DOL Issues Final Rule on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Protections

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) finalized a new rule on December 3 prohibiting discrimination on the bases of sexual orientation and gender identity in the federal contracting workforce.

The rule implements Executive Order 13672, which was signed by President Obama on July 21, 2014, and directed the DOL to update the rules implementing EO 11246 – Equal Employment Opportunity to add gender identity and sexual orientation to the classes it protects.

Although this requirement may be new for federal contractors, California’s employment laws have prohibited discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity for several years under the Fair Employment and Housing Act.

The DOL’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs will enforce the new federal requirements.

The OFCCP also enforces Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974. These laws require contractors and subcontractors that do business with the federal government to follow the fair and reasonable standard that they not discriminate in employment on the basis of sex, race, color, religion, national origin, disability, status as a protected veteran and now sexual orientation and gender identity.

The final rule will become effective 120 days after its publication in the Federal Register and will apply to federal contracts entered into or modified on or after that date. More information is available from the DOL.

Source: Cal Chamber

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