A Shift in Federal Employment Discrimination Based On Sexual Orientation

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 makes it illegal to discriminate based on race, color, religion, gender or national origin. What Title VII does not cover is employment discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. The issue of rights of LGBT citizens has been growing over the last few years, especially in the context of same-sex marriage. Now President Obama intends to formalize LGBT rights in the workplace.

Many states have legislation making it illegal to discriminate against employees based on sexual orientation or gender identity. But, the Federal government does not. Therefore, members of the LGBT community are still vulnerable to employment discrimination on a Federal level. President Obama is planning on signing an Executive Order making this type of employment discrimination by Federal contractors illegal. It is important to realize that this Executive Order will not make this type of employment discrimination illegal for all employers. It only applies to Federal Contractors i.e. those who enter into contracts to do work for the Federal government.

All of the details of the executive order are not known at this time and are most likely not finalized. Writers also don’t know when the Executive Order will be finalized or signed by President Obama. But, it is likely that the Executive Order will be very similar to a recent employment discrimination Senate Bill of the same nature that was offered up but failed due to a Republican led house.

The proposed Executive Order has been applauded by LGBT rights organizations. But, these organizations are not totally happy with it. They think that the country needs a more comprehensive bill that would cover more than Federal contractors. In essence, they want Federal legislation that makes employment discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity that applies to all employers.

Thomas M. Lancia, Esq. is experienced in representing victims of employment discrimination based on race, gender, religion, disability and sexual orientation. If you or someone you know has been the victim of this type of discrimination, call Thomas M. Lancia PLLC at (212)964-3157.