by Brig Bagley
21 July 2014
Obama has just signed a new Executive Order that prohibits discrimination based on sexual preference and identity in the workplace. The order can only apply to federal workers and workers of companies on federal contract. Federal workers enjoy this benefit immediately, while federal contract workers should expect to see the order enforced by early next year.
Previous protections are augmented with this order. Obama did not, however, remove Bush's clause in 2002 that grants employers the ability to prioritize hiring based on one's religious beliefs.
Because the ruling by the Equal Employment Opportunity commission in 2012 is claimed to still not be enforced (particularly for transgender people), Obama believed this order would help make the difference.
About 1/5 of working Americans will be protected by this order. The Employment Non-Discrimination Act written by Obama would cover all Americans, but it has only been passed in the senate, and awaits attention by the republican-controlled House of Representatives, which has refused to bring it up.