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Department of Labor Revises Policies to Address Gender Identity Discrimination

Yesterday, Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis announced that the Department of Labor’s policies on equal employment opportunity and workplace harassment had been updated to explicitly include protections for gender identity. The policy had already included sexual orientation for many years.  DOL follows the lead of the Office of Personnel Management and a number of cabinet-level departments and other agencies in making it clear that discrimination based on gender identity is not permissible in the federal workforce.  We applaud Secretary Solis for ensuring that her department is one that welcomes all employees, including transgender workers.

The full news release from DOL is below.

News Release

OASAM News Release: [04/28/2011]

Contact Name: Clarisse Young

Phone Number: (202) 693-5051

Release Number: 11-0618-NAT

US Department of Labor announces renewed commitment to fair treatment and equal opportunity for all of its employees

New policy statements prohibit discrimination based on gender identity and pregnancy

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Labor today announced its full commitment to implementing equal employment opportunity policies for all department employees and applicants.  The policies ensure equal protections for all employees and applicants regardless of race; color; religion; national origin; sex, including pregnancy and gender identity; age; disability, whether physical or mental; genetic information; status as a parent; sexual orientation; or other non-merit factor.  New, robust statements signed by Secretary Solis include updated policies on prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sex, including gender identity and pregnancy.

Secretary Solis strongly supports fair equal employment opportunity policies, and creating diversity and fairness in the workplace.

“I am expressing my personal commitment to ensure that the U.S. Department of Labor is a model workplace, free from unlawful discrimination and harassment, which fosters a work environment that fully utilizes the capabilities of every employee,” said Secretary Solis. “It is my goal that we achieve and maintain a high-quality, diverse workforce at all organizational levels throughout the department.”

The Labor Department is required to issue annual written policy statements expressing the secretary’s commitment to equal employment opportunity and a workplace free of discriminatory harassment, pursuant to 29 Code of Federal Regulations Part 1614, Federal Sector Equal Employment Opportunity, and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s Management Directive 715.  The EEOC’s directive identifies minimum requirements for the policy statements.

The statements issued by Secretary Solis articulate stronger protections and establish responsibilities to ensure meaningful adherence to equal employment opportunity throughout the department.  They have been disseminated to all current employees and will be disseminated to new employees during orientation as well as to employees who are promoted into supervisory ranks.

The department’s policies on equal employment opportunity and harassing conduct in the workplace can be viewed at http://www.dol.gov/oasam/programs/crc/crc-internal/eeo.htm and http://www.dol.gov/oasam/programs/crc/crc-internal/Policy-Statement-on-Harassing-Conduct-in-the-Workplace.htm.

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