Spring 2015 Newsletter
New Federal Executive Order Prohibits Discrimination Against LGBT People
In April, the Executive Order on LGBT Workplace Discrimination, signed by President Obama last July, went into effect. Under this law, federal contractors and subcontracts may not discriminate against their employees or applicants for employment on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.
The Executive Order will not have a significant impact in Washington State because State law already protects LGBT employees from discrimination. However, the Executive Order is still noteworthy. No federal statute explicitly prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, and congressional attempts to pass such a law over the last 20 years have been unsuccessful. Washington is one of only 21 states that prohibit sexual orientation discrimination in employment, and one of only 18 that prohibit discrimination based on gender identity. The Executive Order applies only to federal contractors and subcontracts, not to all employers. But for LGBT employees of federal contractors in states without state laws covering them from discrimination, this Executive Order will provide significant employment protection.