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  1. Equal Employment at FDA

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

Public Health Service
Food and Drug Administration


Date: June 14, 2022

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, efficacy, 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.

FDA’s mission has arguably never been as important as it is today as the Agency continues to play a significant role in the response to the global COVID-19 pandemic by expediting access to critical medical countermeasures that have saved millions of lives. FDA could not fulfill its mission without its workforce, who are at the core of every Agency accomplishment and contribution to the public health. Just as FDA is tasked with protecting the public health, the Agency is also committed to protecting its workforce, including by applying the principles of equal employment opportunity and fair treatment to all its employees and by giving its employees freedom to compete on a fair and level playing field. FDA further commits itself to an inclusive workplace where it welcomes and respects 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 reprisal by federal laws and by Presidential Executive Orders that prohibit discrimination and reprisal on the basis of 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 also provides reasonable accommodations to employees and job applicants with disabilities and for sincerely held religious beliefs, observances, and practices. These protections and principles apply to all management practices and decisions, including, but not limited to, recruitment and hiring practices, appraisals, 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’s managers and supervisors are responsible for preventing, documenting, and promptly correcting harassing conduct in the workplace. Managers and supervisors will be held accountable if they fail to prevent, document, or promptly correct harassing conduct in the workplace. For more information on FDA’s anti-harassment program, please read the 2022 FDA Anti-Harassment Policy Statement. Additionally, retaliation or reprisal against those who initiate discrimination complaints, serve as witnesses, participate in the equal employment opportunity (EEO) process, or otherwise oppose discrimination and harassment is also strictly prohibited.

All employees who believe they have been subject to or have knowledge of discriminatory behavior are encouraged to report this behavior to a supervisor, to the human resources office, or to the Agency’s Office of Equal Employment Opportunity (OEEO) in the Office of Operations. Employees are also encouraged to use the Conflict Prevention and Resolution Staff in the Office of Operations as a valuable tool in resolving workplace conflicts. The alternative dispute resolution (ADR) process implemented by that staff provides employees an alternate option to using formal complaint processes to address work-related issues. For more information on 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 at the earliest possible stage to address and resolve complaints of employment discrimination. All employees must report any allegations of discrimination to the OEEO by phone at 301-796-9400 or by email at oo-oeeo@fda.hhs.gov, within 45 calendar days of the date of the alleged incident to protect their rights under EEO law.

FDA expects its employees, regardless of their leadership status, to support and adhere to all applicable laws prohibiting discrimination in federal employment. Working together, every employee can play a role in making the workplace a safe, inclusive, and welcoming environment to all.

Robert M. Califf, M.D.

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