DOJ Pride, a group that represents LGBTQ employees of the Department of Justice, penned a letter the Attorney General William Barr regarding the treatment of LGBTQ employees.
The letter consists of a request for an Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) statement as well as testimonies from employees. An EEO statement affirms the employer’s commitment to equality within the workplace under the Civil Rights Act of 1964. DOJ Pride said in the letter that they requested one from the previous Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, but never received one.
“This affirmation is especially important to our members in light of the Department’s recent litigating position, which it volunteered ‘in its capacity as the Nation’s largest employer,’ that Title VII does not protect against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity,” the letter says. “Our members need to know whether the Department will continue to honor such protections with respect to its own employees, as applicable under binding EEOC precedent.”
The letter also references personal testimonies of LGBTQ DOJ employees who say that the agency “is not recruiting and retaining top LGBTQ talent,” causing low morale. Some have simply expressed dissatisfaction while others have gone so far as to leave their job.
“The DOJ is no longer the welcoming, inclusive environment for LGBTQ employees that it once was,” one testimony reads. “I have had many LGBTQ friends either leave the Department of express disinterest in applying to openings in the Department in the first instance,” says another.
“I am leaving the DOJ in part due to the DOJ’s treatment of its LGBTQ employees,” an employee said. Another said they believe that the DOJ “just [doesn’t] think about us at all.”
DOJ Pride surveyed employees and found that only 31 percent of respondents believed “the Department of Justice values its LGBTQ employees” and 43 percent agreed that “the Department of Justice does not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity or expression.” A mere 10 percent said they thought the DOJ “attracts and retains the best LGBTQ talent.”
The letter closed by calling on Barr to address problems like “morale, recruitment, retention, and fair treatment.”