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No FEAR Act

The Notification and Federal Employee Anti-discrimination and Retaliation Act (No FEAR Act) requires each federal agency — include FEMA — to provide written notification of the rights and protections available to federal employees, former federal employees, and applicants for federal employment under federal anti-discrimination and whistleblower laws.

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The No FEAR Act requires that federal agencies post quarterly reports that share data and statistics relating to acts of discrimination or reprisal against employees.

For more information regarding the No FEAR Act regulations, refer to 5 CFR Part 724, as well as the DHS Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties. Additional information regarding federal anti-discrimination, whistleblower protection and retaliation laws can be found at www.eeoc.gov and www.osc.gov.

Disciplinary Actions

Under the existing laws, DHS retains the right, where appropriate, to discipline a federal employee for conduct that is inconsistent with federal antidiscrimination and whistleblower protection laws, up to and including removal. If OSC has initiated an investigation under 5 U.S.C. 1214, however, according to 5 U.S.C. 1214(f), DHS must seek approval from the special counsel to discipline employees for, among other activities, engaging in prohibited retaliation. Nothing in the No FEAR Act alters existing laws or permits DHS to take unfounded disciplinary action against a Federal employee or to violate the procedural rights of a federal employee who has been accused of discrimination.

Retaliation for Engaging in Protected Activity

A federal employee, including a DHS employee, may not retaliate against an employee or applicant for employment 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 of retaliation for engaging in protected activity, you must follow, as appropriate, the procedures described in the antidiscrimination laws and whistleblower protection laws sections or, if applicable, the administrative or negotiated grievance procedures in order to pursue any legal remedy.

Whistleblower Protection Laws

A federal employee — including a DHS 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 disclosure 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 you have been the victim of whistleblower retaliation, you may file a written complaint (Form OSC-11) online at www.osc.gov or at the below address:

U.S. Office of Special Counsel 
1730 M Street, NW., Suite 218,
Washington, DC 20036-4505