No FEAR Act
On May 15, 2002, President George W. Bush signed legislation called the No FEAR Act (Notification and Federal Antidiscrimination and Retaliation Act of 2002). This act, which took effect on October 1, 2003, makes Federal agencies individually accountable for violations of anti-discrimination and whistleblower protection laws.
The intent of the No FEAR Act is to help ensure that federal agencies demonstrate a commitment to ensuring that employees who pursue claims under the federal administrative equal employment opportunity (EEO) complaint process and who engage in whistleblower activities are protected and are not subjected to retaliation. The law also encourages Federal agencies to expeditiously resolve complaints that are raised at the administrative level when it is appropriate to do so.
Requirements and agency responsibilities under the No FEAR Act include:
- Payment of settlements and judgments: Agencies that lose or settle discrimination and whistleblower cases must pay judgments out of their individual budgets. In the past, most of these settlements and judgments were paid from a government-wide “judgment fund.” Under the No FEAR Act, agencies must reimburse the fund for court judgments and settlement payments to complainants.
- Employee information and education: Agencies must give their employees, former employees, and applicants for employment written notification of discrimination and whistleblower protection laws. This written notification must include posting the information on the agency’s web site. Agencies are also required to provide their employees with training regarding the rights and remedies applicable to them under these laws. The U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) (www.osc.gov) is responsible for ensuring that agencies meet their obligations to inform and educate their employees regarding the Whistleblower Protection Act. The Office of Special Counsel is an independent federal investigative and prosecutorial agency whose basic mission is to guard against prohibited personnel practices in the federal workplace, with a special emphasis on protecting government whistleblowers.
- Training for managers: Agencies should ensure that managers have adequate training in the management of a diverse workforce, dispute resolution and other essential communication skills.
- Annual reports to Congress: Each agency must file an annual report with Congress, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and the Attorney General providing information about discrimination and whistleblower cases filed against the agency, including details on how cases were resolved and any disciplinary actions against agency employees resulting from violations of discrimination and whistleblower protection laws.
- Posting of EEO complaint data on the Internet: Each Federal agency must post on its public web site summary statistical data relating to equal opportunity complaints filed against the agency. The agency must post data for the current fiscal year on a cumulative basis (year-to-date information), updated quarterly. An agency also must post year-end data for the five previous fiscal years for comparison purposes. In addition, section 302 of the No FEAR Act requires the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to post government-wide, summary statistical data pertaining to hearings requested under 29 C.F.R. Part 1614 and appeals filed with EEOC. The posting of EEO data on agency public web sites is intended to assist Congress, Federal agencies, and the public in assessing whether and the extent to which agencies are living up to their equal employment opportunity responsibilities. (The specific data to be posted is described in section 301(b) of the No FEAR Act and 29 C.F.R. 1614.704. See the Final Rule regarding Posting Requirements in Federal Sector Equal Employment Opportunity).
Civil Rights and Workforce Diversity Policy
AmeriCorps (the Corporation for National and Community Service adopted the operating name “AmeriCorps” as of September 29, 2020) is committed to achieving a diverse, energized, high-performing workforce. The key to achieving this objective is developing and maintaining effective leaders, managers, and employees who treat all persons with dignity and respect regardless of race, color, national origin, gender, age, religion, sexual orientation, disability, gender identity or expression, political affiliation, marital or parental status, pregnancy, reprisal, genetic information, or military service. This policy covers all personnel programs, management practices, and decisions. This includes, but is not limited to, recruitment, hiring, merit promotions, transfers, reassignments, training, career development, benefits, and separations. We strive to provide a work environment free of discrimination and harassment, providing all employees the freedom to compete on a fair and level playing field.
Our mission is to provide opportunities for individuals of all ages and backgrounds to serve their communities and country. We work with national and community nonprofit organizations, faith-based groups, schools, and local agencies to engage individuals in meeting critical needs to support education, disaster services, economic opportunity, healthy futures, veterans and military families, and other causes. Our commitment to diversity, dignity, and equal opportunity is integral to our mission. In order to achieve this, we must promote a climate of mutual respect and appreciation for the strengths that a diverse workforce brings to bear. It is essential that our employees provide work and service environments free from discrimination and harassment.
As the Chief Executive Officer, I am committed to fostering a diverse workplace; a workplace that is free of discrimination or harassment in any form; that is inclusive and fair; and that encourages participation of all employees in every facet of AmeriCorps. I am firmly committed to promoting a climate of mutual respect and appreciation for all AmeriCorps employees.
Every AmeriCorps manager, supervisor, and employee must abide by this policy. Implicit in each employee's successful work performance, and explicit in each supervisor’s performance rating, are goals and objectives to support our diverse workforce and civil rights policies and programs to foster an inclusive workplace where diversity and individual differences are valued. Any person who violates this policy will be subject to appropriate disciplinary action, up to and including removal from federal service.
Any AmeriCorps employee, former employee, or applicant for employment who believes they were discriminated against in violation of civil rights laws, regulations, or this policy or subject to reprisal for opposing discrimination or participating in discrimination complaint proceedings (e.g., as a complainant or witness) should raise their concerns with our Equal Employment Opportunity Program (EEOP).
Discrimination claims should be brought to the attention of the EEOP within 45 calendar days of the occurrence to be accepted for investigation in a formal complaint of discrimination. The EEOP may be reached at (202) 606-7503 or email@example.com. In addition, employees may also consider our Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR) Program as an informal way to resolve workplace conflicts. If you are interested in learning more about our ADR program, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Chief Executive Officer
November 18, 2020