President Obama to Sign Executive Order Prohibiting Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Discrimination by Federal Contractors

June 20, 2014

This week, the White House announced that the President will issue an executive order that will forbid companies that contract with the federal government from discriminating against employees based on sexual orientation or gender identity. This executive order will add to the current state-specific patchwork of prohibitions on sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination in employment. Currently, twenty-one states and the District of Columbia prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation, and eighteen states and the District of Columbia ban discrimination based on gender identity.
 
While similar federal legislation that would apply to all employers (not just those with federal contracts) has been passed in the U.S. Senate, it has stalled in the U.S. House of Representatives. Administration officials state that the President decided to act unilaterally in the absence of Congressional action.
 
The exact details of this executive order, including whether there will be exemptions for certain religious organizations, have not yet been finalized, and no date for finalization or signature has been announced.