IRS Suspends Supervisor For Sexual Orientation Discrimination

June 30, 2003 ( - A supervisor at the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has been stripped of her duties for one year and suspended without pay for 45 days after rejecting a job applicant because he was gay.

The suspension was handed down after the Office of Special Counsel conducted an investigation, finding reasonable grounds to believe the supervisor had discriminated against the applicant in violation of federal law. Further, the applicant and the IRS have reached a settlement for an undisclosed sum due to the incident, according to a Washington Post report.

The applicant, a General Schedule 12 computer specialist, was seeking a transfer from his federal agency to the IRS at the GS-13 level three years ago. He never heard back and assumed he had not been selected.

However, the IRS staff members who interviewed him had recommended that he be hired. In September 2001, it was discovered the supervisor had checked with a friend at a federal agency and learned that the applicant was gay. The supervisor then told another IRS employee involved in the process that “the IRS would not hire him because of his homosexuality, referring to that sexual orientation in a derogatory manner,” the Office of Special Counsel said in its statement.

A complaint alleging sexual orientation discrimination was filed by the applicant. An investigation supported the complaint, and the IRS agreed to take action. As part of the settlement, the supervisor agreed not to challenge the suspension and assignment to a non-supervisory job.

The Office of Special Counsel is an independent agency that investigates and prosecutes complaints of unfair treatment filed by government workers. The settlement indicated that the names of the involved parties are not to be released, according to the report.