New Executive Order Prohibits Discrimination on Basis of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity for Federal Employment, Federal Contractors, and on Federal Construction Projects


On July 21, 2014, President Obama entered yet another executive order related to employment. This latest order amends two previous executive orders, Executive Order 11478 and Executive Order 11246. With the entry of this latest order, Executive Order 11478 was expanded to include “gender identity” (E.O. 11478 already prohibited discrimination based on sexual orientation). The new order also expanded Executive Order 11246 to prohibit discrimination based on “sexual orientation and gender identity” in addition to other protected classifications.

Executive Order 11478, as amended, previously set forth the Government’s policy of equal opportunity in federal employment; prohibited discrimination in such employment based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, handicap, age, sexual orientation or status as a parent; and set forth the requirement among executive departments and agencies to implement and maintain affirmative action programs.

Executive Order 11246, as amended, previously required that federal contractors and subcontractors which do more than $10,000 in business a year with the federal government also have policies in place prohibiting discrimination in employment based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin and required such contractors and subcontractors to implement affirmative action plans. E.O. 11246 further mandated that such non-discriminatory policies be required of certain construction contracts receiving federal assistance.

The new Executive Order was effective immediately. It directed the Secretary of Labor to prepare regulations to effectuate the changes to Executive Order 11246 within 90 days of the date of the new order. The amendment to Executive Order 11246 will apply to contracts entered into after the effective date of the rules that the Department of Labor will promulgate.

More to come . . .


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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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