The Washington Post

Report urges new law against gay bias in federal workplace

Workplace discrimination against federal employees based on sexual orientation has been against government’s policy since 1980, but the policy has not been interpreted uniformly, says a Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) report.

The report, which will be released at noon Wednesday, says legislation would make that prohibition explicit and allow federal employees to take discrimination cases to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

(J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

Another MSPB recommendation says “agencies should review their management programs, policies, and procedures to ensure that they are inclusive and fair to all employees.”

The Washington Post obtained an advance copy of the document, which presents  a disturbing history of discrimination because of sexual orientation.

“Prior to 1975, Federal Government policy considered an individual’s sexual orientation when determining suitability for Federal employment,” MSBP reported. “Although we will never know the exact number of individuals who were denied employment or who had their employment terminated based on their actual or assumed sexual orientation, one estimate places this number between 7,000 and 10,000 in the 1950’s alone. It is impossible to determine the number of individuals who may not have sought Federal employment due to the knowledge that their sexual orientation made them ineligible for selection.”

MSPB said only about 1 percent of those responding to an agency survey in 2010 believed they had been discriminated against because of their sexual orientation. The report also noted, however, that  a 2012 survey by the Office of Personnel Management “found that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Federal employee perceptions of the workplace were generally less positive than other employees.”


Joe Davidson writes the Federal Diary, a column about federal government and workplace issues that celebrated its 80th birthday in November 2012. Davidson previously was an assistant city editor at The Washington Post and a Washington and foreign correspondent with The Wall Street Journal, where he covered federal agencies and political campaigns.

The Freddie Gray case

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!

Campaign 2016 Email Updates

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!

Get Zika news by email

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!
Show Comments
The Democrats debated Thursday night. Get caught up on the race.
The Post's Chris Cillizza on the Democratic debate...
On Clinton: She poked a series of holes in Sanders's health-care proposal and broadly cast him as someone who talks a big game but simply can't hope to achieve his goals.

On Sanders: If the challenge was to show that he could be a candidate for people other than those who already love him, he didn't make much progress toward that goal. But he did come across as more well-versed on foreign policy than in debates past.
The PBS debate in 3 minutes
We are in vigorous agreement here.
Hillary Clinton, during the PBS Democratic debate, a night in which she and Sanders shared many of the same positions on issues
South Carolina polling averages
Donald Trump leads in the polls as he faces rivals Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz heading into the S.C. GOP primary on Feb. 20.
South Carolina polling averages
The S.C. Democratic primary is Feb. 27. Clinton has a significant lead in the state, whose primary falls one week after the party's Nevada caucuses.
62% 18%
Fact Checker
Trump’s claim that his border wall would cost $8 billion
The billionaire's claim is highly dubious. Based on the costs of the Israeli security barrier (which is mostly fence) and the cost of the relatively simple fence already along the U.S.-Mexico border, an $8 billion price tag is simply not credible.
Pinocchio Pinocchio Pinocchio Pinocchio
The complicated upcoming voting schedule
Feb. 20

Democrats caucus in Nevada; Republicans hold a primary in South Carolina.

Feb. 23

Republicans caucus in Nevada.

Feb. 27

Democrats hold a primary in South Carolina.

Upcoming debates
Feb 13: GOP debate

on CBS News, in South Carolina

Feb. 25: GOP debate

on CNN, in Houston, Texas

March 3: GOP debate

on Fox News, in Detroit, Mich.

Campaign 2016
Where the race stands
Most Read



Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters

Close video player
Now Playing

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.