As we previously noted, federal contractors have been besieged in recent months with regulatory changes and enforcement initiatives advanced by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (“OFCCP”) and various divisions within the Department of Labor (“DOL”). The holiday season has not offered any relief, as the DOL recently announced its final rule implementing Executive Order (“EO”) 13672 on December 3, 2014.
EO 13672, signed by President Obama on July 21, 2014, required the DOL to update the rules that implemented EO 11246, which previously prohibited discrimination by federal contractors and subcontractors on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, and national origin. EO 13672 called for the DOL to add gender identity and sexual orientation to the classes that EO 11246 protects. President Obama’s directive is the first federal action aimed at ensuring LGBT workplace equality in the private sector. The final rule will take effect 120 days from the date of its publication in the Federal Register, which is on or about the first week of March 2015.
The final rule applies to federal contractors holding contracts entered into or modified on or after the date the rule takes effect. In addition to updating the existing rules to include gender identity and sexual orientation, the final rule also updates the Equal Opportunity Clause included in federal contracts. That clause now states that the contractor considers all applicants for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, or age. Federal contractors and subcontractors must also include similar statements in their job solicitations and required notices posted conspicuously at work sites.
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