West Virginia's Civil Rights
Interactive Census Map
||The Washington Post has an interactive census map. It uses numbers
from 1990, 2000, and 2010 to show trends including percent change,
population, density, and family type by total, in White, Black, Hispanic
or Asian populations. Information may be displayed by state, county, or
zip code. There are very clear demographic shifts, most notably a
dramatic increase in the Hispanic population across the country
including WV. Since
2000, the ethnic change in WV has been 81.4% Hispanic, 31.3% Asian, 9.3%
Black, and 1% white.
Sexual Orientation in the Workplace:
Questions and Answers
What is Sexual Orientation?
Everyone has a sexual orientation. The American Psychological Association (APA)
defines sexual orientation as an emotional or affectional attraction to another
person. This includes heterosexuality (attraction to the opposite sex),
homosexuality (attraction to the same sex) and bisexuality (attraction to either
sex). A person's sexual orientation emerges during adolescent development and is
not the result of a conscious choice. The APA states that individuals can choose
whether or not to act on their feelings, but cannot voluntarily change from one
orientation to another.
Why is sexual orientation a workplace issue at USDA?
Employees should expect to find a diversity of sexual orientations at USDA. In
the past, it was common practice to fire or to refuse to hire suspected
homosexuals in the Federal workplace. Employees have been physically threatened,
verbally abused, and subjected to hostile working conditions. Laws and policies
have changed, and all USDA employees need to be aware of their responsibility to
prevent this form of discrimination and to ensure that gay, lesbian, bisexual
and transgender (LGBT) individuals are an accepted and valued part of the
diverse USDA workforce.
Why do some people need to talk about their sexual orientation at work?
Sharing aspects of one's personal life with coworkers is a normal part of
everyone's workday. Conversations about spouses, friends and family help form
bonds of mutual respect and trust that support a productive workplace.
Unfortunately, many LGBT employees do not discuss their personal life at work
for fear that they will be rejected, harassed or threatened by other employees,
thereby damaging their opportunities for advancement and promotion. Therefore,
to enhance the productivity of ALL employees, it is just as important for LGBT
individuals to be comfortable to speak about personal issues and matters as do
What if my religion says that homosexuality is morally wrong?
The USDA workforce includes a diversity of religious views, and discrimination
on the basis of religion is prohibited in the Federal workplace. This means that
no one can or should ask an employee to change his or her religious beliefs on
homosexuality. Conversely, this also means that religious objections to
homosexuality cannot be imposed on other coworkers or be used to obstruct
nondiscrimination laws, policies, and diversity activities.
What are the laws and policies that prohibit sexual orientation
discrimination at USDA?
The 1978 Civil Service Reform Act states that Federal Agencies cannot
"discriminate for or against any employee or applicant for employment on the
basis of conduct which does not adversely affect the performance of the employee
or applicant or the performance of others" [5 USC 2302(b)].
Presidential Executive Order 13087, issued in 1998, provides for "a uniform
policy for the Federal government to prohibit discrimination based on sexual
The Secretary's Civil Rights Policy Statement has prohibited sexual orientation
discrimination at USDA since 1993.
What should I do if I believe I have been discriminated against because of my
There are five avenues of redress available to a Federal employee who wishes to
resolve a conflict or file a complaint of discrimination based on sexual
orientation: (1) Alternative Dispute Resolution; (2) Agency discrimination
complaint procedure; (3) Agency or Union grievance procedure; (4) Office of
Special Counsel; and (5) Appeals to the Merit Systems Protection Board (for
allegations involving personnel actions that are otherwise appealable to the
Board). The employee who wishes to pursue conflict resolution or file a
discrimination complaint using one of the above options should contact his or
her Agency's Office of Civil Rights for specific information.
Does USDA offer domestic partner benefits?
LGBT employees of USDA can share some Federal employee benefits with their
domestic partners. For example, domestic partners can be designated as
beneficiaries of an employee's Thrift Savings Plan and life insurance policies
if the employee files the appropriate beneficiary forms. Insurance and
retirement cannot be shared with an employee's domestic partner by law and
What can I do to make USDA a better workplace for LGBT employees?
LGBT coworkers should be welcomed and valued members of your work unit. Acts of
harassment or threats against LGBT employees should be reported immediately to
your manager. Employees should refrain from LGBT jokes and negative comments. An
individual's sexual orientation should not be a factor in hiring, promotion,
evaluation, and work assignment decisions. Finally, the Department needs the
thoughtful attention of every member of the USDA family in order to create a
work environment where LGBT employees are safe, respected, and able to share in
the full responsibilities and benefits of employment.
Where can I go if I have further questions about sexual orientation issues at
The USDA Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Special Emphasis Program Manager
(LGBT/SEPM) is located within the Department’s Office of Human Resources’
Management. Each Agency should also have a National LGBT/SEPM.
You can contact your Agency's Civil Rights and Human Resources Offices for
further information on how to contact them as well as to obtain information on
complaint procedures, benefits, and local events and activities.
Last Modified: June 8, 2011 by Nance/NRCS
USDA PRIDE Celebration
The USDA PRIDE Celebration was held Thursday June 2, 2011 in the
Jefferson Auditorium. The infamous montage is shown at the end of program.
Some of the highlights include:
- For the first time, in the over ten times that this event has been held,
a Color Guard opened the program…in recognition of the repeal of Don’t Ask,
- For the third year in a row, Secretary Vilsack attended the program.
- The Secretary’s portion of the program opened with his “It Gets Better”
- The Secretary signed the new expanded Departmental Civil Rights’ Policy
that now includes gender identity.
- Carole Jett received the Award from GLOBE (the USDA Chapter of the Gay
Federal Employee’s Organization). Carole now serves as the Deputy Chief to
the Secretary after a distinguished career with NRCS AND
- The Montage!!!
(1) LGBT Pride Observance (Open captions)
(2) LGBT Pride Observance (No captions)
The entire program runs just over an hour (67 minutes).
Agriculture Secretary Vilsack and Assistant Attorney General West Announce
Process to Resolve Discrimination Claims of Hispanic and Women Farmers
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