U.S. Department of Commerce excludes sexual orientation and gender identity in their 2017 Equal Employment Opportunity statementAround the Nation, Online Only, Top Highlights Friday, June 16th, 2017
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Department of Commerce has excluded sexual orientation and gender identity in their 2017 Equal Employment Opportunity statement.
Thursday, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross emailed a statement to department employees outlining the agency’s Equal Employment Opportunity policy, which read: “The Department of Commerce does not tolerate behavior, harassment, discrimination or prejudice based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, or disability.
“We will also provide reasonable accommodations for applicants and employees with disabilities,” the statement reads. “Retaliation against those who initiate discrimination complaints, serve as witnesses or participate in the EEO process, or otherwise oppose discrimination and harassment is strictly prohibited.”
“Yet again, we see the Trump/Pence Administration actively seeking to undermine rights for LGBTQ people,” said David Stacy, HRC Government Affairs Director. “The Department of Commerce’s latest move to exclude sexual orientation and gender identity in their Equal Employment Opportunity statement is mean-spirited, deceptive and irresponsible. Under the Civil Service Reform Act and the Executive Orders signed by Presidents Clinton and Obama, sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination is prohibited in federal employment. The Commerce Department’s EEO statement is meant to inform workers and applicants about their legal protections. Cutting specific mention of sexual orientation and gender identity protections is a slap in the face to LGBTQ federal employees who proudly serve at the Department of Commerce and sadly signals that this administration does not value them. In 2004, when Special Counsel Scott Bloch made a similar move, President George W. Bush’s White House disavowed the action and ultimately fired Bloch. President Trump should direct the Secretary of Commerce to restore the EEO language immediately.”
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