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Cummings Applauds Passage of Bill to Expand Protections for Federal Employees Against Discrimination

Jul 22, 2015
Press Release

Cummings Applauds Passage of Bill to Expand Protections for Federal Employees Against Discrimination

 

Washington, DC (July 21, 2015)—Today, the House of Representatives passed by a vote of 403-0 a bipartisan bill introduced by Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, to strengthen equal employment protections for federal workers. The bill, the Federal Employee Antidiscrimination Act of 2015, H.R. 1557, was cosponsored by Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz, as well as Reps. Eleanor Holmes Norton, James F. Sensenbrenner, and Sheila Jackson Lee.

“The Equal Employment Opportunity program is essential to ensuring that our federal workplaces uphold the guarantee of equal opportunity that is the right of every citizen in this nation,” said Cummings. “This legislation takes critical steps to strengthen federal agencies’ management of this process, as well as the accountability mechanisms that are central to the effectiveness of the process.  I thank Chairman Chaffetz for co-sponsoring this bill and for working so closely with me to advance this bipartisan legislation through the Oversight Committee and the House of Representatives.”

“Too often dedicated public servants are unfairly discriminated against for reporting misconduct in the federal workplace,” said Chaffetz. “This legislation strengthens transparency and accountability within the federal workforce and provides more protection for federal employees by reducing the opportunity for retaliation against them. I want to thank Mr. Cummings for his leadership and work on this important bill.”

In fiscal year 2012, federal employees and applicants for employment filed nearly 16,000 complaints alleging they had been the victims of discrimination. Although the vast majority of these complaints were handled in a timely and fair manner, some federal agencies still have not met the standards of a model program set forth by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). 

For example, in 2014, the EEOC issued a report finding that the Social Security Administration had failed to ensure efficient management of the various stages of the complaint process, provide uniform training to ensure equal opportunities, or implement effective and efficient anti-harassment policies and procedures. 

The Federal Employee Antidiscrimination Act of 2015 would require each federal agency to ensure that the head of its Equal Employment Opportunity program reports directly to the agency head. 

The Act would also expand the notifications that agencies are required to provide when discrimination is found to have occurred, and it would require agencies to track and report whether such findings resulted in any disciplinary action. 

Finally, the Act would prohibit non-disclosure agreements that seek to prohibit or restrict a federal employee from disclosing to Congress, the Office of Special Counsel, or an Inspector General any information that relates to any violation of any law, rule, or regulation, or waste, fraud or abuse.

H.R. 1557 passed the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform by a voice vote on March 25, 2015.

Click here and see below to view Ranking Member Cummings’ remarks on the House floor today.  

114th Congress