President Obama Amends Executive Order 11246 to Protect LGBT Workers of Government Contractors from Discrimination

As the White House announced last month, President Obama signed yesterday an Executive Order that bans workplace discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (“LGBT”) workers of federal contractors. Executive Order 11246, issued by President Lyndon B. Johnson, prohibits federal contractors from discriminating “against any employee or applicant for employment because of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.” President Obama’s Executive Order adds sexual orientation and gender identity to the list of protected categories. According to White House staff, the amendment is effective immediately.

The executive order directs the Department of Labor to issue proposed regulations implementing the order within 90 days. The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (“OFCCP”) will likely be charged with enforcing these new compliance obligations. Although the contours of OFCCP’s enforcement plans are unclear, they could potentially include affirmative action obligations much like the well-established requirements for women and minorities. Contractors will be closely watching for clues about how the government will implement the order.

The decision not to include an exemption for religious organizations has stimulated substantial controversy. The White House and religious groups and their advocates had been in intense negotiations regarding a religious exemption during the past few months. However, the administration elected not to exempt those employers. Pushback is expected from religious groups newly emboldened by the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Hobby Lobby, which created a religious exemption from the Affordable Care Act.

The Order is unlikely to impact substantially the policies of larger government contractors. The top 50 federal contractors, which receive nearly half of all federal contracting dollars, prohibit the forms of discrimination banned by the order.  Of these contractors, 86 percent prohibit sexual orientation discrimination and 61 percent prohibit discrimination based on gender identity. The top five federal contractors ban both forms of discrimination, according to a White House fact sheet.

The Co-Chair of the Government Regulatory Compliance & Relations Group, Connie Bertram, discussed the new Executive Order with Law360 during an interview yesterday. Law360’s article is attached here.

Written by:

Published In:


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.

© Proskauer - Government Contractor Compliance & Regulatory Update | Attorney Advertising

Don't miss a thing! Build a custom news brief:

Read fresh new writing on compliance, cybersecurity, Dodd-Frank, whistleblowers, social media, hiring & firing, patent reform, the NLRB, Obamacare, the SEC…

…or whatever matters the most to you. Follow authors, firms, and topics on JD Supra.

Create your news brief now - it's free and easy »

All the intelligence you need, in one easy email:

Great! Your first step to building an email digest of JD Supra authors and topics. Log in with LinkedIn so we can start sending your digest...

Sign up for your custom alerts now, using LinkedIn ›

* With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name.