Just like most nongovernment employees, government employees are covered by Title VI, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, and the Equal Pay Act. Those working for the federal government are covered by Sections 501 and 505 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which incorporates the requirements set out in the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Most federal agency employees, except those in the FBI, CIA, DIA, NSA, or by direction of the President, are also covered by the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978. The agency, department, or branch of government that an employee works for may have additional regulations that provide protection for the employee. The primary difference between government employees and private sector employees is in the processing of complaints.
Federal government employees should visit www.opm.gov, which is the website for the Office of Personnel Management (OPM). Those employed by other government entities may have a similar personnel management or human resources office. Some states have statutes that specifically address government employees and their complaints.
Federal government employees are technically covered by the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978 (CSRA). This law prohibits federal employees from being discriminated against on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, national origin, age, disability, marital status, political affiliation, or conduct that does not adversely affect performance. The OPM has interpreted the prohibition of discrimination based on conduct to include sexual orientation. (See www. opm.gov/er/address2/guide01.htm.)
The Office of Special Counsel (OSC) and the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) enforce the CSRA. The OSC defers those bases of discrimination that are covered by the EEOC to the agency involved and their EEO process. There are other areas where the OSC will decide to also address a federal employee’s complaint. These areas include discrimination due to marital status, discrimination due to political affiliation, interference with another’s promotion or application for government employment, nepotism, whistle-blowing, retaliation, violations of the Freedom of Information Act, or discrimination based on personal conduct that does not affect job performance. (See www.osc.gov/ppp.htm.)