Waxman Unveils Federal Worker Sexual Orientation Protection

July 6, 2005 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - A US House Democrat has introduced legislation forbidding discrimination against federal employees on the basis of sexual orientation.

>The govexec.com Web site reported that Representative Henry Waxman (D-California) filed the Clarification of Federal Employment Protection Act (HR 3128) with 11 cosponsors.

>The legislation amends the 1978 Civil Service Reform Act affirming “that federal employees are protected from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and to repudiate any assertion to the contrary.” The proposed law adds to the list of prohibited forms of discrimination against employees or potential employees that include race, gender, national origin, age, handicaps, marital status and political affiliation.

>The Web report said Waxman’s bill was designed to respond to Senate testimony by Special Counsel Scott Bloch who testified that the Office of Special Counsel is limited by law in its ability to protect gay employees from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. As chief of the Office of Special Counsel, Bloch is charged with heading independent investigations and prosecutions of merit system violations in the federal workplace.

“At a time when our federal employees are working tirelessly on behalf of the nation, we should be doing our utmost to ensure that all are protected against discrimination,” Waxman said in a statement, according to govexec.com. “Unfortunately, the Bush administration appears to have abandoned a long-standing bipartisan interpretation of the law that protects federal employees from discrimination based on sexual orientation,” he added.

>While the Bush administration has maintained a position banning discrimination against federal employees on the basis of sexual orientation, Bloch ordered a review to determine the legality of the agency’s policy in prosecuting cases of sexual discrimination in agencies.