President Signs Executive Order Expanding Workplace Equality
On Monday, President Obama signed a two-part executive order to ban discrimination against gay and lesbian federal contractors. The executive order makes it illegal to harass or fire federal contractors based on their sexual orientation. This protection will go into effect in early 2015. The second part extends the protections already put in place by the Clinton Administration to ban discrimination against gay and lesbian federal employees to transsexual federal employees. This protection is effective immediately.
The Administration has been quick to point out that this legislation will not infringe on the religious liberties of federal contracting companies. This executive order brings a renewed sense of protection for civil liberties, providing equal protection for federal contractors regardless of race, religion or sexual orientation. This legislation comes in the wake of courts across the country ruling marriage discrimination laws unconstitutional, extending LGBT employees more workplace protections and peace of mind.
During the signing of the executive order, President Obama reminded the public that in 32 states it is legal to harass or fire an employee based on their sexual orientation in the private sector. This executive order is a reminder that inequalities among employees still exist in workplaces across the country.
NFFE is at the forefront of LGBT equality in the federal workforce, strongly supporting the Domestic Partner Benefits and Obligations Act (H.R. 3135). This legislation is aimed at providing domestic partners of federal employees the same medical and retirement benefits that spouses of federal employees currently have.
“We applaud the President’s action in providing more workplace protections for the LGBT community,” said NFFE National President William Dougan. “We recognize the need to create a welcoming and equitable workplace for all Americans, which is why NFFE strongly supports the Domestic Partner Benefits and Obligations Act, H.R. 3135. In order to recruit and retain the strongest candidates into federal service, we must be diligent in ensuring equal access to benefits for all federal employees. NFFE encourages the President to champion H.R. 3135 as he continues to push for workplace equality.”