President Obama signed a new Executive Order on July 21, 2014 that extends nondiscrimination protections to LGBT employees or job applicants employed by or seeking employment with federal contractors. Frustrated with Congress’ failure to address LGBT rights in the workplace, President Obama’s action amends Executive Order 11246 and prohibits federal contractors from discriminating against any employee or applicant for employment because of sexual orientation or gender identity and further requires contractors to take affirmative action to ensure applicants and employees are treated without regard to sexual orientation or gender identity. The only exceptions are for religiously affiliated contractors, who may favor individuals of a particular religion when making employment decisions, and for religious entities, who may make employment decisions regarding their ministers as they deem appropriate. The White House also issued a fact sheet providing further information relating to the issuance of the Executive Order.
The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) currently is sending out advanced courtesy notifications (known as Corporate Scheduling Announcement Letters or CSALs), to federal contractor establishments that have been selected to undergo a compliance evaluation during the upcoming scheduling cycle. The letters are addressed to the “Human Resources Director” at the establishments; the Corporate Headquarters is not copied. Please be sure to prepare mailrooms and local Human Resources Managers to be on the alert and to be ready to respond to an audit notice at any establishment that receives the letter.
On July 14, 2014 the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) issued new guidance on how the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (“PDA”) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) apply to pregnant workers.