SEXUAL ORIENTATION AND GENDER IDENTITY FINAL RULE: WHAT DO CONTRACTORS NEED TO DO?

The final rule for prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity was published December 9, 2014. This rule becomes effective on April 8, 2015. Many contractors are wondering what actions need to be taken to comply with the new requirements. We hope that this blog provides a useful starting point for those actions.

What is changing?

  • Sexual orientation and gender identity will be added to the list of protected groups under EO 11246, which currently ensures that job applicants and employees are treated without regard to their race, color, religion, sex, and national origin.

What actions do contractors need to take to comply with the new rule by April 8, 2015?

  • Replace the words “sex, or national origin” with “sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or national origin” in non-discrimination and equal employment statements.
  • Update the Equal Opportunity Clause to include “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” classifications.
    • Review contract language and flow-down clauses to ensure the additional protections are mentioned where appropriate.
  • Update long equal opportunity tagline used in job solicitations.  If a Federal Contractor uses the long form tagline  or adds in additional classes (e.g., M/F for minority and female), “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” should be included in the list of protected classifications. An example of a long form tagline is:
    • [Contractor] is an Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) employer. It is the policy of the Company to provide equal employment opportunities to all qualified applicants without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, age, protected veteran or disabled status, or genetic information.
  • Re-distribute and post affected policies and notices after updates (i.e., employee handbooks, bulletin board posts).
  • Plan to train managers and selection personnel to ensure applicants and employees are treated without regard to their sexual orientation or gender identity.  Compliance staff may also want to ensure they have communicated with senior leadership about the new protections.

What is not changing?

  • Written affirmative action program requirements (i.e. there is no data collection or placement goals).  At this time, it is NOT required that Federal Contractors solicit self-identification information based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
  • The short equal opportunity tagline used in job solicitations.
    • The minimum requirement for compliance is: “EO Disability/Vet Employer”. “Sexual Orientation” and “Gender Identity” would not need to be added to the short form.

Even though these new Federal protections will not exist until April 8, 2015, there is nothing that forbids companies from having a non-discrimination policy in place before April.

By Kristen Pryor, Associate Consultant, Amanda Shapiro, Senior Consultant and Joanna Colosimo, Senior Consultant, DCI Consulting Group 

 

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