Sexual Orientation & Gender Identity
Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Federal employees or applicants who experience discrimination due to their sexual orientation or gender identity may pursue discrimination claims against the federal government. Where to pursue such a claim depends heavily on the facts and circumstances of each case.
Cathy Harris serves as Chair of the Kator, Parks, Weiser & Harris, PLLC, LGBT Litigation practice area. Ms. Harris has been at the forefront of the fight for LGBT equal rights, and was personally invited in 2012 to assist federal agency leaders on LGBT issues.
The attorneys at Kator, Parks, Weiser & Harris, PLLC, have the experience to advise LGBT Federal employees on the best avenues to pursue such claims. We have represented LGBT employees in various areas. If you are a Federal employee or applicant, and you believe you are experiencing discrimination, please contact KPWH to discuss your claims.
Options may include:
• The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The EEOC does not have jurisdiction over claims of “sexual orientation” discrimination, because Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, does not prohibit discrimination based upon sexual orientation. However, LGBT employees and applicants may file claims of discrimination based upon gender-stereotyping or sexual harassment at the EEOC. So, too, claims of discrimination based on HIV or AIDS status may be brought to the EEOC under the Rehabilitation Act. Find out more about KPWH’s EEOC practice, and important requirements for initiating an EEO complaint, by clicking here.
• The United States Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB). If an LGBT employee has been subjected to an action that is appealable to the MSPB, such as a termination, demotion, or suspension for more than 14 days, and the action is due to discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, an appeal of the adverse personnel action may be brought to the MSPB. Find out more about our MSPB practice by clicking here.
• The United States Office of Special Counsel (OSC). A Federal employee may raise claims involving discrimination on the basis of conduct which does not adversely affect the performance of the applicant or employee, under 5 U.S.C. § 2302(b)(10). Kator, Parks, Weiser & Harris, PLLC, has represented numerous Federal employees and applicants in matters before OSC, and assisted in cases brought by OSC. Learn more about our experience in cases like this by clicking here.
• Internal Agency Complaint Procedures. Some federal agencies, such as the Department of Commerce, have their own internal complaint procedures for claims of sexual orientation or gender identity discrimination. Contact Kator, Parks, Weiser & Harris, PLLC, to learn more about policies at your agency.
• Negotiated Grievance Procedures. Some union-agency collective bargaining agreements provide for grievance procedures that may include complaints of discrimination based upon sexual orientation or gender identity. Contact Kator, Parks, Weiser & Harris, PLLC, to learn more about ways to protect your rights.
Because claims based on sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination may be brought in various different complaint procedures and forums, it can be very confusing as to which route to pursue. We strongly encourage you to contact Kator, Parks, Weiser & Harris, PLLC, for a free consultation regarding your rights as an LGBT employee.
More Information: The U.S. Office of Personnel Management has published a very helpful guide for LGBT Federal employees and applicants who are experiencing discrimination on the basis of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity. The guide can be found by clicking here.
The rights of LGBT employees are addressed in Executive Order 13087, which amended Executive Order 11478 (1969). The Executive Order prohibits discrimination in the federal government based on sexual orientation. Executive Order 11478 section 1 now reads:
It is the policy of the government of the United States to provide equal opportunity in federal employment for all persons, to prohibit discrimination in employment because of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, handicap, age, or sexual orientation and to promote the full realization of equal employment opportunity through a continuing affirmative program in each executive department and agency. This policy of equal opportunity applies to and must be an integral part of every aspect of personnel policy and practice in the employment, development, advancement, and treatment of civilian employees of the federal government, to the extent permitted by law.