The federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has issued proposed amendments to its rules for handling complaints by federal employees. The EEOC's press release identifies changes that will allow federal agencies to implement pilot programs, and that would require agencies to follow EEOC regulations and directives. The pilot programs would, "grant agencies variances from particular provisions" of federal regulations. Another change would clarify that agencies could dismiss charges that proposed agency actions are retaliatory only if the proposed action is not itself materially adverse, that is, that it would dissuade a reasonable employee from engaging in protected activity. The proposed rule would require agencies to notify complainants when their complaints have been under investigation for over 180 days. At this point, the employee would have the right to request an EEOC administrative hearing (or file in federal court). The notification would have to inform employees of the option to request an EEOC hearing. The proposed regulation would also extend the time agencies have to comply with an EEOC order from 60 days to 120 days. Members of the public are invited to submit comments by February 19, 2010.
U.S. Department of Transportation Inspector General Calvin Scovel III issued a letter of commendation to Steve T. Mackey, a former bridge manager for Metro's Silver Line extension to Dulles Airport. According to a story in today's Washington Post, Dulles Transit Partners overruled Mackey's concerns and decided to use 11 foundations abandoned in the 1970's without testing them to determine if they could bear the weight of the planned rail bridge over Interstate 66. Mackey reported his concerns to Scovel's office which led to federal safety intervention to obtain the testing Mackey recommended. Mackey has since left the Dulles Transit Partners and works for an area engineering firm. Scovel's letter states, "Engineers shall hold paramount the safety, health and welfare of the public. Your actions exemplify this ethic and are a credit to you and your profession." If the Silver Line bridge had been built without testing, a latent defect could have led to catastrophic failure at a time when the bridge was under increased load -- such a a crowded train during rush hour traffic. We add our thanks to Steve Mackey.
The National Whistleblowers Legal Defense & Education Fund's teleconference on National Security Whistleblowers is underway. Shown here are Sibel Edmonds of the National Security Whistleblowers Coalition, Stephen M. Kohn, Executive Director of the National Whistleblowers Center, David Colapinto, General Counsel of the National Whistleblowers Center, and Mark Zaid of the James Madison Project. The teleconference also includes participation by telephone of Fred Whitehurst of NWC's Forensic Justice Project, and TSA whistleblower Robert MacLean.