This morning, the Department of Labor issued a final rule implementing President Obama’s June 2014 executive order protecting LGBTQ employees of federal contractors and subcontractors from discrimination. Specifically, the executive order prohibits discrimination by federal contractors in hiring and employment based on an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity.
Around twenty percent of the American workforce is employed by federal contractors, and the President’s executive order provides protections against workplace discrimination for this sizeable portion of the working population. While a number of states and municipalities already provide legal protections against discrimination in employment based on a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity, many others do not. In fact, the Williams Institute projects that this executive order will protect eleven million otherwise unprotected workers from discrimination based on their sexual orientation, and fourteen million from discrimination based on their gender identity. While providing nondiscrimination protections for federal contractors is an important step, it will take action by Congress and the passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, or legislation like it, to ensure that all LGBTQ workers are protected.
If you are the employee of a federal contractor or subcontractor and believe that you are being discriminated against based on your sexual orientation or gender identity, filing a complaint with the Department of Labor is easy. Instructions for filing a complaint can be found here. In addition, the form for filing a complaint is located here. It’s important to note that complaints based on your sexual orientation or gender identity must be filed within 180 days of the last discriminatory or retaliatory action taken by your employer. Feel free to reach out to us at Family Equality Council with any questions about the executive order, the new protections for employees of federal contractors, or the complaint process.
Read the text of the final rule here.