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Blacks in Government (BIG) was organized in 1975 and incorporated as a non-profit organization under the District of Columbia jurisdiction in 1976.  We are a professional development association comprised of federal, state and local public servants in eleven regions nationwide.  We are committed to promoting equity, excellence, opportunity and a workplace free of discrimination and retaliation.

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New discrimination Rules from OPM and EEOC

 

Over the next few months, rules which will dictate how agencies follow new laws intended to hold agencies and managers accountable for discriminatory practices will be issued in parts for public comment.

 

OPM's regulations will explain how agencies must reimburse the federal treasury for monetary awards and settlements paid for discrimination and retaliation complaints.  Agencies must decide how they will reimburse the Treasury fund, per OPM General Counsel Mark Robbins.

 

Mr. Robbins stated that OPM's rules will likely stipulate:

 

*All judgments issued and settlements signed after October 1 will be covered under the new law and will become the fiscal responsibility of agencies.

 

* Cases in which a judgment was issued before October 1 will not be covered, even if the judgment is overturned on appeal.

 

* Agencies have 45 days to either reimburse a paid settlement or outline in writing to OPM and Treasury how they intend to reimburse the fund.

 

New rules on how agencies will post information concerning bias cases on their web sites are being finalized by EEOC.  The new rules, which are now in draft form, will be published and open to public comment after approval by the four member commission, stated Carlton Hadden, director of EEOC's Office of Federal Operations. 

 

The first data report covered by EEOC's regulations is due December 31, although the commission will likely propose that the deadline be extended at least 30 days.

 

OPM anticipates issuing a separate set of interim regulations within a couple of months that will spell out how agencies must comply with other reporting and employee training requirements in the law.

 

The regulations will direct agencies to educate and train their employees on their rights and protections under discrimination and whistleblower laws, Robbins said. The first report under those requirements is not due until March 2005, and agencies will have until the end of September 2004 to comply with training and education requirements.

 

Bush signed the law, called Notification and Federal Employee Antidiscrimination and Retaliation Act, or NO FEAR for short, in May 2002 but waited until July 2003 to formally appoint specific agencies to write the rules that will the law into effect.

Fighting the Good Fight!

Keep up with key complaints involving African-American employees within the Federal Government as well as State and Local Government.  

  • Spencer, et al, v. U.S. Department of Agriculture (African American Department-Wide Class Complaint) www.mlode.com/~aspencer

No FEAR cont'd

Members of the civil rights community who fought for the bills (NO FEAR) passage are concerned that the last-minute rush to publish the regulations show a lack of commitment to the goals behind the bill.

 

"There's clearly in our mind a disrespect for

  the people who have been victimized in the process and a lack of respect for the bill," 

said Marsha Coleman-Adebayo, a senior 

policy analyst at the Environmental 

Protection Agency who filed and won a

  $300,000 discrimination and retaliation 

complaint against the EPA in 2000.

 

"This is the first civil rights bill this century, and so far we are not impressed at all with the process that has been put into place," she 

said.

 

Robbins admits that he would have liked 

more time to craft the rules, but said the 

delay should have no impact on how the 

law's requirements are carried out by 

agencies.  He added that OPM intends to 

work with Coleman-Adebayo's No Fear Coalition, which is a group of federal 

employees who have been discriminated 

against, and others to draft a second set of regulations.

Source: Federal Times 9/29/03

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