Biden administration The top human resources office asked federal agencies on Friday to create policies that explain how federal workers will be allowed to transition to a different gender in the workplace in ways that support their privacy.
The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has issued updated guidance on “Gender identity and inclusion in the federal workplace,” which has not changed since the end of the Obama administration in 2017. The new guidance was released on International Transgender Day for Visibility.
Old guidance from the Prime Minister’s Office told federal agencies to handle gender transitions “sensitively and confidentially,” and gave other general advice on How to handle transitions. The new directive asks agencies to move forward by establishing internal policies and procedures about how they handle transitions, and to “support employee transition” consistent with the overall goals set by OPM.
According to the OPM, agency policies must explain “the kind of support a moving employee can expect from supervisors, managers, human resources staff, and agency employee support services,” including access to employee assistance programs.
Agency rules must list the federal human resources official who can support the transfer of employees.
The Office of Operations Management also said the agency’s rules must define the procedure by which gender shifts will be reflected in the workplace. “The procedure may include, with the employee being transferred’s input and consent, when and which associates are notified of the transfer; the timing of name changes and pronoun changes, where applicable and consistent with this directive, in email, information technology systems, and employee profiles; and the process for any training on inclusion of identification.” gender to supervisors, managers, and co-workers if such training would be helpful,” OPM said.
As directed by the Prime Minister’s Office, federal agencies are required to make gender transition policies public and allow the use of sick leave for workers who relocate if they are receiving medical treatment during their transition, “just as with medical treatment for any other reason.”
The directive states more broadly that employees should have “control, to the greatest extent possible, over when, with whom, and how much they share about their gender identity or sexual characteristics. It also states that employees should be dealt with by Nouns and pronouns which they use to describe themselves, and say agencies should use “correct names and pronouns” to avoid discrimination.
“A single, unintentional use of an incorrect noun or pronoun in general does not constitute unlawful harassment, but, as the EEOC has made clear, continued intentional use of an incorrect noun or pronoun (or both) can and will contribute to creating Unlawful hostile work environment.