Yesterday President Barack Obama signed an Executive Order further amending Executive Orders 11478 and 11246. Executive Order 11478 requires the federal government to provide equal opportunity in federal employment for all persons, to prohibit discrimination in employment because of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, handicap, or age, and to promote equal employment opportunity through a continuing affirmative program in each executive department and agency. Executive Order 11246 prohibits federal contractors and federally-assisted construction contractors and subcontractors, who do over $10,000 in government business in one year, from discriminating in employment decisions on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. The amendment now prohibits federal contractors from discriminating against employees based on gender identity and sexual orientation.
It is unclear whether this new Executive Order will impose new affirmative action requirements on federal contractors. The Secretary of Labor is required to prepare regulations implementing the provisions of the Executive Order within 90 days, which will provide further guidance on the obligations imposed by the Order.
So that there's no confusion, this Executive Order only applies to federal contractors and subcontractors who have covered federal contracts. The Order does not apply to private employers, as there still remains no federal prohibition against discrimination in the workplace based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Luckily for Wisconsin residents, the Wisconsin Fa