furthered when federal agencies take appropriate disciplinary action against employees who have been found to have committed discriminatory or retaliatory acts.

(Sec. 3) With respect to disclosure of findings of discrimination or retaliation in an agency, the bill requires an agency to provide notice on its website for at least one year regarding any finding by the agency or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) of discrimination or retaliation in the agency. The notice shall identify the date the finding was made, the dates the discriminatory or retaliatory acts occurred, the laws violated, and shall advise employees of their rights and protections available under law.

(Sec. 4) With respect to agency reporting requirements, the bill requires agencies to:

submit their annual reports to Congress, the EEOC, and Department of Justice on discrimination and retaliation in an electronic format; report to the EEOC on whether disciplinary action has been initiated against an employee who has committed an act of discrimination or retaliation; and include in the data on equal employment opportunity complaints posted on their websites whether a decision has been made to pursue disciplinary action against an employee who has committed an act of discrimination or retaliation and additional data on each class action complaint filed against the federal agency alleging discrimination or retaliation. (Sec. 7) The bill also requires federal agencies to: (1) establish a system to track each complaint of discrimination adjudicated by the EEOC from inception to resolution, including whether a decision has been made on necessary disciplinary action as a result of a finding of discrimination; and (2) make a notation in an employee's personnel record of any adverse action taken against the employee for an act of discrimination or retaliation.

The bill declares that each federal agency is responsible for the fair, impartial processing and resolution of complaints of employment discrimination and retaliation and requires each agency to establish a model Equal Employment Opportunity Program that is not under the control of a Human Capital or General Counsel Office, is devoid of internal conflicts of interest, and ensures fairness, inclusiveness, and the efficient resolution of complaints alleging discrimination or retaliation.

The bill authorizes the EEOC to refer a finding of discrimination or retaliation within a federal agency to the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) if the EEOC determines that the agency did not take appropriate action. The OSC shall review the referrals for purposes of seeking disciplinary action.

The EEOC must include such referrals in its annual report on the federal workforce.

(Sec. 8) The bill prohibits the implementation or enforcement of nondisclosure policies, forms, or agreements that prohibit or restrict an employee from disclosing to Congress, the OSC, or an Office of the Inspector General any information relating to any violation of law, mismanagement, a gross waste of funds, abuse of authority, or a substantial and specific danger to public health or safety or any other whistleblower protection.

(Sec. 9) Federal agencies must propose a minimum 12-day suspension for a first violation, or removal for a second violation, of a supervisor who has been determined to have: (1) committed a prohibited personnel practice that discriminates for or against an employee or applicant based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, handicap condition, or marital status; or (2) accessed an employee's medical records or taken personnel actions against an employee or applicant in retaliation for protected whistleblower disclosures or activities. An agency must carry out the suspension or removal if, after providing the supervisor an opportunity to answer and furnish evidence, the agency determines that the supervisor's evidence is insufficient to reverse the proposed suspension or removal.

These suspension and removal requirements do not apply to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Central Intelligence Agency, the Defense Intelligence Agency, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the National Reconnaissance Office, the Government Accountability Office, or certain executive agencies whose principal function the President determines is the conduct of foreign intelligence or counterintelligence activities.