WASHINGTON, April 28 The U.S. Department of Labor today announced changes to its equal employment statement, including the addition of gender identity as a protected category. The policy, while internal to the Department of Labor, will apply to all hiring, promotion and disciplinary practices for employees of the agency. The updated policy is part of a continuing trend since the Obama administration's changes to the federal jobs website USAJOBS equal employment opportunity statement to include gender identity. Pregnancy status will also be added to the department's equal employment statement. The change was made in part through the advocacy of the New Beginning Initiative, a coalition of 26 organizations convened by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. The New Beginning Initiative advocates for federal policy that is more friendly toward lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and their families.
Statement by Rea Carey, Executive Director
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force
"With this change, the federal government is doing what smart employers in the private sector have been doing for years. They know that in order to attract the best talent they need to show that diversity is important to their companies. The Department of Labor's announcement makes it clear that it is a place that values diversity and allows people to contribute their talents and skills free from discrimination. We are grateful for the leadership of Labor Secretary Hilda Solis on this issue and look forward to our continuing work with the administration to ensure greater fairness in federal policy."
Below is the statement issued by the White House
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 www.dol.gov/oasam/programs/crc/crc-internal/eeo.htmand www.dol.gov/oasam/programs/crc/crc-internal/Policy-Statement-on-Harassing-Conduct-in-the-Workplace.htm.