The Department of Labor announced new equal opportunity policies yesterday that included gender identity protections. The policies now protects 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.
"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 Hilda Solis. "It is my goal that we achieve and maintain a high-quality, diverse workforce at all organizational levels throughout the department."
The new policies been given 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 new rule doesn't apply further than that agency, but will apply to all hiring, promotion and disciplinary practices.
Rea Carey, Executive Director of the Task Force, said, "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. 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."
The change was made possible by advocacy from the New Beginning Initiative, a coalition of 26 groups convened by the Task Force to advocate for pro-LGBT federal policies.