The Final Rule implements an Executive Order signed by President Barack Obama on July 21, 2014, making it illegal for federal contractors to discriminate against employees and applicants on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, which protects lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) employees from such discrimination. This Executive Order amended Executive Order 11246, signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1965, to add sexual orientation and gender identity to the list of protected categories covering federal contractors.

The implementation of the rule means that covered federal contractors are now required to have Equal Employment Opportunity policies and/or procedures in place to protect employees from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. In addition to the new protections for federal contractors, federal employees, who are already protected on the basis of sexual orientation, will be protected from gender identity discrimination, which has not been previously protected.    

The regulations will be posted on the Federal Register on Friday, December 5.The 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. Visit the  OFCCP website for further details. 

Employers should review all current company policies and procedures, which will likely require an update to employee handbooks, application materials and discrimination policies to ensure compliance with the Final Rule. If you have any questions regarding this recent announcement,  contact an attorney with our Firm.