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Proposed Rule

Anti-Harassment and Hostile Work Environment Case Tracking and Records System

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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AGENCY:

Social Security Administration.

ACTION:

Notice of proposed rulemaking.

SUMMARY:

The Social Security Administration (SSA) separately published, in today's Federal Register, notice of a new system of records, entitled Anti-Harassment & Hostile Work Environment Case Tracking and Records System. Because this system will contain some investigatory material compiled for law enforcement purposes, the SSA proposes to exempt those records within this new system of records from specific provisions of the Privacy Act.

DATES:

To ensure that your comments are considered, we must receive them no later than January 3, 2017.

ADDRESSES:

You may submit comments by any one of three methods—Internet, fax, or mail. Do not submit the same comments multiple times or by more than one method. Regardless of which method you choose, please state that your comments refer to Docket No. SSA-2015-0014, so that we may associate your comments with the correct regulation.

Caution:

You should be careful to include in your comments only information that you wish to make publicly available. We strongly urge you not to include in your comments any personal information, such as Social Security numbers or medical information.

1. Internet: We strongly recommend that you submit your comments via the Internet. Please visit the Federal eRulemaking portal at http://www.regulations.gov. Use the Search function to find docket number SSA-2015-0014. The system will issue a tracking number to confirm your submission. You will not be able to view your comment immediately because we must post each comment manually. It may take up to a week for your comment to be viewable.

2. Fax: Fax comments to (410) 966-2830.

3. Mail: Address your comments to the Office of Regulations and Reports Clearance, Social Security Administration, 3100 West High Rise, 6401 Security Boulevard, Baltimore, Maryland 21235-6401.

Comments are available for public viewing on the Federal eRulemaking portal at http://www.regulations.gov or in person, during regular business hours, by arranging with the contact person identified below.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Pamela J. Carcirieri, Supervisory Government Information Specialist, SSA, Office of Privacy & Disclosure, 6401 Security Boulevard, Baltimore, Maryland 21235-6401, Phone: (410) 965-0355, for information about this rule. For information on eligibility or filing for benefits, call our national toll-free number, 1-800-772-1213 or TTY 1-800-325-0778, or visit our Internet site, Social Security Online, at http://www.socialsecurity.gov.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

In accordance with the Privacy Act (5 U.S.C. 552a) we are issuing public notice of our intent to establish a new system of records entitled, Anti-Harassment & Hostile Work Environment Case Tracking and Records System (Anti-Harassment System) (60-0380). The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) requires that agencies implement anti-harassment policies and procedures separate from the Equal Employment Start Printed Page 86980Opportunity process. As a result of implementing those policies and procedures, we propose establishing the Anti-Harassment system to manage information regarding allegations of workplace harassment filed by SSA employees and SSA contractors alleging harassment by another SSA employee, as well as allegations of workplace harassment filed by SSA employees alleging harassment by an SSA contractor.

We propose establishing the Anti-Harassment system as part of our compliance efforts under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964; the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967; the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA); the ADA Amendments Act of 2008; the Notification and Federal Employee Antidiscrimination and Retaliation Act of 2002 (No FEAR Act); and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA); and Executive Orders 11478, 11246, 13152, and 13087. These legal authorities prohibit discrimination, including harassment, based on sex, race, color, religion, national origin, age, disability, genetic information, or other protected basis.

The Anti-Harassment System will capture and house information regarding allegations of workplace harassment filed by SSA employees and SSA contractors alleging harassment by another SSA employee, and any investigation, or response, we take because of the allegation. Due to the investigatory nature of information that will be maintained in this system of records, this proposed rule would add the Anti-Harassment System to the list of SSA systems that are exempt from specific provisions of the Privacy Act pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(k)(2).

Rulemaking Analyses and Notices

All comments received on or before the close of business on the comment closing date indicated above will be considered and will be available for examination in the docket at the above address. Comments received after the comment closing date will be filed in the docket and will be considered to the extent practicable. A final rule may be published at any time after close of the comment period.

Clarity of This Rule

Executive Order 12866, as supplemented by Executive Order 13563, requires each agency to write all rules in plain language. In addition to your substantive comments on this proposed rule, we invite your comments on how to make the rule easier to understand.

For example:

  • Would more, but shorter, sections be better?
  • Are the requirements in the rule clearly stated?
  • Have we organized the material to suit your needs?
  • Could we improve clarity by adding tables, lists, or diagrams?
  • What else could we do to make the rule easier to understand?
  • Does the rule contain technical language or jargon that is not clear?
  • Would a different format make the rule easier to understand, e.g. grouping and order of sections, use of headings, paragraphing?

Regulatory Procedures

SSA will publish a final rule responding to any comments received and, if appropriate, will amend provisions of the rule.

Executive Order 12866, as Supplemented by Executive Order 13563

We consulted with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and determined that this proposed rule does not meet the criteria for a significant regulatory action under Executive Order 12866, as supplemented by Executive Order 13563. Therefore, OMB did not review it.

We also determined that this proposed rule meets the plain language requirement of Executive Order 12866.

Executive Order 13132 (Federalism)

This proposed rule was analyzed in accordance with the principles and criteria established by Executive Order 13132, and SSA determined that the proposed rule will not have sufficient Federalism implications to warrant the preparation of a Federalism assessment. SSA also determined that this proposed rule will not preempt any State law or State regulation or affect the States' abilities to discharge traditional State governmental functions.

Executive Order 12372 (Intergovernmental Review)

The regulations effectuating Executive Order 12372 regarding intergovernmental consultation on Federal programs and activities apply to this proposed rule.

Regulatory Flexibility Act

We certify that this proposed rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities because it affects individuals only. Therefore, the Regulatory Flexibility Act, as amended, does not require us to prepare a regulatory flexibility analysis.

Paperwork Reduction Act

This proposed rule does not create any new or affect any existing collections and, therefore, do not require Office of Management and Budget approval under the Paperwork Reduction Act.

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List of Subjects in 20 CFR Part 401

  • Privacy and disclosure of official records and information
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Carolyn W. Colvin,

Acting Commissioner of Social Security.

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For the reasons stated in the preamble, we are proposing to amend subpart B of part 401 of title 20 of the Code of Federal Regulations as set forth below:

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PART 401—PRIVACY AND DISCLOSURE OF OFFICIAL RECORDS AND INFORMATION

Subpart B—[Amended]

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1. The authority citation for subpart B of part 401 continues to read as follows:

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Authority: Secs. 205, 702(a)(5), 1106, and 1141 of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 405, 902(a)(5), 1306, and 1320b-11); 5 U.S.C. 552 and 552a; 8 U.S.C. 1360; 26 U.S.C. 6103; 30 U.S.C. 923.

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2. Amend § 401.85, by adding paragraph (b)(2)(ii)(F) to read as follows:

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Exempt Systems.
* * * * *

(b) * * *

(2) * * *

(ii) * * *

(F) Anti-Harassment & Hostile Work Environment Case Tracking and Records System, SSA.

* * * * *
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[FR Doc. 2016-28919 Filed 12-1-16; 8:45 am]

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