Executive Order 9980

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Whereas the principles on which our Government is based require a policy of fair employment throughout the Federal establishment, without discrimination because of race, color, religion, or national origin; and

Whereas it is desirable and in the public interest that all steps be taken necessary to insure that this long-established policy shall be more effectively carried out:

Now, Therefore, by virtue of the authority vested in me as President of the United States, by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, it is hereby ordered as follows:


  1. All personnel actions taken by Federal appointing officers shall be based solely on merit and fitness; and such officers are authorized and directed to take appropriate steps to insure that in all such actions there shall be no discrimination because of race, color, religion, or national origin.

  2. The head of each department in the executive branch of the Government shall be personally responsible for an effective program to insure that fair employment policies are fully observed in all personnel actions within his department.

  3. The head of each department shall designate an official thereof as Fair Employment Officer. Such Officer shall be given full operating responsibility, under the immediate supervision of the department head, for carrying out the fair-employment policy herein stated. Notice of the appointment of such Officer shall be given to all officers and employees of the department. The Fair Employment Officer shall, among other things−

    (a) Appraise the personnel actions of the department at regular intervals to determine their conformity to the fair-employment policy expressed in this order.
    (b) Receive complaints or appeals concerning personnel actions taken in the department on grounds of alleged discrimination because of race, color, religion, or national origin.
    (c) Appoint such central or regional deputies, committees, or hearing boards, from amount the officers or employees of the department, as he may find necessary or desirable on a temporary or permanent basis to investigate, or to receive, complaints of discrimination.
    (d) Take necessary corrective or disciplinary action, in consultation with, or on the basis of delegated authority from, the head of the department.

  4. The findings or action of the Fair Employment Officer shall be subject to direct appeal to the head of the department. The decision of the head of the department on such appeal shall be subject to appeal to the Fair Employment Board of the Civil Service Commission, hereinafter provided for.

  5. There shall be established in the Civil Service Commission a Fair Employment Board (hereinafter referred to as the Board) of not less than seven persons, the members of which shall be officers or employees of the Commission. The Board shall−

    (a) Have authority to review decisions made by the head of any department which are appealed pursuant to the provisions of this order, or referred to the Board by the head of the department for advice, and to make recommendations to such head. In any instance in which the recommendation of the Board is not promptly and fully carried out the case shall be reported by the Board to the President, for such action as he finds necessary.
    (b) Make rules and regulations, in consultation with the Civil Service Commission, deemed necessary to carry out the Board's duties and responsibilities under this order.
    (c) Advise all departments on problems and policies relating to fair employment.
    (d) Disseminate information pertinent to fair-employment programs.
    (e) Coordinate the fair-employment policies and procedures of the several departments.
    (f) Make reports and submit recommendations to the Civil Service Commission for transmittal to the President from time to time, as may be necessary to the maintenance of the fair-employment program.

  6. All departments are directed to furnish to the Board all information needed for the review of personnel actions or for the compilation of reports.

  7. The term ‘‘department’’ as used herein shall refer to all departments and agencies of the executive branch of the Government, including the Civil Service Commission. The term ‘‘personnel action,’’ as used herein, shall include failure to act. Persons failing of appointment who allege a grievance relating to discrimination shall be entitled to the remedies herein provided.

  8. The means of relief provided by this order shall be supplemental to those provided by existing statutes, Executive orders, and regulations. The Civil Service Commission shall have authority, in consultation with the Board, to make such additional regulations, and to amend existing regulations, in such manner as may be found necessary or desirable to carry out the purposes of this order.


Signature of Harry S. Truman
Harry S. Truman
The White House,
July 26, 1948.

Notes[edit]

Superseded by:
See Related:


This work is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work of the United States federal government (see 17 U.S.C. 105).