On July 21, President Obama signed an executive order amending the executive order signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson that prohibited federal contractors from discriminating against protected categories of workers.
Executive Order 11246, issued by President 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 will add sexual orientation and gender identity to the list of protected categories.
The change took place immediately but applies only to government contracts entered into after July 21, 2014.
Federal contractors should review their discrimination and harassment policies and modify them to add protections for sexual orientation and gender identity if those protections are not already included.
Note: Sexual orientation and gender identity remain outside the protection of federal and many state nondiscrimination laws for private employers who are not federal contractors.
For more information on what federal contractors need to know about EEO compliance see SMACNA’s Guide prepared by SMACNA’s Labor Relations Department. SMACNA will also continue to update this guidance when new regulations are issued in the near future.