The Department of Commerce has removed its mention of gender identity and sexual orientation from its equal opportunity employment statement, BuzzFeed News reports.
According to Buzzfeed, the new statement was uploaded to the website sometime within the last ten days, as the 2016 statement including statements gender and sexual identity was found on the Department’s website on June 6.
The new 2017 Equal Opportunity Employment statement says “the Department of Commerce does not tolerate behavior, harassment, discrimination or prejudice based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, or disability.”
LGBT workers’ protections in the federal workforce remain intact, as per the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission statement that such workers are protected from discrimination unrelated to work performance under the Civil Service Reform Act.
Former President Obama also signed an executive order in 2014 that banned discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation for anyone under a federal contract.
David Stacy, Government Affairs Director for the Human Rights Campaign said “the Department of Commerce’s latest move to exclude sexual orientation and gender identity in their Equal Employment Opportunity statement is mean-spirited, deceptive, and irresponsible” in a statement Thursday.
“Cutting specific mention of sexual orientation and gender identity protections is a slap in the face to LGBTQ federal employees who proudly serve at the Department of Commerce and sadly signals that this administration does not value them.”
Stacy urged President Trump to order the Commerce Secretary to immediately restore the previous language of the 2016 EEO statement.