Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity
A. Filing with PAB/OGC:
- Discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity may be a prohibited personnel practice subject to investigation by the PAB/OGC.1 Thus, a charge may be filed with PAB/OGC if the charging party believes he/she has been discriminated against on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.
- A current or former employee or applicant for employment must file a charge of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity relating to an adverse or performance-based action within 30 days after the effective date of the action or, if the charge relates to other personnel actions, within 30 days after the effective date of the action or 30 days after the charging party knew or should have known of the action. Additional information for filing a charge with the PAB/OGC is located at How to File a PPP Charge.
- For further information on procedures after a charge is filed with the PAB/OGC, see What Happens After a Charge is Filed?
B. Filing with the Office of Opportunity and Inclusiveness:
- The Comptroller General has specifically prohibited discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity and has directed that GAO Orders be changed to reflect this. See Comptroller General’s memorandum dated June 1, 2016, Equal Employment Opportunity, Diversity and Inclusion Policy Statement. The Comptroller General has also authorized GAO employees who believe they have been discriminated against on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity to file a complaint with the Office of Opportunity and Inclusiveness.
- A person wishing to file a complaint of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity with the Office of Opportunity and Inclusiveness should contact that office immediately for an explanation of their process and filing deadlines. See also GAO Order 2713.2, Discrimination Complaint Resolution Process (December 9, 2009) (updated September 28, 2015 to include genetic information, pregnancy or gender identity).
1 While sexual orientation and gender identity are not expressly discussed in Title VII, several forums have found that they are protected classes. The EEOC has determined that personnel actions taken based on a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity are “discrimination because of sex in violation of Title VII.” www.eeoc.gov/laws/types/sex.cfm; see also Hively v. Ivy Tech Comm., 853 F.3d 339, 341 (7th Cir. 2017) (Court determined “that discrimination based on sexual orientation is a form of sex discrimination” under Title VII). Other courts, however, have found that sexual orientation is not covered under Title VII. Evans v. Georgia Regional Hospital, 850 F.3d 1248, 1255 (11th Cir. 2017); Christiansen v. Omnicom Group, 852 F.3d 195, 199 (2d Cir. 2017); Dawson v. Bumble & Bumble, 398 F.3d 211, 217-18 (2d Cir. 2005); Simonton v. Runyun, 232 F.3d 33, 36 (2d Cir. 2000).