December 3, 2014 at 11:00 am EDT | by Chris Johnson
Final rule announced for LGBT workplace executive order
Labor Secretary Thomas Perez announced the rule is final for an executive order barring LGBT workplace discrimination. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

Labor Secretary Thomas Perez announced the rule is final for an executive order barring LGBT workplace discrimination. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

A new rule for an executive order signed by President Obama prohibiting federal contractors from engaging in anti-LGBT workplace discrimination is now final, the Labor Department announced Wednesday.

Following years of pressure from LGBT advocates, Obama signed the order on July 21, but the process wasn’t yet final because the Labor Department and the Office of Management & Budget had to draft a rule to implement the measure.

Once the final rule is published in the Federal Register, it will become effective 120 days later and apply to federal contracts entered into or modified on or after that date, according to the Labor Department.

After its announcement, the Labor Department published Frequently Asked Questions for the final rule, which can be found here. The final rule itself is set to be online at 4:30 pm, according to the Labor Department. UPDATE: The final rule is here.

Labor Secretary Thomas Perez said in a statement the final rule for the executive order, known as Executive Order 13672, is a step in the path to ending anti-LGBT discrimination in the workforce.

“Americans believe in fairness and opportunity,” Perez said. “No one should live in fear of being fired or passed over or discriminated against at work simply because of who they are or who they love. Laws prohibiting workplace discrimination on the bases of sexual orientation and gender identity are long overdue, and we’re taking a big step forward today to fix that.”

No explicit protections exist in federal code prohibiting companies from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, although the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has interpreted existing protections for gender to protect transgender workers.

The executive order is considered the first federal action to ensure LGBT employment non-discrimination in the public sector. However, in April the Obama administration interpreted the LGBT non-discrimination provisions in reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act to extend to employment at organizations accepting federal grants for domestic violence programs.

Charged with enforcing the executive order is the Labor Department’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, which is headed by Patricia Shiu.

“We are building on the work of presidents and members of Congress from both parties who have expanded opportunities for America’s workers,” Shiu said in a statement. “This rule will extend protections to millions of workers who are employed by or seek jobs with federal contractors and subcontractors, ensuring that sexual orientation and gender identity are never used as justification for workplace discrimination by those that profit from taxpayer dollars.”

In October, the Labor Department had submitted its proposed rule for the executive order to the Office of Management & Budget. No comment period took place for the proposed rule.

Laura McGinnis, a spokesperson for the Labor Department, said the administration didn’t allow for a comment period because of the nature of the executive order.

“In cases where an Executive Order is very clear about the steps the department needs to take and leaves no discretion regarding how to proceed, agencies may publish final rules without notice and comment,” McGinnis said. “So this one was sent to OMB as a final rule.”

Chris Johnson is Chief Political & White House Reporter for the Washington Blade. Johnson attends the daily White House press briefings and is a member of the White House Correspondents' Association. Follow Chris

4 Comments
  • Fantastic! Now we need SCOTUS to do their job for national marriage equality!

    Reality Update:

    As of November 10, 2014, we now have finally gained the permanent freedom to marry in Pennsylvania!

    That was the final day when a bully failed to re-appeal to the United States Supreme Court. This would have been her third federal appeal (she lost the first two).

    Instead of filing her well-funded and widely-promised discriminatory appeal, she chose to skulk away silently, forever.

    This singular bully sought to destroy all non-different-sex marriages in Pennsylvania.

    On May 21, 2014, PA Gov. Tom Corbett rightly chose to drop his costly federal appeal. His year-long appeal had already cost taxpayers nearly a million dollars, solely to uphold centuries of segregation in marriage in Pennsylvania.

    Earl and I are very grateful when bullies are forced to choose to give up their assaults and quietly crawl back to that dank cave of heterosex-supremacist ideology.

    Yet, as of today, the U.S. Supreme Court continues to fail their responsibility to rule for permanent freedom to marry across America, at both the federal and state levels.

    SCOTUS continues to choose to maintain this discriminatory status quo, resulting in an ugly patchwork quilt of prejudice that shames the U. S. Constitution's guarantees of equal protection under the law.

    Until the day dawns when SCOTUS chooses to rule for equality nationwide, marriage remains a segregated country club, restricted to different-sex couples, when a state says so.

    Anyone else notice the irony that national law, since 1776, favors both honest heterosexual couples as well as those many dishonest couples pretending to be heterosexual. National law grants countless perks, protections, subsidies and entitlements only to marriages of different-sex-couples, whether those couples are truly heterosexual or not.

    So SCOTUS, it’s past time to get real. SCOTUS has ended patchwork quilts of prejudice in recent decades, yet today, Americans born non-heterosexual still live and marry in a segregated United States.

    http://www.freedomtomarry.org/story/entry/after-37-years-we-cant-wait-any-longer-to-marry-at-home

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