July 21, 2014, President Obama signed an Executive Order 13672 to prohibit federal contractors and subcontractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. The Order directed the Secretary of Labor to prepare regulations to implement the added protections. The Department of Labor subsequently published a Final Rule, which took effect on April 8, 2015. According to the Final Rule, the regulations will apply to Federal contractors who hold contracts entered into or modified on or after April 8, 2015.
Executive Order 11246, which was initially issued by President Lyndon B. Johnson, prohibits federal contractors who do over $10,000 in Government business in one year from discriminating “against any employee or applicant for employment because of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.” President Obama’s Executive Order 13672 amended Executive Order 11246 to add sexual orientation and gender identity to the list of protected categories. As it stands, approximately 18 states have already banned workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, including the state of Minnesota.
Secretary of Labor, Tom Perez commented that the new protections are “a civil rights victory consistent with our founding principles. It will mean a more dynamic and inclusive workforce that captures the talents of more of our people. It advances the principle that we should be leaving no one on the sidelines, that America is strongest when it fields a full team.”
For more information, you might consider visiting the United States Department of Labor at http://www.dol.gov/ofccp/lgbt.html.