Over a month after the White House first announced an impending measure preventing federal contractors from discriminating against their employees on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, President Obama has officially signed the Executive Order (E.O.) to achieve this end. The E.O. generally prohibits employment discrimination against federal employees and contractors on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, and does not include a carve-out for religious-affiliated entities.
The July 21, 2014 E.O. revises a prior E.O. signed in 1969, E.O. 11478, which prohibits discrimination against federal employees based on various categories. The new E.O. substitutes "sexual orientation, gender identity" for "sexual orientation".
The second section of the new E.O. amends E.O. 11246, which prohibits certain federal contractors from engaging in discrimination against their employees. The new E.O. incorporates the phrase: "sex, sexual orientation, gender identity" into various portions of E.O. 11246 where other protected categories are listed.
The E.O. is effective immediately, and the DOL is directed to prepare implementing regulations within 90 days. A fact sheet on the E.O. can be found here.