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Obama Transition Team Pledges Not to Discriminate On Basis of Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity in Hiring Practices

Posted in Discrimination & Harassment, Human Resources (HR) Compliance, Laws and Regulations

AS UPDATED 11/7 below:

In my earlier post, I highlighted the policy issues that are likely to be on the new administration’s radar.

But suppose you want to work in the new administration, there’s an "expression of interest" form that you can fill out too on the "Jobs" page.

Buried at the bottom of the page is this pledge:The Obama-Biden Transition Project does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, or any other basis of discrimination prohibited by law.

This signals a dramatic shift in the hiring practices of the executive branch because current law does not prohibit employment discrimination on the basis of gender identity.  (For a comparison, look at the current Bush administration’s appointments page.) 

UPDATED: To clarify my earlier post, I didn’t mean to suggest that the Executive Branch had permitted discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Indeed, Executive Order 13087 from 1998 added "sexual orientation" as a protected category for civilian employment in the Executive Branch. Federal law does not prohibit private employers from discrimination based on this category.  But this new statement extends the protection to gender identity and also signifies that the appointed positions (rather than the civil service positions) will be under this new standard for both sexual orientation and gender identity.

It’s one thing to raise the issue in a platform.  It’s quite another to start implementing a change like this almost overnight. And this has significant ramifications for the entire Executive Branch once the new administration starts.

It’ll be interesting to see if any of the national lesbian, gay and transgendered groups pick up on this development. 

No need to wait until Inauguration Day. Things are changing right before our very eyes.

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