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Rule Protects Contractors’ LGBT Workers

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

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Catching up with many states and large companies, the federal government has extended anti-discrimination protection to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender employees of its contractors.

A final rule announced Wednesday (Dec. 3) bans discrimination by federal contractors on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

Bill signing
White House via YouTube

The new rule extends equal-employment protections signed in July by President Obama to discrimination on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation.

The rule is the first federal action to ensure LGBT workplace equality in the private sector, but the measure echoes many already in effect throughout the public and private sectors.

The District of Columbia and 18 states, as well as many businesses, have similar measures in place.

Of the 50 largest federal contractors, which represent nearly half of all federal contracting dollars, 86 percent prohibit sexual orientation discrimination and 61 percent prohibit discrimination based on gender identity, according to DOL.

In addition, the five top federal contractors, which receive nearly a quarter of all federal contracting dollars, already bar discrimination based on both sexual orientation and gender identity, the agency says.

Expanding Equal Opportunity

The new rule implements Executive Order 13672, a July 2014 amendment to the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs' (OFCCP)  Executive Order 11246 of 1965.

DOL Secy Thos Perez
Department of Labor

Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez said the measure reflected "fairness and opportunity."

EO 112346 established equal employment protections in the federal government and among its contractors and subcontractors. EO13672 tasked DOL with extending those protections to gender identity and sexual orientation.

"No current federal law adequately protects lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) workers from employment discrimination," the White House says in a Fact Sheet on the new rule.

"This is completely contrary to our values as Americans—and it’s also bad for business. ..."

"American workers should be judged by one thing only: their ability to get the job done."

120 Days

The final rule will become effective 120 days after its publication in the Federal Register and will apply to federal contracts entered into or modified on or after that date.

"This rule will extend protections to millions of workers who are employed by or seek jobs with federal contractors and subcontractors, ensuring that sexual orientation and gender identity are never used as justification for workplace discrimination by those that profit from taxpayer dollars," said Patricia A. Shiu, director of the contracting compliance office, which will enforce the new requirements.

Patricia A. Shiu
Department of Labor

Patricia A. Shiu's Office of Federal Contracting Compliance Programs will enforce the rule, which she said would protect millions of workers.

DOL has scheduled a one-hour technical assistance webinar at 2 p.m. ET Dec. 5 and Dec. 9 to explain the rule to federal contractors and subcontractors.

Details about compliance, terms, implementation and other issues are available in an FAQ page compiled by DOL. More information is also available at OFCCP's website and via a toll-free helpline at 800-397-6251.

'Fairness and Opportunity'

"Americans believe in fairness and opportunity," said U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez.

"No one should live in fear of being fired or passed over or discriminated against at work simply because of who they are or who they love."


Tagged categories: Contractors; Enforcement; Government contracts; Laws and litigation; North America; Program/Project Management; Subcontractors; Workers

Comment from john lienert, (12/9/2014, 9:37 AM)

gimme' a break

Comment from jim dolan, (12/9/2014, 12:46 PM)

Vote conservative!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Comment from Mark Anater, (12/9/2014, 1:39 PM)

Even people conservatives don't like deserve rights.

Comment from Tom Schwerdt, (12/10/2014, 8:20 AM)

"Conservative" shouldn't mean "discriminate against people." Remember, a higher percentage of Republicans in both the House and Senate voted for the 1964 Civil Rights Act. The primary opponent was Democrats Strom Thurmond and Robert Byrd.

Comment from Karen Fischer, (12/10/2014, 10:55 AM)

I think there are more important issues facing this nation than whether I am working next to someone who is LGBT. Who someone does home to is THEIR business and it shouldn't be anyone else's at work. I don't have to agree with their lifestyle, but I don't have to be a jerk either.

Comment from Car F., (12/10/2014, 3:43 PM)

What important is what in-between the ears, not in-between the legs. I agree with Mrs. Fischer. The country is indebted to the neck. The overt and open racism is galloping. Child poverty is a disgrace; inequality is at highest level ever, amidst unfathomable wealth and corruption. Three hundred and forty veterans commit suicide annually due to lack of care and attention from a government [of either stripe] that sent them to futile wars. It should not be dismissed, but LGBT discrimination is the least of the problems

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