Workplace Culture

LGBT Rules for Federal Contractors Now in Effect

By Jon Hyman

Apr. 9, 2015

If you are a federal contractor or subcontractor, this is big week for you. On April 8, the OFCCP’s Final Rule Implementing Executive Order 13672 Prohibiting Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity by Contractors and Subcontractors took effect.

What does this mean for federal contractor’s and subcontractors?

  • You must take affirmative action to ensure that applicants are employed, and employees are treated, without regard to their sexual orientation and gender identity.
  • You must include sexual orientation and gender identity as prohibited bases of discrimination in the Equal Opportunity Clause in all federal contracts, subcontracts, and purchase orders.
  • You must update all solicitations or advertisements for employment to state that the contractor considers all applicants for employment without regard to any of the protected bases, which now must include sexual orientation and gender identity.
  • You must post updated notices in the workplace for applicants and employees, which state that sexual orientation and gender identity are protected traits in employment.

Here’s what President Obama said when he signed the executive order last year:

It doesn’t make much sense, but today in America, millions of our fellow citizens wake up and go to work with the awareness that they could lose their job, not because of anything they do or fail to do, but because of who they are—lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender. And that’s wrong. We’re here to do what we can to make it right—to bend that arc of justice just a little bit in a better direction….

Equality in the workplace is not only the right thing to do, it turns out to be good business. That’s why a majority of Fortune 500 companies already have nondiscrimination policies in place. It is not just about doing the right thing—it’s also about attracting and retaining the best talent….

And yet, despite all that, in too many states and in too many workplaces, simply being gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender can still be a fireable offense….

For more than two centuries, we have strived, often at great cost, to form “a more perfect union”—to make sure that “we, the people” applies to all the people. Many of us are only here because others fought to secure rights and opportunities for us. And we’ve got a responsibility to do the same for future generations. We’ve got an obligation to make sure that the country we love remains a place where no matter who you are, or what you look like, or where you come from, or how you started out, or what your last name is, or who you love—no matter what, you can make it in this country.

Here’s to a day, hopefully in the very-near future, when this arc of justice no longer needs to be bent.

Jon Hyman is a partner in the Employment & Labor practice at Wickens Herzer Panza. Contact Hyman at

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