President Biden Issues Executive Order to Advance Diversity and Inclusion Across Federal Government

On June 25th, President Biden issued an executive order, and accompanying fact sheet, designed to “advance diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility across the Federal Government” for disadvantaged groups.  

Who does this impact? 

The order takes an expansive view on who has been disadvantaged in hiring in federal agencies. Among these groups are:

  • People of color 
  • Women 
  • First-generation professionals and immigrants 
  • Individuals with disabilities 
  • LGBTQ+ individuals 
  • Americans who live in rural areas 
  • Older Americans who face age discrimination when seeking employment 
  • Parents and caregivers who face employment barriers 
  • People of faith who require religious accommodations at work 
  • Individuals who were formerly incarcerated 
  • Veterans and military spouses 

What actions does the order require?  

The order is sweeping in scope and requires federal agencies overhaul processes and procedures spanning all aspects of employment.   

The order requires:   

  • Within 100 days, each federal agency must identify barriers to employment and develop strategic plans to eliminate them. 
  • The Office of Personnel Management to develop a government-wide, comprehensive plan to address workplace harassment, including sexual harassment. 
  • The Office of Personnel Management to review government-wide regulations surrounding pay and wage standards for public servants to advance pay equity goals. 
  • All agencies to establish recruitment partnerships with  institutions supporting underserved communities, such as Historically Black Colleges and Universities, State vocational rehabilitation agencies, and Tribal Colleges and Universities to build a more diverse pipeline into public service. 
  • All agencies to reduce the government’s reliance on unpaid internships (the order offers no guidance on required levels of reduction). 
  • All agencies to provide equitable access to healthcare and health insurance coverage for LGBTQ+ employees and their dependents, as well as take steps to expand access to gender-neutral facilities inside federal workplaces.  
  • All agencies to expand diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility training throughout the Federal workforce, fostering an understanding of implicit and unconscious bias and knowledge of systemic and institutional racism and bias against underserved communities.  

The Office of Personnel Management and the Office of Management and Budget will lead these initiatives, working closely with the White House and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to carry out individual objectives. 

This Executive Order does not directly affect private sector employers.  However, it provides guidance on the Biden Administration’s priorities.  It also suggests actions that the Department of Labor and other agencies may take to effectuate this administration’s interest in promoting diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility in all workplaces. 

The Executive Order was published in the Federal Register on June 30, 2021. 

DCI will monitor the implementation of the order and report out as agencies hit key milestones.   

By Susanna Vogel, Associate Consultant and Bill Osterndorf, Principal Consultant

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