Regulations (Standards - 29 CFR) - Table of Contents Regulations (Standards - 29 CFR) - Table of Contents
• Part Number: 24
• Part Title: Procedures for the Handling of Retaliation Complaints Under Federal Employee Protection Statutes
• Subpart: A
• Subpart Title: Complaints, Investigations, Issuance of Findings
• Standard Number: 24.104
• Title: Investigation.


24.104(a)
Upon receipt of a complaint in the investigating office, the Assistant Secretary will notify the respondent of the filing of the complaint by providing the respondent (or the respondent's legal counsel if respondent is represented by counsel) with a copy of the complaint, redacted, if necessary, in accordance with the Privacy Act of 1974, 5 U.S.C. 552a, et seq., and other applicable confidentiality laws. The Assistant Secretary will provide a copy of the unredacted complaint to the complainant (or complainant's legal counsel, if complainant is represented) and to the appropriate office of the Federal agency charged with the administration of the general provisions of the statute(s) under which the complaint is filed.
24.104(b)
Within 20 days of receipt of the notice of the filing of the complaint provided under paragraph (a) of this section, the respondent may submit to the Assistant Secretary a written statement and any affidavits or documents substantiating its position. Within the same 20 days, the respondent may request a meeting with the Assistant Secretary to present its position.
24.104(c)
Throughout the investigation, the agency will provide to the complainant (or the complainant's legal counsel if complainant is represented by counsel) a copy of all of respondent's submissions to the agency that are responsive to the complainant's whistleblower complaint. Before providing such materials to the complainant, the agency will redact them, if necessary, in accordance with the Privacy Act of 1974, 5 U.S.C. 552a, et seq., and other applicable confidentiality laws.
24.104(d)
Investigations will be conducted in a manner that protects the confidentiality of any person who provides information on a confidential basis, other than the complainant, in accordance with part 70 of title 29 of the Code of Federal Regulations.
24.104(e)
Investigation under the six environmental statutes. In addition to the investigative procedures set forth in § § 24.104(a), (b), (c), and (d), this paragraph sets forth the procedures applicable to investigations under the Safe Drinking Water Act; Federal Water Pollution Control Act; Toxic Substances Control Act; Solid Waste Disposal Act; Clean Air Act; and Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act.
24.104(e)(1)
A complaint of alleged violation will be dismissed unless the complainant has made a prima facie showing that protected activity was a motivating factor in the adverse action alleged in the complaint.
24.104(e)(2)
The complaint, supplemented as appropriate by interviews of the complainant, must allege the existence of facts and evidence to make a prima facie showing as follows:
24.104(e)(2)(i)
The employee engaged in a protected activity;
24.104(e)(2)(ii)
The respondent knew or suspected that the employee engaged in the protected activity;
24.104(e)(2)(iii)
The employee suffered an adverse action; and
24.104(e)(2)(iv)
The circumstances were sufficient to raise the inference that the protected activity was a motivating factor in the adverse action.
24.104(e)(3)
The complainant will be considered to have met the required showing if the complaint on its face, supplemented as appropriate through interviews of the complainant, alleges the existence of facts and either direct or circumstantial evidence sufficient to give rise to an inference that the respondent knew or suspected that the employee engaged in protected activity and that the protected activity was a motivating factor in the adverse action.

The required showing may be satisfied, for example, if the complainant shows that the adverse action took place shortly after the protected activity, giving rise to the inference that it was a motivating factor in the adverse action.
24.104(e)(4)
The complaint will be dismissed if a preponderance of the evidence shows that the respondent would have taken the same adverse action in the absence of the complainant's protected activity.
24.104(f)
Investigation under the Energy Reorganization Act. In addition to the investigative procedures set forth in § § 24.104(a), (b), (c), and (d), this paragraph sets forth special procedures applicable only to investigations under the Energy Reorganization Act.
24.104(f)(1)
A complaint of alleged violation will be dismissed unless the complainant has made a prima facie showing that protected activity was a contributing factor in the adverse action alleged in the complaint.
24.104(f)(2)
The complaint, supplemented as appropriate by interviews of the complainant, must allege the existence of facts and evidence to make a prima facie showing as follows:
24.104(f)(2)(i)
The employee engaged in a protected activity;
24.104(f)(2)(ii)
The respondent knew or suspected, actually or constructively, that the employee engaged in the protected activity;
24.104(f)(2)(iii)
The employee suffered an adverse action; and
24.104(f)(2)(iv)
The circumstances were sufficient to raise the inference that the protected activity was a contributing factor in the adverse action.
24.104(f)(3)
For purposes of determining whether to investigate, the complainant will be considered to have met the required burden if the complaint on its face, supplemented as appropriate through interviews of the complainant, alleges the existence of facts and either direct or circumstantial evidence to meet the required showing, i.e., to give rise to an inference that the respondent knew or suspected that the employee engaged in protected activity and that the protected activity was a contributing factor in the adverse action. The burden may be satisfied, for example, if the complainant shows that the adverse action took place shortly after the protected activity, giving rise to the inference that it was a contributing factor in the adverse action. If the required showing has not been made, the complainant (or the complainant's legal counsel if complainant is represented by counsel) will be so notified and the investigation will not commence.
24.104(f)(4)
Notwithstanding a finding that a complainant has made a prima facie showing, as required by this section, an investigation of the complaint will not be conducted or will be discontinued if the respondent, pursuant to the procedures provided in this paragraph, demonstrates by clear and convincing evidence that it would have taken the same adverse action in the absence of the complainant's protected behavior or conduct.
24.104(f)(5)
If the respondent fails to make a timely response or fails to demonstrate by clear and convincing evidence that it would have taken the same adverse action in the absence of the behavior protected by the Act, the Assistant Secretary will proceed with the investigation. The investigation will proceed whenever it is necessary or appropriate to confirm or verify the information provided by the respondent.

[72 FR 44964, August 10, 2007; 76 FR 2821, Jan. 18, 2011]

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