Tonight at the White House LGBT Pride Reception, President Obama announced he would be issuing an executive order to protect transgender federal employees from workplace discrimination. Once issued, it would expand upon an executive order from President Bill Clinton, which banned workplace discrimination among federal employees on the basis of sexual orientation. The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization, called for such an executive order in its Blueprint for Positive Change when President Obama first took office.
Following President Obama’s announcement, Human Rights Campaign (HRC) president Chad Griffin issued the following statement:
“Today President Obama proved yet again why he will be remembered as the most pro-LGBT president in history. Each and every American worker should be judged based on the work they do, and never because of a fundamental aspect of who they are – like their gender identity. And the federal government, like employers across America, is best served by ensuring every qualified individual are able to serve without fear of discrimination. We thank President Obama for announcing this crucial and historic measure, and we look forward to seeing it signed soon.”
Currently, there’s no federal law that explicitly bans workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. And 32 states lack explicit laws banning discrimination based on gender identity, while it’s legal under state law to fire or refuse employment to a person based on sexual orientation in 29 states.
For 12 years, HRC’s Corporate Equality Index has set key standards for equality in America’s workplaces. Corporations of all sizes, regions and industries have risen to the challenge and adopted policies and practices that treat LGBT workers fairly and equally. According to HRC’s research, 91 percent of Fortune 500 companies include sexual orientation in their workplace policies and 61 percent include gender identity. Also, nearly 450 major companies require their suppliers to adhere to their own LGBT-inclusive workplace policies, including more than half of the 100 largest corporations in America. These companies span 37 distinct industries and employ 13.7 million people.
Earlier this month, HRC released new public opinion research that conclusively demonstrates strong public support for federal non-discrimination workplace protections for LGBT workers. A national survey of 1,200 registered voters conducted June 6-10, 2014 by TargetPoint Consulting found that 63 percent of those surveyed favor a federal law that protects gay and transgender people from employment discrimination while only 25 percent oppose it. Enthusiasm for this is especially strong among supporters: 42 percent strongly favor it, while only 16 percent strongly oppose.