White House Announces Plans For Executive Order Prohibiting LGBT Discrimination

For Immediate Distribution
June 16, 2014

Contact:
Laura Rodriguez, lrodriguez@rabengroup.com, (310) 956-2425
Donald Gatlin, dgatlin@rabengroup.com, (202) 587-2871

14 Million More Workers Would Be Protected By Executive Order Prohibiting Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity

Order will reduce persistent and pervasive employment discrimination against LGBT people

LOS ANGELES— The White House has announced that President Obama has directed his staff to prepare a federal executive order requiring contractors to prohibit workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity—a move that will protect 14 million more workers in the U.S. than current state law, according to research by the Williams Institute.

“The executive order will help reduce the number of American workers who can be harassed or fired based on their actual or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity,” said Williams Institute Executive Director, Brad Sears. “Williams Institute research has documented pervasive and persistent patterns of workplace discrimination in all fifty states, however, our analysis indicates that state and local nondiscrimination laws protect only a portion of the American workforce.”

“Today, discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people is disturbingly common. A 2013 survey found that 21 percent of LGBT people report having been treated unfairly by an employer,” said Williams Distinguished Scholar, Lee Badgett. “Further, almost half of transgender people in a recent survey had experienced discrimination in hiring, promotion or job retention.”

A Williams Institute infographic illustrating evidence of workplace discrimination against LGBT people is available here.

“The executive order brings the federal government a step closer to nondiscrimination policies already enacted by many top 50 federal contractors and Fortune 500 companies, said Senior Counsel, Christy Mallory. “These employers link inclusive policies to recruiting and retaining the best talent, generating the most innovative ideas, and maintaining positive employee morale and relations.”

Williams Institute research has shown:

• As of May 2014, 86% of the top 50 federal contractors prohibited discrimination based on sexual orientation, and 61% prohibited discrimination based on gender identity.

• All but two (96%) of the top 50 Fortune 500 companies prohibited discrimination based on sexual orientation as of May 2014, and 70% prohibited discrimination based on gender identity.

• Local policies that require city and county contractors to prohibit sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination do not burden governments or businesses.

• Combined, the top 50 contractors represent 47.7% of all contracting dollars awarded by the federal government – over $218 billion in spending.

• An estimated 11 million more workers will be protected from sexual orientation discrimination when taking into account those already protected by state law or employer policy.  An additional 14 million workers will be protected from gender identity discrimination.  Estimates take recent changes in state nondiscrimination laws into account.