Government Agencies Reissue Guide on Rights and Processes Available for Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Discrimination

 
Friday, June 5, 2015
 

Four Federal Government agencies with roles in ensuring fairness in the federal workplace released a guide on the rights and processes available to applicants and employees who allege sexual orientation or gender identity discrimination. The guide is being reissued after more than a decade and has been substantially revised to reflect major developments in the law.

The agencies collaborating on the guide are the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM), the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC), and the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB).

The guide is entitled, "Addressing Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Discrimination in Federal Civilian Employment: A Guide to Employment Rights, Protections, and Responsibilities." It can be found at:

http://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/diversity-and-inclusion/reference-materials/addressing-sexual-orientation-and-gender-identity-discrimination-in-federal-civilian-employment.pdf

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 lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals may bring valid Equal Employment Opportunity claims in the federal sector, including Macy v. Holder (April 2012) (finding that discrimination based on gender identity is unlawful sex discrimination) and Complainant v. Dep't of Homeland Sec. (August 2014) (reaffirming that sexual orientation discrimination based on gender stereotypes is unlawful sex discrimination).

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.

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