On July 21, 2014, President Obama issued an Executive Order (EO) protecting employees of federal contractors and subcontractors with contracts in excess of $10,000 against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.  Under the regulations just issued to implement the EO, employers that enter into or modify a federal contract or subcontract on or after April 8, 2015 will need to ensure that they are in compliance with the new requirements.  Employers need to take the following steps:

  • Include an updated equal opportunity clause in all new or modified subcontracts and purchase orders; 
  • Ensure that applicants and employees are not discriminated against by reason of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity;
  •  Use updated equal opportunity language in all job solicitations; and 
  • Post updated notices including the prohibitions against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Under the revised regulations, any such discrimination is subject to the same potential sanctions for discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, and national origin.  Sanctions for noncompliance may include the termination, suspension, or cancellation of any federal contract or subcontract.