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Sunday, May 20, 2012



For Immediate Release
Network for Women's Equality
May 18, 2012
Contact: 240-731-9577 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 240-731-9577 end_of_the_skype_highlighting
703-271-8882 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 703-271-8882 end_of_the_skype_highlighting
A national "Whistleblowers Conference on Civil and Human Rights," is being held next week in the nation's capital to protest the treatment of whistleblowers and women in this administration.
The USDA Coalition of Minority Employees, the No Fear Institute & Coalition, The Brown Center for Public Policy Ethics in Business Institute, Whistlewatch, Coalition 4 Change, Pacifica Foundation, and other major organizations will join whistleblowers as they discuss current legislation and future actions in protecting whistleblowers and civil rights complainants from retaliation within the Federal government.
The "Whistleblower Protection and Enhancement Act (WPEA S. 743) introduced by Senator Daniel Akaka-D Hawaii, unanimously passed the Senate on May 8, 2012 and will go to the House. Advocacy groups have applauded this action, but feel that the law does not meet all the requirements necessary to protect whistleblowers. "The granting of summary judgment to Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) Administrative Judges (AJs) strengthens their authority, while putting whistleblowers' complaints in jeopardy of being dismissed, without appropriate appeals," said Dr. Coleman-Adebayo of the No Fear Coalition.
National Whistleblower Center (NWC) Executive Director, Stephen M. Kohn, also issued a statement about the bill stating that, "All federal employees badly need strong whistleblower protections consistent with the protections enjoyed by private sector workers. The Senate version of the WPEA contains some improvements, but falls far short of the comprehensive whistleblower law reforms promised in the 2008 political campaign." Organizations such as the No Fear Institute and Net-WE are asking the President to veto the bill if the House passes it with summary judgment authority granted to MSPB AJs.
"We are in the process of reviewing and evaluating agency compliance with the 2002 No Fear Act reporting requirements. What we are finding is that agencies are either failing to comply with the reporting requirements of Congress or their reports are filled with significant errors, showing that there is a lack of concern for the validity of the contents or data. In addition, based on best practices, their processing times for complaints are abysmal, significantly higher than the regulations allow," said Susan Morris a civil rights professional. "There should be a penalty against agencies and their management for failing to adhere to the laws of this nation, particularly the civil rights laws, otherwise they become meaningless or pertain only to some people and not others." A discussion on the No Fear II and WPEA legislation will be held during the conference, along with "No Fear Report Cards" issued to agencies who continue to violate the requirements of the No Fear Act during a press conference held at the Martin Luther King Jr Memorial on the National Mall, Tuesday, May 22 starting at 11:30 am.
Women from the USDA, Forest Service, will be attending the Conference to protest the "War on Women" that is continuing and not being adequately addressed by the administration. Lesa Donnelly, Vice President of the USDA Coalition of Minority Employees, wrote to President Obama stating that, "…women are traveling to Washington DC ….to participate in the Whistleblower Summit - Civil and Human Rights Conference…" In her letter, Ms. Donnelly reiterated her concerns about the lack of attention being given to her letter written a year ago (May 19, 2011) in which she made the administration "aware of multiple issues of sex and race discrimination, and egregious incidents of sexual and physical assaults," on women in the Forest Service. A number of these women will be present to participate in the "War on Women" panel discussion scheduled for Wednesday, May 23rd at 1:00 pm (see Conference schedule on www.OccupyEPA.com).