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News Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, January 22, 2004
Contact: Edmund Byrnes
Tel: 202-606-2402

OPM Director Kay Coles James Signs Regulation on No Fear Act

Protects Whistleblowers from Retaliation

Washington, D.C. - U.S. Office of Personnel Management Director Kay Coles James has signed the first of three regulations under the Notification and Federal Employee Antidiscrimination and Retaliation (No FEAR) Act. The Act, signed by President George W. Bush on May 16, 2002, is intended to reduce the incidence of workplace discrimination within the federal government by making agencies and departments more accountable.

"If we expect government operations and performance to improve, we must ensure that employees feel comfortable to raise critical issues without fear of inappropriate reactions," said James. "The federal government can best assure this atmosphere by creating a workplace that is free of hostility and discrimination, protects the rights of whistleblowers and is free of retaliatory actions."

This initial regulation governs the process of reimbursements to the Treasury Department's judgment fund by agencies, from their budgets, for judgments against agencies and settlements for discrimination in the workplace.

In addition to the regulation, OPM will continue to work with representatives from the Department of Justice, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Department of Treasury and the Office of Special Counsel to draft regulations concerning the remaining features of the No Fear Act, namely, notification and training, annual reporting requirements, and a comprehensive study on best-practices to address workplace discrimination within federal agencies.

This No FEAR regulation is effective immediately upon publication, but is still subject to public comment for 60 days.

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Our mission is to Recruit, Retain and Honor a World-Class Workforce to Serve the American People. OPM supports U.S. agencies with personnel services and policy leadership including staffing tools, guidance on labor-management relations and programs to improve work force performance.


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