Posted by: outandequal | April 29, 2011

Dept. of Labor adds gender identity protections

The Department of Labor announced changes in their employment policies yesterday, now explicitly banning discrimination based on gender identity for employees at the Department of Labor. Sexual orientation had previously been included in the policy.  Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis said in her letter, “I am expressing my personal commitment to ensuring that the Department of Labor is a workplace free from unlawful discrimination and harassment; fostering a work environment that fully utilizes the capabilities of every employee; and achieving and maintaining a high quality, diverse workforce at all organizational levels throughout the Department.”

Out & Equal thanks Secretary Solis for her unwavering commitment to fair workplaces. “We know that diverse businesses are strong businesses,” commented Out & Equal’s Executive Director, Selisse Berry, “and by affirming the full and equal participation of every employee at the Department of Labor, Secretary Solis models that principle for other employers.  Her affirmation of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees at the Department of Labor and her clear stance against discrimination demonstrates the importance of these values for America’s workplaces.”

The full text of the announcement reads:

U.S. Department of Labor Policy on Equal Employment Opportunity
Secretary of Labor
Washington, D.C. 20210

As the Secretary of Labor, I am expressing my personal commitment to ensuring that DOL is a workplace free from unlawful discrimination and harassment; fostering a work environment that fully utilizes the capabilities of every employee; and achieving and maintaining a high quality, diverse workforce at all organizational levels throughout the Department.

It is the policy of this Department to provide equal employment opportunity for all employees and applicants for DOL employment regardless of race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy and gender identity), national origin, age, disability, genetic information, parental status, and sexual orientation; to promote the full realization of equal employment opportunity through a continuing affirmative program where all employees have the freedom to compete on a fair and level playing field; and to maintain a workplace free of discriminatory practices and policies. In addition, it is the Department’s policy to safeguard all employees’ exercise of their rights under civil rights statutes. Accordingly, DOL prohibits all of its managers, supervisors, and employees from retaliating against any person because that person has opposed a practice made unlawful by or participated in any stage of administrative or judicial proceedings under relevant employment discrimination laws.

I am equally committed to ensuring that the Department, as the Government’s lead organization for disability employment policy, meets or exceeds the government-wide goal regarding the employment of individuals with disabilities, including our Nation’s wounded soldiers and other disabled Veterans. In support of this pledge, the Department must provide effective reasonable accommodations that will enable qualified employees with disabilities to perform the essential functions of their jobs and enjoy benefits and privileges of employment that are equal to those enjoyed by other DOL employees.

To ensure that the Department’s actual practices adhere to the requirements articulated in this policy, the Civil Rights Center (CRC), Office of the Assistant Secretary for Administration and Management, will oversee compliance with this policy and with the affirmative employment and nondiscrimination provisions of all applicable laws, statutes, regulations, and executive orders. In addition, each DOL agency shall conduct periodic self-assessments to identify potential barriers to equal opportunity; include EEO-related goals, including specific actions to address any barriers identified in its annual report to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission; enhance accountability by including an EEO element in the performance standards of every DOL manager and supervisor; ensure that its managers and employees comply with EEO training requirements established by CRC; widely publicize this policy and the procedures available for filing complaints that allege violations of this policy; take swift and appropriate action to remedy any violation of this policy, including discipline of any DOL manager, supervisor, or employee found to have violated this policy; and provide full support to DOL’s internal programs related to nondiscrimination, equal opportunity, and diversity.

Each and every one of us must do our part to protect and advance the principles of equal employment opportunity at the Department by following this EEO policy. Working together in this endeavor, we will cultivate an environment that is diverse, inclusive, and free of discrimination, and that maximizes our ability to advance the Department’s mission.

Hilda L. Solis
Secretary of Labor
April 2011

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