In a lot of ways, the federal government doesn't have to play by the same rules as private employers. But a new law puts Uncle Sam one step closer to walking in your shoes.
Starting in October, federal agencies such as the IRS and OSHA no longer can duck the cost of discrimination judgments and settlements. Agencies must now reimburse the Treasury Department's so-called Judgment Fund when they lose or settle lawsuits brought by their employees.
Congress created the fund so it wouldn't need to approve specific appropriations to pay such legal bills. Previously, government agencies weren't required to reimburse the fund when losing a lawsuit. This allowed them to avoid accountability for their acts.
But the new law forces each agency to cough up its own money to settle a case.