Civilian Sexual Orientation Policy

Various existing policies about nondiscrimination based on sexual orientation apply to Federal civilian employees. The military's "don't ask, don't tell" (DADT) policy rarely involves civilian employees. However, if you are a civilian who supervises a soldier, you should become familiar with the "don't ask, don't tell" policy that applies to all military members. The military policy is in AR 600-20, Chapter 4-19 and is available at URL:

The following briefly describes some of the policies and the rights of civilian employees who feel discriminated against because of their sexual orientation:

On May 28, 1998, President Clinton issued an Executive Order reaffirming the Executive Branch's long-standing policy that prohibits discrimination in federal employment based on sexual orientation. Executive Order 13087 added sexual orientation to the list of categories of discrimination prohibited by Executive Order 11478 (1969), the other categories being race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, and age. Executive Order 13087 can be found on the world-wide web at:

The Office of Personnel Management has issued a guide that addresses Federal employees' rights in the face of sexual orientation discrimination. The booklet identifies sources of help for Federal employees who believe they have been discriminated against based upon sexual orientation. It is at the following URL:

In March 1999 the Assistant Secretary of the Army (Manpower and Reserve Affairs) issued a memorandum providing the Army policy for processing complaints of discrimination based on sexual orientation. Such complaints should, as a rule, be handled under the Department of Defense administrative grievance procedure, a negotiated grievance procedure if appropriate, or as an appeal to the Merit Systems Protection Board when otherwise appealable actions are involved.

You should contact your servicing Civilian Personnel Advisory Center for advice and assistance pertaining to local grievance processing.

Content last reviewed: 6/20/2006-FMJ

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This page was last revised: 11/17/2009