US Interior Department removed sexual orientation from anti-discrimination guidelines

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The US Department of the Interior has changed its workplace discrimination guidance crossing the LGBT people out. “You shall adhere to all laws and regulations that provide equal opportunities for all Americans regardless of race, color, religion, sex, age or handicap,” reads one of 14 principles of ethical behavior in the agency’s 2017 guidelines. It’s in stark contrast to the 2009 edition of the guidelines – under the Obama administration – which covered the categories of “race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age or disability”. So, sexual orientation was present there, and the term ‘disability’ is more appropriate for the differently-abled community than ‘handicap’. Moreover, on his first day on the job, then-Deputy Interior Secretary David Bernhardt sent department staff a copy of the guidelines where “sexual orientation” was missing. But internal documents obtained by environmental non-profit Friends of the Earth showed ‘sexual orientation’ being deliberately crossed out with a red ink. Carol Danko told the paper that the agency guidelines comply with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s interpretation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The measure prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, religion and sex, which extends to LGBT+ workers.

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