A group representing LGBT Justice Department employees are concerned after the agency argued in front of the Supreme Court against plaintiffs in a handful of cases that their interests are not protected by federal civil rights laws against employee discrimination.
"Every response but one reflected concern, dismay, and even distress about the cases," the group, DOJ Pride, wrote in a letter to Attorney General William Barr, reports The Hill. "Various respondents told us they believe that the Department does not support its LGBTQ workforce, that the Department thinks LGBTQ people do not need or deserve anti-discrimination protections, that the Department will be less able to recruit and retain talented employees, that Department employees will be less comfortable coming out at work, and that the Department’s litigating positions set back the Department’s mission of promoting justice, fairness, and equality."
Solicitor General Noel Francisco in October argued before the Supreme Court against plaintiffs in cases that will decide if workers can face discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. The DOJ's position is that the federal law doesn't offer protection for LGBTQ employees on the basis of sexual discrimination.
Barr said in April that the DOJ's equal employment opportunity policy protects gender identity and sexual orientation, and DOJ Pride wants that commitment to be reaffirmed, no matter how the Supreme Court ends up ruling in the cases Francisco is arguing.
"As you know, the tone you set at the top reverberates far and wide, so we believe that these actions would have a meaningful, positive impact on the morale of the Department’s LGBTQ employees, and would reinforce that we are not second-class employees at the Department of Justice," the letter says.
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