President Biden Targets Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation Discrimination Through Executive Order

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Amongst the flurry of other recent executive orders and administrative directives during his first 30 days in office, President Joseph R. Biden signed an executive order seeking to eliminate gender identity and sexual orientation discrimination, and various overlapping forms of discrimination on the basis of multiple protected classes, in federal government departments and agencies. This executive order closely follows on the heels of the Supreme Court’s June 15, 2020, decisions in the Bostock-Zarda-Harris trio of cases, ruling that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects workers on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

President Biden’s executive order directs federal government departments and agencies to review their programs, policies, and regulations, and develop plans, within 100 days, to revise their practices, policies, and regulations to eliminate gender identity and sexual orientation discrimination within those agencies, including in hiring and all other aspects of employment. The executive order further expressly requires federal departments and agencies to affirmatively combat overlapping forms of discrimination, such as on the basis of race or disability. These directives will likely impact perceptions of employment practices used and adopted in private industry. The resulting policy changes could also serve as important guidance for private employers to follow to ensure legal compliance with Bostock and various anti-discrimination laws.

A copy of the executive order can be found here.

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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