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Employee Relations

Affirmative Defenses

Government Building Employees may raise a new fact or set of facts to defeat actions taken against them, (e.g., an adverse action under 5 CFR 752 or a performance-based action under 5 CFR 432), even if the facts supporting the actions are true. This is called an affirmative defense. Disability discrimination, sexual orientation discrimination, and whistleblower reprisal are some of the affirmative defenses that can be raised. We monitor case law and policies and provide guidance to Federal agencies.

Title VII Discrimination

Disability Discrimination

Federal agencies are required by law to provide reasonable accommodation to qualified employees with disabilties. The U.S. Equal Opportunity Commission (EEOC) enforces the law which prohibits employment discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities. EEOC also provides oversight and coordination of all federal equal employment opportunity regulations, practices, and policies. More information about the EEOC's role in reasonable accommodation is located at and

The U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) website links agencies to the Job Accommodation Network (JAN), the National Center on Workforce Disability for Adults (NCWD-A) and other disability-related employment resources.

The Civil Service Reform Act of 1978 (CSRA) identifies prohibited personnel practices. The CSRA prohibits any employee who has authority to take certain personnel actions from discriminating for or against employees or applicants for employment on protected bases, including disability. The prohibited personnel practices and the merit system principles for Federal personnel management are codified at 5 U.S.C. 2302.

OPM also has information on reasonable accommodation in the recruitment and hiring process for:

Sexual Orientation Discrimination

Addressing Sexual Orientation Discrimination in Federal Civilian Employment: A Guide to Employee Rights

Whistleblower Reprisal

Office of Special Counsel

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