Discrimination

Architect of the Capitol finds itself in court over discrimination cases
Court rules that second discrimination case can go forward

Acting Architect of the Capitol Christine Merdon. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Architect of the Capitol finds itself under fire for alleged discrimination, and could be headed to messy federal court fights over the matter.

A federal appeals court has ruled that a reasonable jury could agree with an AOC employee that he was discriminated against for his national origin when he was denied promotions in 2014 and 2015.

Appeals court orders trial in discrimination suit involving Capitol architect's office
Employee alleged his name was mocked by hiring team considering his promotion

Acting Architect of the Capitol Christine Merdon. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

A racial discrimination lawsuit filed by an Architect of the Capitol employee who was passed up for a promotion will move forward to trial after the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit reversed a district court that had dismissed the case.

The appeals court found that Javier Mayorga, who emigrated to the U.S. from Nicaragua in 1990, presented evidence that could lead a jury to infer he was the victim of discrimination. An electronic industrial controls mechanic in the Capitol Superintendent’s Office, Mayorga has been an AOC employee since 2007. He has received numerous awards and his work was rated “outstanding” in his previous two evaluations, the court ruling said.

The Senate lacks protections for LGBTQ staff. One group is demanding change
Existing laws for legislative branch workers don’t explicitly protect LGBTQ employees

A Senate staffer group is urging offices to adopt policy manuals that include protections for LGBTQ employees from discrimination. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

As Congress considers expanding civil rights to encompass LGBTQ Americans, Senate staffers want their bosses to shore up such protections for the congressional workforce itself. 

In a letter sent April 8, the bipartisan Senate GLASS Caucus urged chamber offices to adopt policy manuals that include protections for LGBTQ employees from discrimination.

House offices on timeline to implement anti-harassment policies
The House took steps to further codify protections following last year’s dispute over how Congress should prevent harassment and discrimination

House offices have 60 days to implement an anti-harassment and anti-discrimination policy. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The House took steps Thursday to further codify a more appropriate culture on Capitol Hill, following last year’s prolonged dispute over how Congress should protect its own staff from harassment and discrimination.

The House Administration Committee voted to approve regulations for mandatory anti-harassment and anti-discrimination policies for House offices. 

House moves to protect federal interns from harassment and discrimination

The House voted on a measure by Rep. Eijah Cummings, D-Md., to protect federal interns from workplace harassment and discrimination. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The House took action Tuesday to protect the youngest members of the federal workforce, interns, from workplace harassment and discrimination.

The House passed by voice vote a measure from Maryland Democrat Elijah Cummings, that would extend certain federal employee protections to unpaid interns in the federal government. Cummings is the chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, and a version of his measure also passed in the 115th Congress.

Jackie Speier and Bradley Byrne Aim to End Taxpayer Settlements for Discrimination
House lawmakers want to go beyond compromise measure that passed Thursday

House lawmakers, including California Rep. Jackie Speier, already have plans to expand discrimination protections beyond the sexual harassment measure passed Thursday. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Congress on Thursday passed new sexual harassment rules governing lawmakers and staff on Capitol Hill, but House lawmakers already have plans to expand protections beyond what’s included in the compromise measure.

“This bill isn’t perfect, but that’s part of what the legislative process is about,” California Democrat Jackie Speier said Thursday. “We have decided to get this on the books to change the system that was woefully inadequate and then come back next year.”

Former Henry Cuellar Aide Files Discrimination Complaint for Being Fired Over Pregnancy
Texas Democrat’s office defends firing without addressing claims

A former senior staffer for Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, says she was fired for being pregnant — a violation of federal law. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

A former acting chief of staff to Texas Democratic Rep. Henry Cuellar has filed a complaint claiming that she was fired for being pregnant, a violation of federal law.

“After serving as staff in the House of Representatives for 13.5 years I had the opportunity to become the acting Chief of Staff for a different Congressman. After finding out and communicating I was pregnant, I was fired,” Katie Small wrote in a Facebook post Thursday evening.

LGBT Advocate Maloney Earns Bipartisan Praise Back Home
New York Democrat says he's no 'partisan warrior'

New York Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney listens to the National Anthem before a one-mile benefit race in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. on Saturday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

BEACON, N.Y. — In Washington, Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney  has infuriated Republicans for offering an LGBT amendment they say was orchestrated to kill the appropriations process . But constituents and fellow politicians here in New York’s 18th District say Maloney is far from a partisan troublemaker.  

Maloney, a Democrat, commutes home every weekend to the southern Hudson Valley , typically spending at least one day traveling the district, split nearly evenly between Republicans and Democrats.  On Saturday, that meant running in a race benefitting those with disabilities, meeting with students and hosting a town hall meeting.  

Update: Solicitor General Who Handled Obamacare Case to Leave
Donald B. Verrilli Jr. also took on same-sex marriage issue

U.S. Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli, Jr. represented the Obama administration before the Supreme Court in cases including the health care law overhaul and same-sex marriage. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli Jr., who represented the Obama administration in historic Supreme Court wins on the health care law and same-sex marriage, will leave the job this month.

The groundbreaking cases Verrilli handled during five years as the government's representative at the Supreme Court makes him “one of the most consequential" solicitors general in U.S. history, Attorney General Loretta Lynch said Thursday in announcing the departure.

LGBT Provision Divides GOP
A bipartisan group of lawmakers looks to strip provision they fear is discriminatory

Pennsylvania Rep. Charlie Dent wants to remove a provision that he says could lead to more discrimination. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

When House Republicans added a provision to a sweeping defense bill that appeared to open the door to discrimination in government-wide contracting based on sexuality and gender identity, Democrats objected.  

But when members submitted an amendment to strip that language on the floor this week, it was a Republican who led the charge.