New Executive Order Requires Federal Contractors to Protect LGBT Workers
President Barack Obama has signed an Executive Order prohibiting workplace discrimination against members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (“LGBT”) community. Federal contractors are now prohibited from discriminating against workers and job applicants based on sexual orientation and gender identity, under an Executive Order that President Barack Obama signed July 21, 2014. The order will bring new requirements for federal contractor employers to follow and is expected to affect approximately 20% of America’s workforce.
Different groups have been lobbying for the measure to be narrowly tailored and to provide exemptions based, for example, on religious beliefs, but the order does not contain such provisions. The President has directed the Secretary of Labor to draft new regulations within 90 days, or by October 19, 2014. It is expected that the new Order will take effect soon thereafter.
Employers who will be impacted by this Executive Order should review their equal employment opportunity and harassment policies for compliance with the Executive Order. For example, employers who are government contractors should add both sexual orientation and gender identity as protected categories under these policies and ensure that mechanisms are put in place to ensure that discrimination is not tolerated against LGBT employees.
If you have any questions or need assistance with planning and compliance, please do not hesitate to call the ScottHulse Labor & Employment team.