The American people will surely benefit from the critical measures, like the anti-gag order provision, in HR 1557.
Washington, DC (PRWEB) October 11, 2016
A host of advocacy groups and whistleblowers have signed a solidarity letter to support the bill HR 1557-Federal Employee Anti-discrimination Act. Congressman Elijah Cummings introduced HR 1557 on March 24, 2015.
The bill, which amends the Notification and Federal Employee Anti-discrimination and Retaliation (No FEAR) Act of 2002, strengthens Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) protections for Federal employees who have been discriminated against. It also provides accountability within the Federal government for retaliatory acts.
The bill is now with Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee (HSGAC). According to advocacy groups the bill has stalled since the senate added a controversial disciplinary amendment that would deprive employees of their full due process rights. The group sent a united letter to Senator Ron Johnson, Chairman of HSGAC, asking for him to move on the reform measures as agreed upon by both the House and the Senate.
“The American people will surely benefit from the critical measures, like the anti-gag order provision, in HR 1557. Both the House and Senate have already agreed on the measure. Now, we need lawmakers to compromise on the controversial disciplinary measure so that the “anti-gag order” provision and the other transforming Federal workplace measures can be adopted into law,” says Tanya Ward Jordan, President and Founder of the Coalition For Change, Inc. (C4C). “It has been 14 years since the No FEAR act passed. Retaliation in the Federal government is rampant and it harms the public. Had HR 1557’s anti-gag order provision been in place during 2011, many of our veterans would not have suffered from prolonged health care abuses. Sadly, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) officials put a gag-order provision in the EEO settlement agreement of Oliver Mitchell. Mitchell is a former VA Patient Scheduling Clerk and a leading whistleblower. He sought to warn the public years ago about how VA officials destroyed patient records at the West Los Angeles medical center in California.”
“Managers need to be disciplined for unlawful civil rights acts; however, we must ensure full due process rights for any one accused of a violation. For we recognize the brokenness of both the Federal EEO system and Federal personnel systems. We have witnessed how these systems have been used, at times, to unfairly target those in a protected category and those who speak out against workplace injustices,” says Michael McCray, Esq. National Board Member Federal Employee of Women Legal Education Fund (FEWLEF).
“Congress needs to act now. Public servants who are to uphold the public trust languish in the Federal EEO complaint system. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission continues to let the American people down. The enforcement agency provides no numeric goal in days for deciding employee appeals. The EEOC recently informed the C4C the oldest pending appeal, awaiting a decision at the EEOC, is about 3,065 days old (8.4 years). Some people have died while awaiting justice from the EEOC,” states Paulette Taylor, C4C’s Civil and Humans Rights Chair. “We are hopeful that Senator Ron Johnson will execute a manager's amendment to ensure that the Senate version of HR 1557 mirrors the House version of the bill so that vital EEO reforms can pass in this session of Congress.”
About the C4C:
The Coalition For Change, Inc. (C4C), a public interest group, serves as an informational support network for present and former Federal employees injured as a result of workplace discrimination. The C4C’s mission is to expose and eradicate racism and reprisal in the Federal government, thus fostering efficiency, effectiveness and transparency in Federal programs and operations.
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