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EEO & Diversity

Policies, Procedures and Initiatives

NOAA and NESDIS have EEO and Diversity related policies, procedures and initiatives in place that affect current NESDIS employees. The NESDIS Assistant Administrator’s EEO and Diversity policy statement lays the foundation for related actions and programs. Policies and procedures related to making a request for a reasonable accommodation, seeking out conflict resolution services, the filing of a discrimination complaint, accessing free and confidential counseling services and protection from sexual orientation discrimination are found in the links below. Activities and goals of the NESDIS EEO and Diversity Council are also found in the links below.

Federal Anti-Discrimination Laws

Federal Anti-Discrimination Laws were created by Congress over the past 50 years. For legislation that affects employment, such laws covering age, religion, gender, race, national origin, genetic information, retaliation and disability prohibit discriminatory practices in the areas of recruitment, hiring and firing, compensation, training, promotions and other terms or conditions of employment. A description of each of these federal laws is found below.

The Equal Pay Act of 1963

requires that men and women in the same workplace be given equal pay for equal work, which is governed by job content. All forms of pay are covered by this law, including salary, overtime pay, bonuses, stock options, profit sharing and bonus plans, life insurance, vacation and holiday pay.

The Civil Rights Act of 1964

outlawed major forms of discrimination against racial, ethnic, national and religious minorities, and women. It ended unequal application of voter registration requirements and racial segregation in schools, at the workplace and by facilities that served the general public. Title VII of the act created the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to implement the law.

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) of 1967

forbids employment discrimination against anyone at least 40 years of age. It also specifically prohibits discrimination in hiring, promotion, wages or termination of employment and layoffs.

The Rehabilitation Act of 1973

is federal legislation that authorizes the formula grant programs of vocational rehabilitation, supported employment, independent living, and client assistance. It also authorizes a variety of training and service discretionary grants administered by the Rehabilitation Services Administration. The Act also includes a variety of provisions focused on rights, advocacy and protections for individuals with disabilities.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990

recognizes and protects the civil rights of people with disabilities and is modeled after earlier laws prohibiting discrimination based on disability. The ADA covers a wide range of disability, from physical conditions affecting mobility, stamina, sight, hearing, and speech to conditions such as emotional illness and learning disorders. The ADA addresses access to the workplace (title I), State and local government services (title II), and places of public accommodation/commercial facilities (title III). It requires phone companies to provide telecommunications relay services for people with hearing or speech impairments (title IV) and miscellaneous instructions to Federal agencies that enforce the law (title V).

The Civil Rights Act of 1991

was the first effort since the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to modify some of the basic procedural and substantive rights provided by federal law in employment discrimination cases: it provided for the right to trial by jury on discrimination claims and introduced the possibility of emotional distress damages, while limiting the amount that a jury could award.

The No-FEAR Act

is the abbreviated name for the Notification and Federal Employee Antidiscrimination and Retaliation Act of 2002, a U.S. federal law that requires Federal agencies to be accountable for violations of antidiscrimination and whistleblower protection laws. It requires all Federal agencies to post certain statistical data relating to Federal sector equal employment opportunity complaints quarterly on the agency’s public Web site, The Act requires agencies to pay awards for discrimination and retaliation violations out of their own budgets.

The ADA Amendments Act of 2008

revises the definition of "disability" to more broadly encompass impairments that substantially limit a major life activity. The amended language also states that mitigating measures, including assistive devices, auxiliary aids, accommodations and medical therapies (other than eyeglasses and contact lenses) have no bearing in determining whether a disability qualifies under the law. Changes also clarify coverage of impairments that are episodic or in remission that substantially limit a major life activity when active, such as epilepsy or post-traumatic stress disorder. The amendments took effect January 1, 2009. Download the ADA Amendment Act of 2008 (PDF)

The Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act of 2008 (GINA)

makes it illegal to discriminate against employees or applicants because of genetic information. Title II of GINA prohibits the use of genetic information in making employment decisions, restricts employers and other entities covered by Title II (employment agencies, labor organizations and joint labor-management training and apprenticeship programs) from requesting, requiring or purchasing genetic information, and strictly limits the disclosure of genetic information.

The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009

is named after Lilly Ledbetter, who discovered her employer was paying her less than men doing the same job. This law makes it easier for Mrs. Ledbetter and others like her to effectively challenge unequal pay. Workers must file their claims within 180 days of a discriminatory paycheck in order for their case to be considered.

Additional information on employment legislation is found at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission website:

Special Emphasis Programs (SEP)

Special Emphasis Programs (SEP) are important pieces of an Equal Employment Opportunity and Civil Rights Program. The purpose of SEP programs is to ensure that federal agencies take affirmative steps to provide equal opportunity to minorities, women and people with disabilities in all areas of employment. SEPs usually include commemorative observances which are designed for the purpose of providing cultural awareness to employees. Observances celebrate the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., African American Heritage, Women's History, Asian Pacific Islander Americans, Women's Equality Day, Hispanic Americans, People with Disabilities and American Indian/Alaskan Native Heritage.

Minority Serving Institutions (MSI)

Minority Serving Institutions (MSI) make up a category of educational establishments in American higher education. MSIs are federally recognized Title IV colleges and universities, based on enrollment criteria, typically the percentage of enrolled minorities at a particular school. Such schools are eligible for federal funding under Title III of the Higher Education Act of 1965. The six categories of MSI are as follows: historically black colleges and universities (HBCU); Black-serving non-HBCUs; Hispanic-serving institutions (HSI); Asian-serving institutions (ASI); American Indian-serving institutions—tribal colleges and universities (TCUs); and other minority-serving institutions in which minority students constitute at least 50 percent of the total undergraduate enrollment, but do not fit any of the above categories.

EEO Performance Elements

EEO and Diversity Performance Objectives have been established within the NOAA Satellite and Information Service (NESDIS) for the purpose of providing guidelines and milestones to employees for annual achievement of Equal Employment Opportunity and Diversity goals. The main goal is ensuring that employees will have the opportunity to work, train, advance and enjoy all employment benefits without regard to race, national origin, color, gender, age, religion, disability or sexual orientation and that the workplace shall be free of harassment and retaliation. Additionally, NESDIS seeks to recruit, hire and develop a diverse range of individuals and encourage them to reach their full potential, to contribute their talents to mission accomplishment, and to thrive in an inclusive, respectful and innovative work environment.