Washington, DC, United States (4E) – President Barack Obama is set to sign an executive order banning federal contractors from discriminating against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) employees, according to a White House staff.
Details of the order and its signing date are not yet finalized, said White House spokesman Josh Earnest on Monday.
The announcement of the order was timed before the President’s attendance to an LGBT gala in New York City sponsored by the Democratic National Committee.
LGBT advocate groups welcomed the order, which has a Senate bill version that passed but rejected by the Republican-dominated House of Representatives.
“By issuing an executive order prohibiting federal contractors from discriminating against LGBT people, the President will not only create fairer workplaces across the country, he will demonstrate to Congress that adopting federal employment protections for LGBT people is good policy and good for business. The White House statement today is promising, and we look forward to seeing the details of the executive order,” the Human Rights Campaign’s website quoted its president, Chad Griffin, as saying.
Currently, there’s no federal law or regulation that explicitly bans workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. The HRC said that in 29 states, it is legal under state law to fire or refuse employment to a person based on sexual orientation. Another 32 states lack explicit laws banning discrimination based on gender identity, it said.
Federal contractors employ more than 20 percent of the American workforce or 28 million workers. According to the Williams Institute, an executive order would protect 11 million more American workers from discrimination based on sexual orientation and up to 14 million more workers based on gender identity.
HRC said the order will force Exxon Mobil Corp., a top federal contractor, to provide non-discrimination protections to its LGBT employees and prospective hires.
The group accused the company of consistently resisting protection of LGBT workers citing its shareholders voting early this month that rejects for the 17th time a policy that would prohibit discrimination against such workers.
The HRC released the results of a new public opinion survey that conclusively demonstrates strong public support for federal non-discrimination workplace protections for LGBT workers. The national survey of 1,200 registered voters conducted June 6-10 by TargetPoint Consulting found that 63 percent of those surveyed favor a federal law that protects gay and transgender people from employment discrimination while only 25 percent oppose it.