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Government agency omits LGBT protections in discrimination policy

Government agency updates discrimination policy, but omits LGBT people.
Photo credit:
The Federal Times

A government agency has sent out a memo to its workforce about discrimination in the workplace, but in the details, they have omitted LGBT people as being equally protected.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Statement (EEO) from the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA), tasked with managing functions of government agencies, released the guidelines but with discrimination of LGBT people missing.

That category was included in the 2015 version under the description of sexual discrimination.

The Human Right’s Campaign director of government affairs says this move is just another ploy by the Trump administration which is, “actively seeking to undermine rights for LGBTQ people.”

“The GSA’s move to exclude sexual orientation and gender identity from their Equal Employment Opportunity statement is mean-spirited, deceptive and irresponsible,” Stacy said. “The GSA’s EEO statement is meant to inform workers and applicants about their legal protections — protections that federal employees have had for decades. Cutting specific mention of sexual orientation and gender identity protections is a slap in the face to LGBTQ federal employees who proudly serve and sadly signals that this administration does not value them. The GSA should immediately restore the previous, accurate EEO policy.”

Former President Bill Clinton's 1998 executive order banned federal agencies from anti-gay discrimination and Barack Obama added to that in 2004 with anti-transgender discrimination.

The Washington Blade inquired about the LGBT omission and a spokesperson responded saying that the 2015 policy is still in effect.

“GSA is proud of our diverse and talented workforce and is committed to ensuring all agency employees feel welcome,” the spokesperson said. “GSA prohibits discrimination in the workplace and will continue to make sure our employees’ legal rights are protected.”

However, the spokesperson did not respond to the publication as to why anti-LGBT verbiage was missing from the recent update.

Some fear that the absence of such protections could allow the department to discriminate based on a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.