Executive Order 11246 (Order) was first issued in September 1965 by President Johnson. Its purpose was to prohibit race, religion, color, and national origin discrimination by federal contractors and subcontractors and require them to engage in “affirmative action” to employ and advance minorities in employment. In 1967, the president amended the Order to also prohibit sex discrimination and require affirmative action by government contractors and subcontractors on behalf of women.

The responsibility of administering and enforcing the Order was delegated to the U.S. Secretary of Labor. The secretary was given power to adopt rules and regulations to enforce the Order. Subsequently, the secretary delegated the authority to enforce the Order and its accompanying regulations to the director of the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP).