Roger Severino, a former official at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and expert at the Heritage Foundation, contends that the Department of HHS’s divisive gender pronoun policy violates employee rights and may result in terminations due to “misgendering.” Vice president for domestic policy at the Heritage Foundation Severino disclosed the policy on social media, claiming that the transgender pronoun mandate is forcing HHS staff to tell “falsehoods” and downplay biological truths.
The rule, which is a component of HHS’s “Gender Identity and Non-Discrimination Guidance,” requires staff members to refer to coworkers using the names and pronouns they own. Noncompliance may lead to termination due to breaking anti-discrimination regulations. According to Severino, this policy violates employees’ First Amendment rights, which include the freedom to maintain one’s own beliefs and refrain from spreading lies.
Two executive orders issued by the White House in January 2021 and June 2022 served as the impetus for this policy, which was framed as a way to fight “gender discrimination” based on “gender identity.” This strategy is supported by U.S. Office of Personnel Management advice, which highlights the significance of using proper names and pronouns to foster inclusive work environments.
The email sent to HHS staff included a link to an unlisted YouTube video where Assistant HHS Secretary Rachel Levine—who identifies as transgender—emphasized the importance of individuality. Considered a violation of anti-discrimination law, Severino calls out the policy as “Orwellian” and warns that “misgendering” could result in terminations.
Severino goes on to discuss the policy’s effects on HHS restrooms and locker rooms, which permit people to use the spaces in accordance with their gender identity. He makes the case that this policy might foster a hostile work atmosphere, especially for women who might feel uneasy among people who identify as various genders.
If workers voice their concerns about the policy, they could have to decide between sticking up for what they see to be an unfair policy and keeping a low profile in order to protect their jobs. According to Severino, the policy violates workers’ rights to peaceful protest, religious freedom, and a safe workplace. Even though he recommends legal action for workers, there is still reason to be concerned about the policy’s overall effects on worker morale and output. Fox News Digital requested comments from the White House and HHS but did not hear back.