Fed Agencies Release Guide On LGBT Discrimination

BY BTL STAFF

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Four federal government agencies with roles in ensuring fairness in the federal workplace released a guide June 4 on the rights and processes available to applicants and employees who allege sexual orientation or gender identity discrimination.

The guide, "Addressing Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Discrimination in Federal Civilian Employment: A Guide to Employment Rights, Protections, and Responsibilities," has been reissued after more than a decade and has been substantially revised to reflect major developments in the law.

The guide provides federal workers with a description of employee rights and agency responsibilities under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978 and other agency and union procedures. It also offers a comparison table showing differences between procedures available at the EEOC and OSC. The goal of the publication is to assist LGBT employees make more informed choices about how best to pursue their individual claims when they believe they have suffered from discrimination.

Civil service laws have been interpreted to ban sexual orientation discrimination since 1980. Recently, OSC found that these laws also prohibit gender identity discrimination, as reflected in its August 2014 prohibited personnel practice report, concluding that a transgender woman was unlawfully harassed by agency officials. The EEOC has also issued several decisions in recent years holding that LGBT individuals may bring valid Equal Employment Opportunity claims in the federal sector. Previous claims include Macy v. Holder, 2012, which found that discrimination based on gender identity is unlawful sex discrimination and Complainant v. Department of Homeland Security, which reaffirmed that sexual orientation discrimination based on gender stereotypes is unlawful sex discrimination.

"One of my highest priorities as Director of Office of Personal Management is to make sure we are recruiting and supporting top talent that draws from the rich diversity of the American people. We need all of our employees to be focused on making the most of their skills and their ingenuity, rather than worrying about losing their job or not getting promoted due to discrimination," said OPM Director Katherine Archuleta. "This guide is an important resource for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender members of our Federal family."

The U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the U.S. Office of Special Counsel and the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board all contributed to the guide. It can be found at http://www.opm.gov/LGBTGuide.
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