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Sexual Orientation Discrimination

Know your employee rights.

Facts About Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation

In the federal government the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978 (CSRA), as amended, prohibits federal employees who have authority to take, direct others to take, recommend or approve any personnel action from discriminating against applicants and employees on the bases of race, color, sex, religion, national origin, age, disability, marital status or political affiliation and from discriminating against an applicant or employee on the basis of conduct which does not adversely affect the performance of the applicant or employee. The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has interpreted the prohibition of discrimination based on “conduct” to include discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Executive Order 13087, amending Executive Order 11478, was signed on May 28, 1998, to provide a uniform policy for the federal government to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation. Executive Order 11478 section 1 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.
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