Executive Order Issued Banning Discrimination based on Sexual Orientation

President Obama announced on June 20, 2014 that he has signed an executive order to end discrimination in hiring based upon sexual orientation for federal contractors. The executive order will apply to any private businesses that enter into a contract with the United States government.

Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act prohibits employers from discriminating against workers and job applicants based on sex, race, color, religion, or national origin. However, the act doesn’t expressly prohibit employer discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity bias.

Currently, 21 states and the District of Columbia ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Which means, employers in the other 29 states are technically able to legally fire, demote, or otherwise discriminate based upon sexual orientation.

Some critics note that the order will have a limited impact as it is narrowly tailored to federal contractors only. Furthermore, many companies already have sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination ban in place.

Data provided by the Human Rights Campaign reveals that 88 percent of all Fortune 500 companies already prohibit sexual orientation discrimination. Additionally, over than half (57 percent) of those employers have established gender identity bias bans.

If you or loved one have been the victim of workplace discrimination it is important to consult an experienced employment law attorney who will fight to defend your rights.

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