The Washington Post reports that even as the Bush administration is caught up in the debate on gay marriage, a Republican appointee at the independent agency Office of Special Counsel, whose mission is to protect whistleblowers and other federal employees from retribution, pulled references to sexual orientation discrimination off the Web site where government employees can learn about their rights in the workplace.
“The Web pages at the Office of Special Counsel, an independent agency, has removed references to sexual orientation from a discrimination complaint form, training slides, a brochure titled ‘Your Rights as a Federal Employee’ and other documents. Scott J. Bloch, the agency head, said he ordered the material removed because of uncertainty over whether a provision of civil service law applies to federal workers who claim unfair treatment because they are gay, bisexual or heterosexual.” More Post: “The provision usually has been interpreted to mean that a worker’s off-duty behavior cannot be used as a justification for dismissal, demotion or discipline unless it hampers job performance or interferes with the work of others. That has been the stance at the Office of Personnel Management, which oversees the government’s workplace policies, for at least two decades. The OPM Web site continues to advise employees that bias based on sexual orientation is unlawful and informs them that complaints may be filed at the Office of Special Counsel.”