The House has passed HR-702, designed to strengthen federal employees’ protections against discrimination and retaliation for whistleblowing.
Under the bill, agencies could not impose nondisclosure policies that restrict an employee from making disclosures of the sort protected by whistleblower law to Congress, the Office of Special Counsel, or an Office of Inspector General.
The bill also would require agencies to: track discrimination complaints through the EEO process, including any disciplinary action based on a finding of discrimination; report to the EEOC whether disciplinary action was taken against an employee who was found to have discriminated or retaliated against another employee; and include in employee personnel records any disciplinary actions against them for discrimination or retaliation.
Further, agencies would have to publicly reveal the details of any finding of discrimination or retaliation. Also, EEO offices would have to function independent of agency HR and GC offices and report directly to the agency head.
A similar bill passed the House with bipartisan support last year but the Senate didn’t take it up.