Developments at the EEOC: In a landmark decision, Complainant v. Fox, Sec., Department of Transportation, Appeal No 0120133080 (July 15, 2015), the EEOC has held that a federal employee who brings a complaint of discrimination on account of sexual orientation states a claim under Title VII for discrimination on account of sex. This decision, issued by the EEOC's Office of Federal Operations (OFO), was issued over the signature of the EEOC's Executive Secretariat, which means that this decision was actually voted on by the Commissioners, not just issued by the OFO's Director.
Developments at OPM: On June 3, 2015, the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC), the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM), the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) jointly issued a new report, "Addressing Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Discrimination in Federal Civilian Employment A Guide to Employment Rights, Protections and Responsibilities." This Guide summarizes the great extent to which the EEOC and OSC have expanded to cover sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination claims during the past 10 years.
Developments at the EEOC: The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently released a new report, "What You Should Know about EEOC and the Enforcement Protections for LGBT Workers", to emphasize its expanding enforcement efforts regarding sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination issues.
Developments at the OSC: The U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) recently announced the results in two major cases involving protections for LGBT employees in the federal workforce. OSC's jurisdiction includes enforcing the rules against prohibited personnel practices (PPPs); one of the PPPs--codified at 5 U.S.C. § 2302(b)(10)--prohibits discrimination "on the basis of conduct which does not adversely affect the performance of the employee or applicant or the performance of others," which has been interpreted to include discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
Developments at OPM: On June 23, 2014, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) issued a Proposed Rule in the Federal Register (79 Fed. Reg. 35,497-35,498). OPM is proposing to revise the regulations governing federal-sector Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave to extend coverage to same-sex spouses of federal employees. Comments on the Proposed Rule are due August 22, 2014.
Developments at the MSPB: On May 7, 2014, the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) published a new report, Sexual Orientation and the Federal Workforce: Policy and Perception. As the MSPB noted in its press release announcing publication of the report, "The report examines Federal employee perceptions of workplace treatment based on sexual orientation and reviews the evolution and current state of the protections from sexual orientation discrimination in Federal employment."
Developments at the OSC: On December 18, 2013, the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) publicly released the report of investigation into various allegations of misconduct against former Special Counsel Scott Bloch. The investigation was conducted by the Inspector General for the Office of Personnel Management (OPM/OIG), due to obvious conflict of interest issues at the OSC. OPM/OIG had held completion of this report at the request of the U.S. Attorney's Office, pending resolution of the criminal charges against Mr. Bloch, who was only sentenced in July 2013. Mr. Bloch left office in October 2008.
Developments at the EEOC: The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has recently issued new guidance concerning complaints from lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) employees on the EEOC website. This guidance, Processing Complaints of Discrimination by Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Federal Employees, caps off the Commission's long-term trend of extending the federal sector EEO complaints process to cover claims of discrimination previously excluded as 'sexual orientation' complaints.
Developments at the EEOC: On August 13, 2013, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), Office of Federal Operations (OFO) issued an important decision in Couch v. Department of Energy, EEOC Appeal No. 0120131136. This decision extends a major push by the EEOC to expand the coverage of federal discrimination statutes into the area of discrimination based on employees' sexual orientation.
Developments at OPM: In a notice of proposed rulemaking published in the Federal Register on July 28, 2011, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) proposed changes to existing regulations to extend an existing noncompetitive appointment authority for federal civil service positions to same-sex domestic partners. The notice of proposed rulemaking proposed revisions to 5 C.F.R. § 315.608. The present regulation provides a noncompetitive appointment benefit for federal employees and their immediate family members residing with them for cases where the federal employee had served 52 weeks or more at an overseas posting. The present regulation only includes spouses and children under age 23 who accompanied the federal employee; OPM's proposal would add domestic partners to that eligibility list, and incorporating a definition of 'domestic partner' into the regulation. In the background section of the notice, OPM explained that the proposed rulemaking was designed to implement two memoranda issued by President Obama aimed at extending benefits to qualifying same sex domestic partners that were previously reserved to married couples, within the bounds of present law. Comments on this notice of proposed rulemaking must be received by September 26, 2011.