After considering all the relevant information collected during
the investigation, the Assistant Secretary will issue, within 60 days
of the filing of the complaint, written findings as to whether there is
reasonable cause to believe that the respondent retaliated against the
complainant in violation of SPA.
If the Assistant Secretary concludes that there is reasonable
cause to believe that a violation has occurred, the Assistant Secretary
will accompany the findings with a preliminary order providing relief.
Such order will require, where appropriate: affirmative action to abate
the violation; reinstatement of the complainant to his or her former
position, with the same compensation, terms, conditions and privileges
of the complainant's employment; payment of compensatory damages (back
pay with interest and compensation for any special damages sustained as
a result of the retaliation, including any litigation costs, expert
witness fees, and reasonable attorney fees which the complainant has
incurred). Interest on back pay will be calculated using the interest
rate applicable to underpayment of taxes under 26 U.S.C. 6621 and will
be compounded daily. The preliminary order may also require the
respondent to pay punitive damages of up to $250,000.
If the Assistant Secretary concludes that a violation has not
occurred, the Assistant Secretary will notify the parties of that finding.
The findings and, where appropriate, the preliminary order will
be sent by certified mail, return receipt requested, to all parties of
record (and each party's legal counsel if the party is represented by
counsel). The findings and, where appropriate, the preliminary order
will inform the parties of the right to object to the findings and/or
the order and to request a hearing. The findings and, where
appropriate, the preliminary order also will give the address of the
Chief Administrative Law Judge, U.S. Department of Labor. At the same
time, the Assistant Secretary will file with the Chief Administrative
Law Judge, a copy of the original complaint and a copy of the findings
The findings and the preliminary order will be effective 30
days after receipt by the respondent (or the respondent's legal counsel
if the respondent is represented by counsel), or on the compliance date
set forth in the preliminary order, whichever is later, unless an
objection and request for a hearing have been timely filed as provided
at Sec. 1986.106. However, the portion of any preliminary order
requiring reinstatement will be effective immediately upon the
respondent's receipt of the findings and the preliminary order,
regardless of any objections to the findings and/or the order.
[78 FR 8402, February 6, 2013]