U.S. Department of Labor adds gender identity and pregnancy status to its equal employment policy

The U.S. Department of Labor today announced changes to its equal employment statement, including the addition of gender identity as a protected category. The policy, while internal to the Department of Labor, will apply to all hiring, promotion and disciplinary practices for employees of the agency. The updated policy is part of a continuing trend since the Obama administration’s changes to the federal jobs website USAJOBS equal employment opportunity statement to include gender identity. Pregnancy status will also be added to the department’s equal employment statement.

The change was made in part through the advocacy of the New Beginning Initiative, a coalition of 26 organizations convened by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. The New Beginning Initiative advocates for federal policy that is more friendly toward lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and their families.

Statement on the changes by Task Force Executive Director Rea Carey:

With this change, the federal government is doing what smart employers in the private sector have been doing for years. They know that in order to attract the best talent they need to show that diversity is important to their companies. The Department of Labor’s announcement makes it clear that it is a place that values diversity and allows people to contribute their talents and skills free from discrimination. We are grateful for the leadership of Labor Secretary Hilda Solis on this issue and look forward to our continuing work with the administration to ensure greater fairness in federal policy.