House Backed Bill Tries to Put an End to Federal Discrimination

Recently, the House of Representatives passed the Federal Employee Antidiscrimination Act of 2017.1 This act would ensure that those who have been discriminated against in the federal workplace will have the ability to have their cases heard. These cases will be assigned to the Office of Special Counsel wherein disciplinary actions will be assigned and implemented against those who were called into court. Furthermore, agencies who have these cases brought against them will have to update their websites to track the legal process from start to finish. The purpose of this new act is to hold these federal agencies accountable for their discriminatory wrongdoings and to ensure that these cases do in fact come to fruition.2

This Act is intended to provide a progressive leap towards greater equality among those in the federal workplace. For women, statistics have shown that since 2012; reported cases of discrimination have decreased in trend from 30,356 cases to 26,934 cases in 2016.3 Discrimination, as well as the pay wage gap as reported in February 20174 are decreasing, albeit not at the fastest rate. The steps being taken by the House are assisting women in these unnecessarily difficult battles. These specific steps are being assigned to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

Originally, the EEOC, was established by the Civil Rights Act of 1964 in order to prevent discrimination based on color, race, sex, religion, etc. Today, the EEOC works to “enforce federal anti-discrimination statutes, and provides oversight and coordination of all federal equal opportunity regulations, policies, and practices.”5 Going forward, with the introduction of the 2017 Federal Employee Antidiscrimination Act, the EEOC is expected to receive less complaints because of the additional requirements each agency will have to fulfill in conjunction with each case. The Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey of 2016 supports this prediction with its findings that 62 percent of federal employees are unafraid to report discrimination in the workplace.6 The more confidence employees have in their antidiscrimination laws, the less likely discrimination will go unpunished, or even occur.