Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Discrimination - Executive Order

Author: The Williams Institute
Published: Friday 18th July 2014 - Updated: Friday 14th November 2014
Summary: executive order will protect 34 million federal contractor employees from sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination.


Order protects 14 million more workers than otherwise protected by state law or corporate policy.

Today, President Obama announced he will broaden a federal nondiscrimination executive order to prohibit workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity - a move that will protect approximately 22 percent (or 34 million) of civilian workers in the U.S., according to research by the UCLA School of Law's Williams Institute.

"The executive order will reach workers not protected by the patchwork of existing state-level nondiscrimination policies," said Williams Institute Executive Director, Brad Sears.

"Less than half of the states prohibit sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination, leaving a majority of American workers without protections."

An estimated 11 million more workers will be protected from sexual orientation discrimination when taking into account those already protected by state law or employer policy.

An additional 14 million workers will be protected from gender identity discrimination.

Estimates take recent changes in state nondiscrimination laws into account.

As of May 2014, 86% of the top 50 federal contractors prohibited discrimination based on sexual orientation, and 61% prohibited discrimination based on gender identity.

All but two of the top 50 Fortune 500 companies prohibited discrimination based on sexual orientation (96%) as of May 2014, and 70% prohibited discrimination based on gender identity.


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