President Signs Executive Order Prohibiting LGBT Discrimination by Federal Contractors

Today, President Obama signed an executive order (E.O.) banning discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered (LGBT) employees by federal contractors effective immediately.

The new E.O. amends the existing E.O. 11246, issued by President Johnson, to add sexual orientation and gender identity to the list of protected categories covering federal contractors. The E.O. also amends E.O. 11478 to ensure “that federal employees – who are already protected on the basis of sexual orientation – will now formally be protected from discrimination based on gender identity as well.” The E.O. directs the U.S. Department of Labor to create regulations within 90 days. The E.O. applies to contracts entered into on or after the effective date of the rules created by the U.S. Department of Labor.

Currently, no federal law protects employees working outside the federal government from workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which would have banned LGBT discrimination nationally, was last proposed in 2013, but did not pass. Eighteen states (including Colorado and New Mexico) and the District of Columbia have laws prohibiting LGBT discrimination. Some states ban such discrimination in public employment and some localities have bans.

Click here to read the order.