AG responds to concerns about LGBTQ discrimination

Federal employees in Tennessee received some promising news about workplace discrimination when Attorney General William Barr agreed to address the concerns brought forward by DOJ Pride. The group promotes the needs of workers at the U.S. Department of Justice who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer. In response to a letter from the group, Barr issued an order calling for an investigation of discrimination allegations at the FBI and Bureau of Prisons.

The attorney general called for a halt to any discrimination found during the investigation. Along with approving an investigation, he signed an equal employment opportunity policy. This document affirmed the Justice Department's commitment to fair treatment of employees regardless of their sexual orientation, gender, religion, race, or national origin.

Discriminatory practices brought to light by DOJ Pride described a hostile environment toward gay agents at the FBI academy. These people endured harsher evaluations than their colleagues and were often dismissed for not displaying sufficiently masculine behavior. Within the Bureau of Prisons system, gay or transgender people had difficulty getting or keeping jobs. A statement from the bureau expressed commitment to a welcoming work environment, but the FBI has not responded publicly to allegations.

When the management of a workplace agrees to investigate complaints about workplace discrimination, the results are not guaranteed. A person experiencing discrimination might want legal representation when approaching an employer with a complaint. Communications from an attorney could ensure that the organization takes the complaint seriously and does not retaliate against the victim. An attorney could bring the problem to the attention of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission through the filing of a claim.

Source: PBS, "Barr orders FBI, Bureau of Prisons to probe discrimination against LGBTQ workers", Michael Balsamo, April 5, 2019

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