5 Things to Know About the No Fear Act

  • Protection
  • Exposure
  • Public Awareness
  • Accountability
  • Civil Rights

There are millions of employees within the Federal government. These workers are granted certain protections under the law and when those protections are ignored, they must be able to come forward and make their concerns known. The No Fear Act of 2002 protects those people coming forward.

Adopted in 2002, the Notification and Federal Employee Antidiscrimination and Retaliation Act of 2002 was signed into law by President George W. Bush on May 12, 2002. It was the first United States civil rights law of the 21st Century.

1. Protection

The act was designed to protect employees who come forward to expose discriminatory or unlawful activities taking place within an agency. If an employee files a complaint, the law prevents the agency being named from taking any kind of retaliatory measures against the employee.

Ranking: 50 Most Affordable Small Colleges for an HR Degree

2. Exposure

According to the U. S. Equal Opportunity Commission, the law was created due to a case brought against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency by Dr. Marsha Coleman-Adebayo. Dr. Coleman-Adebayo exposed serious environmental and health issues taking place at vanadium mines located in South Africa. After she made her concerns known, she was denied promotion opportunities and subjected to working in a hostile environment. The verdict was pronounced in her favor and she was awarded $600,000.

3. Public Awareness

Whistleblowers are valuable assets, both for an agency and for the public. When a whistleblower goes public, it often sets off a chain reaction that causes an agency to undergo public scrutiny that would have taken place without public awareness.

If the protection of the act did not exist, whistleblowers might be subjected to discriminatory practices and possible termination of employment. Without the protections afforded under the law, some would-be whistleblowers might not come forward, which would allow the unlawful practices to continue.

4. Accountability

In addition to providing protection to whistleblowers coming forward, the act also holds agencies accountable for any unlawful measures which might have been taken in order to punish the whistleblower for coming forward. The punishments involved range from actual incarceration to termination of employment to a corporation losing Federal money for projects it might be working on with the government.

5. Civil Rights

The law was designed to protect the civil rights of those individuals who come forward and file complaints against agencies they work for. Individuals who feel their civil rights are being violated can make their complaints known and have them investigated. By raising the issue of civil rights violations, the law states no disciplinary action can be taken against the whistleblower.

While most agencies operate in an open and discrimination-free environment, it’s important to have something in place that holds them accountable if they find themselves operating outside the law. To that end, the No Fear Act of 2002 came about to protect any employee who comes forward to notify others about any practices that might be unsafe or discriminatory.