Please be advised that the EEOC’s 1-800-669-4000 information number is currently undergoing maintenance.  As a result, some callers may be experiencing difficulties connecting to the EEOC when using this toll free number.  We are working to resolve the issues.  In the event any member of the public is experiencing difficulties reaching the EEOC through the 1-800-669-4000 number during this maintenance period, you may contact the EEOC at info@eeoc.gov for assistance.  We apologize for any inconvenience and thank you for your patience.

Breadcrumb

  1. Home
  2. Federal Sector
  3. Facts about Discrimination in Federal Government Employment Based on Marital Status, Political Affiliation, Status as a Parent, Sexual Orientation, and Gender Identity

Facts about Discrimination in Federal Government Employment Based on Marital Status, Political Affiliation, Status as a Parent, Sexual Orientation, and Gender Identity

Laws Enforced By the EEOC

The EEOC enforces the prohibitions against employment discrimination in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Equal Pay Act of 1963, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, Sections 501 and 505 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Titles I and V of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), Title II of the Genetic Information Non-discrimination Act of 2008 (GINA), and the Civil Rights Act of 1991. These laws prohibit discrimination based on race, color, sex (including sexual orientation, gender identity, and pregnancy), religion, national origin, age (40 or older), disability, and genetic information, as well as reprisal for protected activity. The Commission's interpretations of these statutes apply to its adjudication and enforcement in federal sector as well as private sector and state and local government employment.

The U.S. Supreme Court has held that discrimination based on sexual orientation or transgender status violates Title VII’s prohibition on discrimination “because of . . . sex.” Bostock v. Clayton County, 590 U.S. ---, 140 S. Ct. 1731 (2020); see also Bart M. v. Dep’t of Interior (Bureau of Land Management), EEOC Appeal No. 0120160543 (Jan. 14, 2021) (decision by the Commission applying Bostock to find discrimination based on sexual orientation).

Federal government employees may file claims of discrimination under the 29 C.F.R. Part 1614 EEO process on any of the bases covered under the laws EEOC enforces, and/or may also utilize additional complaint procedures described below, as relevant.

Civil Service Reform Act

The Civil Service Reform Act of 1978 (CSRA), as amended, also protects federal government applicants and employees from discrimination in personnel actions (see "Prohibited Personnel Practices" https://www.mspb.gov/ppp/ppp.htm) based on race, color, sex (including sexual orientation, gender identity, and pregnancy), religion, national origin, age, disability, marital status, political affiliation, or on conduct which does not adversely affect the performance of the applicant or employee (which can include sexual orientation or gender identity). The Office of Special Counsel (OSC), www.osc.gov, and the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB), www.mspb.gov, enforce the prohibitions against federal employment discrimination codified in the CSRA. For more information, see:

Other Authorities & Agency-Specific Procedures

Another possible area of redress for those who believe they have been discriminated against based on their sexual orientation, gender identity, or parental status is the availability of any agency-specific procedures implemented to redress such discrimination. See Executive Order 11478, section 1 (as amended by Executive Orders 13087, 13672, and 13152).

Many agencies have their own systems or processes to resolve disputes between an employee and the agency that may not be available elsewhere. In general, these systems try to achieve an informal resolution so that disputes do not have to be decided by higher levels of management. Specific procedures and time limitations vary by agency. An employee considering such procedures must become familiar with the rules governing the particular agency’s system. Employees who believe that they have been discriminated against due to their sexual orientation, gender identity, or parental status should ask their human resource office for a copy of any applicable agency procedures to determine the processes to follow and subjects they cover.

Executive Order (E.O.) 13152 prohibits federal-sector discrimination based on status as a parent.  E.O. 13152 states that "status as a parent" refers to the status of an individual who, with respect to an individual who is under the age of 18 or who is 18 or older but is incapable of self-care because of a physical or mental disability, is: a biological parent, an adoptive parent, a foster parent, a stepparent, a custodian of a legal ward, in loco parentis over such individual, or actively seeking legal custody or adoption of such an individual. E.O. 13152 authorized OPM to develop guidance on the provisions of the Order.

While discrimination based on an individual's status as a parent (prohibited under E.O. 13152) is not a covered basis under the laws enforced by the EEOC, there are circumstances where discrimination against caregivers may give rise to sex discrimination under Title VII or disability discrimination under the ADA.  See Enforcement Guidance: Unlawful Disparate Treatment of Workers with Caregiving Responsibilities, https://www.eeoc.gov/laws/guidance/enforcement-guidance-unlawful-disparate-treatment-workers-caregiving-responsibilities.