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 U.S. Office of Special Counsel
 1730 M Street, N.W., Suite 218
 Washington, D.C. 20036-4505


(202) 254-3600                  

     Special Counsel Scott J. Bloch today announced the results of the legal review to determine the extent of jurisdiction of the office to process claims under Title 5, Section 2302(b)(10).

     “It is the policy of this Administration that discrimination in the federal workforce on the basis of sexual orientation is prohibited,” Bloch stated. “The Office of Special Counsel (OSC) has been engaged in a review of its authority to process claims of sexual orientation discrimination under Title 5, Section 2302(b)(10), which prohibits discrimination on the basis of ‘conduct which does not adversely affect the performance of the employee or applicant or the performance of others.’ OSC has always enforced claims of sexual orientation discrimination based on actual conduct. Based on its review, OSC has concluded that such authority exists in cases other than actual conduct when reasonable grounds exist to infer that those engaging in discriminatory acts on the basis of sexual orientation have discriminated on the basis of imputed private conduct. Such inferences apply to all claims under Section 2302(b)(10), including, but not limited to, sexual orientation discrimination claims. The materials formerly on OSC’s Web site were not clear about the statutory basis for OSC’s authority. OSC believes that the materials currently on its Web site are consistent with the view of the law described above, but intends to review and revise those materials as necessary to ensure that employees are fully aware of the protections provided.”

     The Office of Special Counsel is an independent investigative and prosecutorial agency. Its primary mission is to safeguard the merit system in federal employment by protecting federal employees and applicants from prohibited personnel practices, especially retaliation for whistleblowing. OSC also has jurisdiction over the Hatch Act and the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act.

     For more information about OSC, please visit our Web site at www.osc.gov.