LGBTQ staffers decry discrimination at Justice Department

Greg Nash

A group representing LGBTQ employees of the Department of Justice (DOJ) warn Attorney General William Barr in a letter dated Wednesday that they face ongoing discrimination and declining morale. 

DOJ Pride said in the letter that an October 2018 survey found that “morale is low among LGBTQ individuals currently employed in the Department, and that the Department is not recruiting and retaining top LGBTQ talent.”

{mosads}The survey found that only 31 percent of respondents felt that “the Department of Justice values its LGBTQ employees,” and just 43 percent felt that “the Department of Justice does not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity or expression.”

One respondent said they were leaving the department “in part due to the DOJ’s treatment of its LGBTQ employees,” and another said that gay and/or Latino agents in the FBI academy are discriminated against and evaluated more harshly. Another agreed that the FBI academy dismissed gay agents because they are not “‘bro-y’ or masculine enough.”

The letter also pushed the department to issue an Equal Employment Opportunity statement expressing commitment to a workplace “free of discriminatory harassment.” It said that former Attorney General Jeff Sessions failed to do so.

Sessions resigned from the attorney general position in November. Barr was sworn in to replace him last month. 

In a statement to The Hill on Friday, a DOJ spokesperson said it was department policy to create a work environment “free from harassment based on sex, race, color, religion, national origin, gender identity, age, disability, sexual orientation, marital or parental status, or political affiliation.”

“The Department of Justice is committed to implementing policies that will ensure equal employment opportunity in all aspects of the Department’s daily operations and hiring practices, enforcing employment anti-discrimination laws, and fostering inclusive work environments that afford men and women from diverse backgrounds the equal opportunity to grow in their careers and support the Justice mission,” the spokesperson said. 

Updated March 29, 6:00 p.m.

Tags Department of Justice DOJ Jeff Sessions LGBT William Barr

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