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Preface

The purpose of this booklet is to give Commerce employees a general overview of the policies and laws related to sexual orientation discrimination in the Commerce workplace and an introduction to the available avenues of redress. The booklet also provides information about other matters related to sexual orientation that may be of interest to Commerce employees in general and to those who are lesbian, gay, or bisexual in particular.

Sexual orientation discrimination against Commerce employees and applicantsfor employment is prohibited by Federal Government and Department of Commerce policies. It is also a prohibited personnel practice under the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978 -- the law that established the basic merit system principles governing federal personnel management. The avenues of redress for sexual orientation discrimination can be confusing because of the overlapping authority of different Commerce offices and federal agencies and different appeal routes and time limitations. This booklet is a resource to help employees choose the best recourse for their situation by providing general information about the various avenues of redress and contacts for more information.

Dissemination of information on procedural remedies and policy is of great importance to employees who may feel victimized by discrimination. But of primary importance is creating an atmosphere of fairness. Employees should be secure in the knowledge that the federal agency for which they work will not treat them differently or less favorably on account of sexual orientation or any other consideration unrelated to merit. The Department is committed to creating a work environment in which employees can feel assured that they will receive fair treatment.