I am pleased to present the Office of Personnel Management's (OPM) Notification and Federal Employee Antidiscrimination and Retaliation Act of 2002 ("No FEAR Act") annual report for Fiscal Year 2006, summarizing many of our significant advancements in civil rights for our programs and workforce during Fiscal Year 2006. OPM remains fully committed to promoting and protecting merit system principles as we work to accomplish our mission to ensure the Federal Government has an effective civilian workforce.
The No FEAR Act, signed by President George W. Bush on May 15, 2002, is intended to reduce the incidence of workplace discrimination within the Federal government by making agencies and departments more accountable. Section 203 of the No FEAR Act specifically requires, not later than 180 days after the end of each fiscal year, each Federal agency to submit to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the President Pro Tempore of the Senate, the Committee on Governmental Affairs of the Senate, the Committee on Government Reform of the House of Representatives, each committee of Congress with jurisdiction relating to the agency, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and the Attorney General an annual report with specific information relating to each agency's EEO complaints activity. 5 CFR Part 724 provides further guidance on each agency’s reporting obligations, and also requires the submission of the annual report to the Director of OPM for the implementation of a best practices study and the issuance of advisory guidelines.
During Fiscal Year 2006, OPM achieved improvements in its operations and strategic management of human capital by promoting policies and initiatives to proactively prevent violations of antidiscrimination and whistleblower laws. I am proud to report OPM’s specific accomplishments, including: OPM’s issuance of a new Schedule A regulation, providing Federal agencies with enhanced flexibilities to hire persons with severe physical disabilities; re-issuance of OPM’s Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Policy Statement and Prohibited Personnel Practices Policy Statement; publishing of OPM’s No FEAR Act Notice in the Federal Register; delivery of OPM’s Initial No FEAR Act training to all employees; OPM’s use of interpretype machines at agency events to enhance communication and accessibility for individuals with hearing impairments; OPM’s use of Relay Conference Captioning to make events accessible to employees with hearing difficulties; and the continual delivery of EEO training.
In addition to emphasizing merit system compliance, OPM promoted workforce inclusiveness and appreciation for cultural and individual differences. OPM continued to conduct regular Special Observance programs designed to educate employees on the value of our Nation’s various cultures and groups of people. OPM also participated in outreach events to widely provide information to potential recruits on the significance and fulfillment of Federal service.
Finally, OPM’s Fiscal Year 2006 EEO complaints data reflect the effectiveness of our workforce policies, training, management, and EEO complaints process in maintaining civil rights compliance and accountability. For example, the number of formal EEO complaints filed in Fiscal Year 2006 decreased significantly from the previous fiscal year, and remained relatively consistent with activity in years prior to Fiscal Year 2005 – a noteworthy occurrence when considering OPM’s Fiscal Year 2005 addition of approximately 1,600 employees, a total workforce increase of almost 46%. Also, OPM’s EEO complaint processing statistics, as described in this report, demonstrate the tremendous successes attained by the EEO program in providing an expeditious and legally-compliant process for reviewing allegations of employment violations.
As OPM promotes the ideals of public service and champions the Federal workforce, we take seriously our responsibility to abide by merit system principles, provide protection from prohibited personnel practices and to be accountable for our actions.
|Linda M. Springer