[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 38 (Tuesday, February 26, 2013)]
[Notices]
[Pages 13101-13102]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-04467]


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PRIVACY AND CIVIL LIBERTIES OVERSIGHT BOARD

[Notice-PCLOB-2013-01; Docket No. 2013-0004; Sequence No. 1]


No FEAR Act Notice; Notice of Rights and Protections Available 
Under Federal Antidiscrimination and Whistleblower Protection Laws

AGENCY: Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board.

ACTION: Notice.

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SUMMARY: In accordance with the requirements of the Notification and 
Federal Employee Antidiscrimination and Retaliation Act of 2002, the 
Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board is providing notice to its 
employees, former employees, and applicants for Board employment about 
the rights and remedies available to them under the federal anti-
discrimination, whistleblower protection, and retaliation laws.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Claire McKenna, Legal Counsel, at 202-
366-0365 or claire.mckenna.pclob@dot.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: On May 15, 2002, Congress enacted the 
Notification and Federal Employee Antidiscrimination and Retaliation 
Act of 2002, Public Law 107-174, also known as the No FEAR Act. The Act 
requires that federal agencies provide notice to their employees, 
former employees, and applicants for employment to inform them of the 
rights and protections available under federal anti-discrimination, 
whistleblower protection, and retaliation laws.

Anti-Discrimination Laws

    A federal agency cannot discriminate against an employee or 
applicant 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, 2 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 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. This timeline may be 
extended by the Board under the circumstances described in 29 CFR 
1614.105(a)(2). 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 Board's administrative or negotiated 
grievance procedures, if such procedures apply and are available.

Whistleblower Protection Laws

    A federal 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 disclosures 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

    A federal agency cannot retaliate against an employee or applicant 
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 or retaliation for 
engaging in protected activity, you must follow, as appropriate, the 
procedures described in the Antidiscrimination Laws and Whistleblower 
Protection Laws section or, if applicable, the administrative or 
negotiated grievance procedures in order to pursue any legal remedy.

Disciplinary Actions

    Under existing laws, each agency retains the right, where 
appropriate, to discipline a federal employee for conduct that is 
inconsistent with the Federal Antidiscrimination and Whistleblower 
Protection Laws up to and including removal. If OSC has initiated an 
investigation under 5 U.S.C. 1214, however, agencies must seek approval 
from OSC to discipline employees for, among other activities, engaging 
in prohibited retaliation, 5 U.S.C. 1214(f). Nothing in the No FEAR Act 
alters existing laws or permits an agency to take unfounded 
disciplinary action against a federal employee or to

[[Page 13102]]

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 724, as well as the appropriate Board offices. 
Additional information regarding federal antidiscrimination 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 No FEAR 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: February 21, 2013.
Claire McKenna,
Legal Counsel, Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board.
[FR Doc. 2013-04467 Filed 2-25-13; 8:45 am]
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