U.S. Department of the Interior

Office of the Secretary

Washington, D.C. 20240
June 5, 2002


To: Bureau Equal Opportunity Officers

From: E. Melodee Stith, Director, Office for Equal Opportunity

Subject: The Notification and Federal Employee Antidiscrimination And Retaliation Act - "The No FEAR Act" (P.L. 107-174)

President Bush recently signed into law, the Notification and Federal Employee Antidiscrimination and Retaliation Act, also known as the No FEAR Act. The passage of this law holds enormous implications for federal agencies, and has been hailed as the "first civil rights bill of the new century". Currently, most settlements and awards in favor of federal employees who sue federal agencies and prevail in discrimination cases have been paid from a government-wide Judgement Fund. The No FEAR Act changes that. The law is designed to hold federal agencies more accountable for ensuring that the laws intended to protect federal employees from harassment, discrimination, retaliation, whistle blowing are enforced. The law requires federal agencies to pay for settlements and awards directly out of their budgets.

In addition to the first provision contained in the legislation as discussed above, there are three other provisions: the second provision requires federal agencies to report annually, to Congress, the number of cases in which the federal agency is alleged to have violated any of the covered discrimination or whistle blower statutes, the disposition of each of the cases, the total of all monetary awards charged against the federal agency from the cases, and the number of agency employees disciplined for discrimination and retaliation. The third provision allows for a comprehensive study to take place which will determine the best practices relating to appropriate disciplinary actions against employees who commit discrimination and retaliation. The fourth provision requires federal agencies to provide enhanced notification to their employees about all applicable discrimination and whistle blower protection laws, similar to that already required under the Whistle blower Protection Act. As guidance on enforcement of the No FEAR Act becomes available, we will be discussing the information with you further. In addition to the above, the General Accounting Office (GAO) has been asked to conduct four studies and to report to Congress.

Distribution: All Bureau/Office Equal Opportunity Officers

Inquiries: Mercedes Flores, Chief of Staff, Office for Equal Opportunity, (202) 208-6120

Expiration: When superseded

Click here for: "The No FEAR Act"