Equality for LGBT Workers: A Look at the Executive Order on LGBT Workplace Discrimination
Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people will now receive the same protections from workplace discrimination as are enjoyed by so many, as a new Executive Order on LGBT Workplace Discrimination has officially gone into effect as of April 2015.
This Order specifically prohibits federal contractors and subcontractors from discriminating against workers on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation. While 18 U.S. states (and more than 200 cities) have already reportedly banned such discriminatory practices, this new Order brings the protections to a federal level, and it represents the first broad expansion of federal U.S. anti-discrimination laws in more than 40 years.
Commenting on the importance of this action, U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez has stated:
This is a civil rights victory consistent with [America’s] 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.
A Closer Look at the Impacts of the Executive Order
Companies that earn federal government contracts will be impacted by this new Order (if they do not already have anti-discrimination policies regarding sexual orientation and gender identity in place). Specifically, this Order will:
- Impact every company that has a new or modified federal contract, including subcontractors for these companies
- Apply to every establishment these companies have, not just the facilities that are providing contract-related goods and/or services
- Not require job applicants to disclose their gender identities or sexual orientation
- Not require extra record keeping or other bureaucratic efforts for employers.
Upon signing this order in July 2014, President Barack Obama remarked that:
We’ve got an obligation to make sure that the country we love remains a place where no matter who you are, or what you look like, or where you come from, or how you started out, or what your last name is, or who you love — no matter what, you can make it in this country.
Upon this order taking effect in April 2015, Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez noted that:
Today is an important mile marker on the path to workplace equality, but our efforts are far from finished. We will move with all haste, bringing to bear the full resources of this department to implement and enforce these new protections on behalf of the LGBT Americans who work for federal contractors.
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