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Policy: Labor

Labor Department bans transgender discrimination in federal contracting

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Beltway Confidential,Opinion,White House,Sean Higgins,Labor,Civil Rights,Gender Issues,LGBT

Labor Department officials have assured transgendered people involved in federal contracting that they, too, are protected by anti-discrimination laws.

On Tuesday, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs issued a directive to "clarify that existing agency guidance on discrimination on the basis of sex under Executive Order 11246, as amended, includes discrimination on the bases of gender identity and transgender status."

The department heralded this in a post on their official blog titled "Strength in Diversity" complete with an image of paint jars arranged to form a rainbow.

"Being entrusted with taxpayer dollars is a privilege, and with that privilege comes a promise to open doors to all of America’s workers. I believe that success for OFCCP and for federal contractors isn't simply about compliance. It's about creating a workplace culture that actively embraces diversity," said OFCCP director Patricia Shiu.

The directive follows up on an executive order President Obama issued last month expanding federal anti-discrimination statutes to the transgendered.

How often is discrimination based on a gender identity an issue in federal contracting? The directive doesn't cite any incidents involving that. Rather, it cites an employment discrimination case, highlighted by Obama last month, involving a person who had been denied a job at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

A spokeswoman for the Labor Department could not immediately cite any incidents where transgender discrimination was ever alleged in federal contracting, but promised to follow-up after they had taken a look at the figures.

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Sean Higgins

Senior Writer
The Washington Examiner

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