speaking of Hunting Season...
March 17, 2004 7:25 PM   Subscribe

Every gay and lesbian federal employee has just lost their protection from discrimination. Gay and lesbians in the entire federal workforce have had their job protections officially removed by the office of Special Counsel. The new Special Counsel, Scott Bloch, says his interpretation of a 1978 law intended to protect employees and job applicants from adverse personnel actions is that gay and lesbian workers are not covered. Bloch said that the while a gay employee would have no recourse for being fired or demoted for being gay, that same worker could not be fired for attending a gay Pride event.
posted by amberglow (21 comments total)
more at FEDGLOBE, the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Employees
of the Federal Government organization
posted by amberglow at 7:44 PM on March 17, 2004

"Let's see, can't win on economy. Some question in the war on terror. The whole civil rights thing is lagging. I know lets run on the platform that God hates fags."

I find what has become open season on homosexuals patently offensive. Why this administration feels the need to set back to cause of civil rights to say nothing of their other offenses is beyond me.
posted by shagoth at 7:48 PM on March 17, 2004

It's amazing to me that people think that being gay is a choice and therefore not protected, but your religion (also a choice) is protected.

Try firing someone for being Catholic.
posted by Dipsomaniac at 7:50 PM on March 17, 2004

Well they chose to be gay! I mean, they could have been doctors or lawyers or pediatricians but no no no they had to be gay.
posted by xmutex at 7:52 PM on March 17, 2004

Bloch was appointed by President Bush to a five year term beginning in January.

Long after Bush is gone we will be living with his pernicious appointments - like a bad case of toxic mold.
posted by madamjujujive at 7:59 PM on March 17, 2004

Bloch is clearly playing games with the law.

In 1998, an executive order was signed by President Clinton, declaring it specifically unlawful to discriminate against federal civilian employees based on their sexual orientation.

What this also means, incidentally, is that it would be perfectly legal for someone to fire heterosexual employees based on their orientation too. Remember to remove that indecent picture of you kissing your wife on your marriage day from your desk... pushing your discomforting heterosexual agenda is inappropriate in today's workplace!
posted by insomnia_lj at 8:00 PM on March 17, 2004

I find what has become open season on homosexuals patently offensive.

me too. and the working class. and the elderly. and the liberal thinker. are we about ready to start shooting back? is it wabbit season or is it duck season?
posted by quonsar at 8:03 PM on March 17, 2004

BTW, prior to his recent appointment as special counsel, Bloch headed up the Task Force for Faith-Based Initiatives in the Department of Justice.

Bush also recently appointed a friend of Bloch to the same department, who has been criticized for his open hostility to homosexuals. Clearly, such a person does not belong in a department that is supposed to protect the rights of *ALL* federal employees equally.
posted by insomnia_lj at 8:05 PM on March 17, 2004

is it wabbit season or is it duck season?

Duck season.
posted by homunculus at 8:19 PM on March 17, 2004

It's amazing to me that people think that being gay is a choice and therefore not protected, but your religion (also a choice) is protected.

No no, you're missing the point. It's not whether something is a choice or not. It's about whether you make the right choice in the eyes of a government official's chosen religion.
posted by 4easypayments at 8:29 PM on March 17, 2004

Hey, Poeple choose to be republican too, Can we fire them?
posted by Elim at 8:47 PM on March 17, 2004

Were I a gay supervisor in the gov't, I think I'd immediately fire all of my hetero staff.
posted by aramaic at 9:37 PM on March 17, 2004

my america has disappointed me
posted by archimago at 9:04 AM on March 18, 2004

Bloch said gays, lesbians and bisexuals cannot be covered as a protected class because they are not protected under the nationĀ½s civil rights laws.

Wait a second -- what Bloch is saying is true. To my knowledge (which is admittedly incomplete), sexual orientation is not a protected class w.r.t. employment at the federal level, although I believe it is in a number of states. I suspect at some point in the future, it will be at the Federal level as well.

On the other hand, the line he's drawing makes no sense. Since conduct is apparently protected, I'm not entirely sure what basis the average gay-firing federal employer is supposed to use to determine that you are, in fact, safe to get rid of. Open admission? A list of names hidden in a stump?
posted by tingley at 9:04 AM on March 18, 2004

...how his office will handle "complaints alleging sexual orientation discrimination". Waitasec. That covers a lot more than hiring and firing. That's the whole gamut of personnel rules.

This raises the question of how states deal with the whole range of issues in their statutes, which are not currently covered in the federal statutes. Issues such as transgender: are cross-dressers protected? (only in CA, I think); male and female only restrooms?; allegations of homosexual harrassment? (might be a federal court decision there, I think); *and* the big one, which is always about money--do homosexual partners have access to federal employee benefits?

Whatever you feel on these issues, if they aren't *individually* addressed by federal statute, they are not the law. Executive Orders are blanket directives, that is, the devil is in the details. A President may EO that "the sky is green", but it's up to the bureaucrats to figure out how to enforce that--if at all--which is why, one way or another, there has to be statutes.
posted by kablam at 9:23 AM on March 18, 2004

The article's lead line is an outright lie.

Buried in the second-to-last paragraph...

Bloch indicated that he may amend his position. He said he is initiating a review of the issue and plans to meet with the Office of Personnel Management and congressional staff to hear their opinions before making a final decision on how his office will handle complaints alleging sexual orientation discrimination.

No one's job protection has been taken away. No decision has been made. Bloch spoke of his "interpretation" of the 1978 law, but plans to solicit other opinions before making any final judgement.

While this is not an encouraging news item, it's even less encouraging when a gay-friendly news outlet can't even be trusted to be honest with its own readership. Crap journalism is crap journalism, be it gay or not.
posted by DWRoelands at 10:44 AM on March 18, 2004

Ok I got it right this time: this whole gay issue thing is being blown out of proportion exactly like terrorism is being used to excuse contempt for individual freedom and rights.

Who cares about the sexual orientation of anybody ? Let heteros be heteros and gays be gays ; some people says being gay is genetic, so let them live their life, they can't reproduce so eventually if the gay gene really exists is not going to be passed along.

Curiously enough the same who think being gay is a gene problem want to subtract their childrens from "evil" gay influence ; influence ? that doesn't mutate genes.

Damn fundamentalists anti gay they're no better then terrorists.

We have a number of priority problems, much more important then the gay stuff : unemployement, pollution, corruption, cancer, aids and the list is just started. Gay isn't a issue at all, except maybe for gays.
posted by elpapacito at 10:54 AM on March 18, 2004

No one's job protection has been taken away. No decision has been made. Bloch spoke of his "interpretation" of the 1978 law, but plans to solicit other opinions before making any final judgement. --by DWRoelands

Oh...but, no...see, also from the article:

after the OSC began removing references to sexual orientation-based discrimination from its complaint form, the OSC basic brochure, training slides and a two-page flier entitled "Your Rights as a Federal Employee."

So...yeah, maybe he's going to ask for opinions...but he's already started clearing out the protections.
posted by dejah420 at 11:09 AM on March 18, 2004

America is one screwed-up country anymore.
posted by alumshubby at 2:44 PM on March 18, 2004

they reversed! The Office of the Special Counsel has finally conceded that it was wrong to have announced gays and lesbians working for the federal government were no longer protected against discrimination in the workplace.
posted by amberglow at 7:30 PM on April 12, 2004

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