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  1. Equal Employment at FDA

The Food and Drug Administration’s Policy Statement on Equal Employment Opportunity

DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES
Public Health Service
Food and Drug Administration

Memorandum

Date: June 21, 2024

From: Commissioner of Food and Drugs

Subject: Equal Employment Opportunity Policy Statement

To: All FDA Employees

The mission of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA or Agency) is to promote the public health by promptly and efficiently reviewing clinical research and taking appropriate action on the marketing of regulated products in a timely manner and protect the public health by ensuring (1) the safety, effectiveness, and security of human and veterinary drugs, biological products, and medical devices and (2) the safety of our nation’s food supply, cosmetics, and products that emit radiation.  FDA is also responsible for regulating the manufacturing, marketing, and distribution of tobacco products to protect the public health and to reduce tobacco use by minors.

We could not fulfill our mission without our workforce, who are at the core of all FDA accomplishments and contributions.  Just as we are tasked with the protection of public health, we at the FDA are also committed to the protection of our workforce, the principles of equal employment opportunity and fair treatment of all individuals, as well as the freedom to compete on a fair and level playing field.  We further commit ourselves to an inclusive workplace where we welcome and respect the views and perspectives of all employees, by recognizing and appreciating their unique skills, talents, and abilities. 

All FDA employees and applicants for employment are protected from discrimination and retaliation by federal laws and Presidential Executive Orders that prohibit discrimination based on reprisal, race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy, gender identity, and sexual orientation), parental status, national origin, age, disability, genetic information (including family medical history), political affiliation, military service, or other non-merit-based factors.  Consistent with these obligations, FDA provides reasonable accommodations to employees and job applicants with disabilities and for sincerely held religious beliefs, observances, and practices.  Also, pursuant to the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act enacted on June 27, 2023, FDA will provide reasonable accommodations to a worker's known limitations related to pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions.  These protections and principles apply to all management practices and decisions, including recruitment and hiring practices, appraisal systems, merit promotions, transfers, reassignments, training and access to career development programs, benefits, and separations.

Workplace harassment will not be tolerated at FDA and must be corrected before it becomes severe or pervasive. FDA managers and supervisors are responsible for preventing, documenting, reporting, and promptly correcting harassing conduct in the workplace.  Managers and supervisors will be held accountable if they fail to prevent, document, report, or promptly correct harassing conduct.  For more information about our anti-harassment program, we encourage you to read the 2024 FDA Anti-Harassment Policy Statement.  Additionally, retaliation or reprisal against those who initiate discrimination complaints, serve as witnesses, or participate in the EEO process, or otherwise oppose discrimination and harassment is strictly prohibited. 

Through effective outreach, recruitment, and development, FDA will promote and foster, a diverse workforce that reflects the full talents and diversity of the American people.  Equal opportunity to work and advancement based on merit is not optional, it is required by law.  All managers and supervisors are expected to ensure that employees are given an equal opportunity for training and career development programs, promotions, awards, and other applicable benefits and privileges of employment.  Managers and supervisors must also take appropriate action once they have been apprised of allegations of discriminatory conduct in the workplace, even when an employee fails to request that action be taken.

All individuals who believe they have been subject to or have knowledge of discriminatory behavior are encouraged to report the behavior to a supervisor, human resources office, or the Office of Equal Employment Opportunity (OEEO).  Employees are strongly encouraged to use the Conflict Prevention and Resolution Staff (CPR) within the Office of Operations as a valuable resource for resolving workplace conflicts.  The CPR staff facilitates FDA's alternative dispute resolution (ADR) process, providing employees with an alternative to engaging in formal complaint procedures to address work-related issues, including Conflict Coaching, Climate assessment, mediation, facilitated discussions, and shuttle diplomacy.  For more details about ADR services, please contact the Conflict Prevention and Resolution Staff by phone at 301-796-9420 or by email at adr@fda.hhs.gov.

OEEO is responsible for administering an impartial and effective complaints management process to address and resolve complaints of employment discrimination at the earliest possible stage.  All employees can report allegations of discrimination to OEEO at 240-402-0105, or oo-oeeo@fda.hhs.gov.  Employees must contact OEEO within 45 calendar days of the date of the alleged incident, to protect their rights under EEO law.  

We expect all FDA staff, supervisors, employees, and contractors alike, to support and adhere to all applicable laws, and federal regulations prohibiting discrimination, harassment, and retaliation, as we strive to establish a workforce that promotes diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility.  This EEO policy statement can be made available in alternative accessible formats, such as “large print”, upon request.  Together we can all play a role in making the workplace a safe, inclusive, and welcoming environment, for the benefit of, and in service to, the American people.

Sincerely,

Robert M. Califf, M.D.

 
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