Good news from the White House: Scott J. Bloch, head of the Office of Special Counsel, announced Thursday that his agency would continue a long-standing policy of enforcing employee claims of such discrimination under civil service law. "It is the policy of this administration that discrimination in the federal workforce on the basis of sexual orientation is prohibited," Bloch said in a statement. The decision appeared to end a controversy that began in January when Bloch pulled references to sexual orientation from documents concerning discrimination on the agency's Web site, pending a legal review. The move drew criticism from Democrats in Congress and gay rights groups, who noted that the federal government had long prohibited such discrimination against its employees. The Office of Special Counsel's mission is to protect federal employees and applicants from prohibited personnel practices, especially retribution for whistle-blowing.


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