OPM Issues Guidance Regarding Employment of Transgender Individuals in Federal Workplace

On May 27, Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Director John Berry issued a brief memorandum to all executive departments and agency heads announcing "Guidance Regarding the Employment of Transgender Individuals in the Federal Workplace." "The purpose of this memorandum is not to address legal rights and remedies, but instead to provide guidance to address some of the common questions that agencies have raised with OPM regarding the employment of transgender individuals in the federal workplace," said the guidance. On May 27, Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Director John Berry issued a brief memorandum to all executive departments and agency heads announcing "Guidance Regarding the Employment of Transgender Individuals in the Federal Workplace."

"The purpose of this memorandum is not to address legal rights and remedies, but instead to provide guidance to address some of the common questions that agencies have raised with OPM regarding the employment of transgender individuals in the federal workplace," said the guidance.

It details several important issues for transgender workers by first addressing the "core concepts," defining many terms used within the transitioning process of a transgender individual. The guidance then provides information for federal managers and supervisors regarding individuals who transition while employed by the federal government.

According to the guidance, managers and supervisors are to treat any employee's transition as confidential. All medical information received about the employee is protected under the Privacy Act and all personal information should be considered confidential. No personal information should be released without an employee's prior agreement.

Additionally, the guidance clarifies that all employing agencies, managers and supervisors should be sensitive to employees transitioning and work to eliminate any gossip or rumor-spreading about gender identify. Managers and supervisors should refer any questions about the employee's transitioning to the employee himself or herself.

The guidance states that once an employee has informed management that he or she is transitioning, the employee will begin to wear the clothing associated with the gender to which he or she is transitioning. Managers, supervisors and coworkers should also use the names and pronouns associated to the employee's new gender and agencies should allow the transitioning employee to access restrooms consistent with his or her gender identity.

The guidance explains how recordkeeping and insurance benefits should be modified for a transitioning employee. In addition, OPM issued a "carrier letter" that instructs the federal government's insurance carriers to issue gender-appropriate identification cards and ensure that transgender employees still receive care for medical conditions related to their sex assigned at birth.

According to OPM, any managers, supervisors or employees with questions regarding individual circumstances should consult their human resources offices or OPM.

Click here to read the memorandum and full guidance.

Posted in General News

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