Press Statement Regarding Department of the Interior Employee Rights and Protections

Last edited 09/29/2021

The following press statement is in response to inaccurate reporting regarding the Department of the Interior's HR policies and the protections that are in place for Interior employees: 

“The Department of the Interior stands at the forefront in defending the rights of all employees and has a zero tolerance policy for discrimination or harassment of any kind.

The Department's ethics guidelines follow the general principles of current federal regulations and Executive Order 12674, which states that 'Employees shall adhere to all laws and regulations that provide equal opportunity for all Americans regardless of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, or handicap.'

Under the leadership of Secretary Bernhardt, the Department issued a policy extending protections from harassing conduct and expressly prohibiting unwelcome conduct based upon LGBT status. This policy did not exist under the Obama Administration or any other previous Administration.

The Department has been crystal clear on unacceptable behavior, processes, reporting standards, and anti-retaliation policies against whistleblowers, and requires mandatory anti-discrimination training for all supervisors in order to stop misconduct at the earliest signs."

DOI Spokesperson, Carol Danko

Additional Information:

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission definition of sex discrimination under Title VII

"Discrimination against an individual because of gender identity, including transgender status, or because of sexual orientation is discrimination because of sex in violation of Title VII."

Interior Department Personnel Bulletin on the Prevention and Elimination of Harassing Conduct:

Section A: "Protected status is defined as an individual’s race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy and gender identity), sexual orientation, national origin, age, disability, family medical history (including genetic information), status as a parent, marital status, or political affiliation."  

Interior Department Office of Civil Rights

"The term 'diversity' is used broadly to refer to many demographic variables, including, but not limited to: age, color, disability, education, geographic origin, gender, national origin, race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, and skill characteristics." 


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