Administration Adds Gender Identity To Equal Employment Opportunity Policies

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Mandy Simon, (202) 675-2312; media@dcaclu.org

Administration Adds Gender Identity To Equal Employment Opportunity Policies

Policy Marks First Time Transgender Individuals Are Explicitly Protected In Federal Employment

WASHINGTON - Beginning
in 2010, the Obama administration, through the Office of Personnel
Management, has started to list gender identity among the classes
protected by federal Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) policies. By
including gender identity as a protected class, the federal government
is stating its commitment to protecting transgender employees and has
taken a significant step toward ending employment discrimination of
LGBT people in the federal workforce.

Although
a long-standing federal law prohibits any federal employment decisions
that are not based on merit and another law prohibits sex
discrimination, the new EEO policy marks the first time that gender
identity discrimination has been explicitly banned from the federal
workplace. The policy is now on the federal government’s jobs Web site
as a link from more than 20,000 current federal job listings. The
American Civil Liberties Union praised the Obama administration for
initiating the change in EEO policy and urged Congress to continue to
work for further protections for LGBT Americans.
 
“This
new policy is a very significant development,” said Christopher Anders,
ACLU Senior Legislative Counsel. “The inclusion of gender identity in
federal EEO policies is a very clear statement that the federal
government will not discriminate based on gender identity. The Obama
administration is demonstrating a strong commitment to an effective
workforce by making clear that the federal government will not
discriminate against transgender employees.”
 
The
new EEO policy protects federal employees and applicants for federal
employment, but federal legislation is still needed to protect millions
of LGBT employees working for businesses and state and local
governments. The House and Senate currently have versions of the
Employee Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) pending. ENDA, if passed, would
be the first-ever federal ban on employment discrimination of LBGT
Americans in the workplace.
 
“Employment discrimination can have a devastating effect on transgender Americans and the families they support,” said Anders. “With its new policy, the federal government is setting a good example for all employers. Although
many state governments and businesses already provide workplace
protections for transgender employees, explicit protection of
transgender federal employees will likely be a catalyst for many more
states and businesses to apply the federal policy. With this new policy
and ENDA pending in both the House and Senate, we have an unprecedented
opportunity to protect the rights of all Americans at work. When
Congress returns later this month, both houses should make passing ENDA
a priority.”
 
A copy of an ACLU report, Working in the Shadows: Ending Employment Discrimination for LGBT Americans, is available at: www.aclu.org/lgbt/discrim/31836pub20070917.html
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The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) conserves America's original civic values working in courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in the United States by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

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