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William Barr vows to investigate claims of discrimination against Justice Dept. LGBTQ employees

April 5, 2019

Attorney General William P. Barr said he is “troubled” by allegations of discrimination against LGBTQ employees at the Justice Department and vowed to investigate their claims, according to a letter released Friday.

The letter, sent Thursday to DOJ Pride, an organization representing LGBTQ Justice Department employees, said Mr. Barr confirmed he has directed department agencies to “take appropriate action” to address their complaints.

DOJ Pride last week sent Mr. Barr a letter alleging discrimination against LGBTQ employees at both the FBI Academy and Bureau of Prisons. The group said the discrimination has increased under the Trump administration.

In its letter, DOJ Pride urged Mr. Barr to issue an Equal Employment Opportunity statement asserting the Justice Department will create a “workplace free of discriminatory harassment.”

Mr. Barr wrote that he signed the EEO statement Thursday.

“Issuing the statement is not only required by law as you noted in your letter it is the right thing to do,” he wrote. “Employment decisions at the Department must be made solely on merit and free from discrimination. Every employee should know that I stand by that principle.”

Mr. Barr also wrote that he directed the Bureau of Prisons and FBI to investigate the allegations of discrimination and “prevent it going forward.”

DOJ Pride in its letter cited an internal survey of LGBTQ workers who said it was “demoralizing” that Mr. Barr failed to issue an EEO statement. The survey also found that less than a third of the department’s LBGTQ workers believe the agency values them and only 43 said it does not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

The letter also claimed “many gay agents” at the FBI Academy are dismissed because they are not “masculine enough.”

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