A division of the Department of Labor charged with overseeing benefits for American workers is telling employees to use the words “they”, “them” and “them” to describe individuals as part of “gender-inclusive language policy,” The Daily Signal has learned.
“The policy encourages the use of the singular ‘they’ and its variations where applicable, encourages the use of gender-neutral language, and discourages the use of gender-based titles and honorifics as long as the person’s preference for explicitly referred to or addressed ” Ali Khawaracting assistant secretary of the Employee Benefits Security Administration, says in a statement.
Khawar’s April 27 note, which appears to be in line with the wishes of LGBTQ activists, continues to instruct division employees that when writing official documents, they should:
Use the singular ‘they’ when its referent is an indefinite noun. Use ‘them’ in place of ‘he or she’, ‘they’ in place of ‘he or she’ and ‘they (i)’ in place of ‘they (i).’
The Daily Signal obtained a copy of Khawar’s memo announcing the new policy, which also directs the staff: “Use a gender-neutral pronoun when describing a legal norm, including memoranda, correspondence and regulatory drafting.”
The memo states that the policy complies with President Joe Biden’s January 2021 Executive Order of the Labor Department Employee Benefits Safety Administration which called for federal employees to be treated with dignity, “regardless of their identity as gender or sexual orientation “.
“The White House promptly enforced this order to the use of language, adding Mx., A gender-neutral honorific, and ‘they / them’, a gender-inclusive singular pronoun set on the drop-down menus on the contact page of the its website, ”Khawar’s Says the EBSA note.
Marty Walsh, former Boston Democratic mayor and union official, was sworn in as Biden’s secretary of labor in March 2021.
Khawar had already held multiple locations in the Department of Labor, including advisor to former Obama Administration Labor Secretary Thomas Perez.
Khawar was appointed interim assistant secretary in March 2021 after being sworn in as Deputy Assistant Principal Secretary for the Employee Benefits Safety Administration on January 20, 2021, the day Biden took office. Previously he was an EBSA investigator and, in two administrations, EBSA’s chief of staff.
The Department of Labor agency “is moving towards a gender-specific language restriction practice,” Khawar’s memo adds:
To build and expand this practice to be more inclusive of gender diversity, the policy allows for greater sensitivity by avoiding making assumptions based on a person’s name or appearance. This policy can be cited as a basis for the use of gender inclusive language, including the singular “they” in EBSA documents.
Khawar’s memo goes on to instruct employees on how to write documents under the new policy.
“Always use the singular ‘they’ to refer to someone if they use that personal pronoun,” says her memo. “This practice respects and affirms people and their identities.”
The note then provides an example:
Alex’s pronouns are they / they / them, so one sentence is’ Alex is an excellent multitasker; they took notes on their computer while also replying to my messages. I am a hard worker and I enjoy working with them. ‘
In another example, the memo says that instead of using a phrase such as “If an employee reports a violation, they should tell their supervisor to notify them in advance,” staff should use a phrase such as “If an employee reports a violation, they should inform your supervisor to inform him in advance “.
Under the new policy, the note also advises agency employees:
If you don’t know someone’s pronouns, ask respectfully. Also, you can introduce yourself with your pronouns and share your pronouns in your email signature. These practices invite others to share their pronouns.
In another example of subject-verb agreement, Khawar’s memo instructs employees to use a plural verb for “they”. The example reads: “Jordan is out today. I’m on approved leave ”.
The Daily Signal sought comment from several Department of Labor spokespersons, providing an electronic copy of Khawar’s memo. A spokesperson had not responded by the time of publication.
Although the practice seems unusual in common parlance, the memo argues that the use of a singular “they” dates back to the 14th century:
The practice of using the singular “they” reflects English usage dating back to the 14th century AD. It has been recognized as grammatically correct in many dictionaries and writing style guides, including the House of Representatives Rules for the One hundred and seventeenth Congress, the Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary, the Oxford English Dictionary, APA Style, MLA Handbook, Chicago Manual of Style, and the AMA Style Manual.
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