WASHINGTON – Women make up a significant share of the U.S. workforce, but sex discrimination remains an unfortunate reality. To address this issue, the U.S. Department of Labor is publishing new sex discrimination regulations that update – for the first time in over 40 years – the department’s interpretation of Executive Order 11246 to reflect the current state of the law and the reality of a modern and diverse workforce. Updated rules on workplace sex discrimination will mean clarity for federal contractors and subcontractors and equal opportunities for both men and women applying for jobs with, or already working for, these employers.
“We have made progress as a country in opening career opportunities for women that were, for decades, the province of men. Yet, there is more work that lies ahead to eradicate sex discrimination. This is why it is important that we bring these old guidelines from the ‘Mad Men’ era to the modern era, and align them with the realities of today’s workplaces and legal landscape,” said director of the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs Patricia A. Shiu.
“The rule adopted today will mean that long debunked stereotypes will not keep workers from getting a new job or a promotion,” said director of the Women’s Bureau Latifa Lyles. “This is an important reminder that there is no such thing as ‘women’s work’ or ‘men’s work,’ there is only work.”
The final rule updates OFCCP’s sex discrimination regulations to make them consistent with current law. It makes explicit the protections against compensation discrimination; sexually hostile work environments; discrimination based on pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions; and discrimination based on unlawful sex stereotypes, gender identity, and transgender status. The regulations also promote fair pay practices.
The rule implements Executive Order 11246, which prohibits companies with federal contracts and subcontracts from discriminating in employment on the basis of sex.
OFCCP will publish the final rule in an upcoming edition of the Federal Register.
Today’s announcement comes as the White House Council on Women and Girls convenes for the first “United State of Women” Summit. The event serves as a large-scale effort to bring together advocates of gender equality and highlight areas of progress, as well as identify and meet remaining challenges. Experts, advocates, and grassroots and business leaders in both domestic and international arenas will be among those participating.
In addition to Executive Order 11246, OFCCP enforces Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974. These laws, as amended, make it illegal for contractors and subcontractors doing business with the federal government to discriminate in employment because of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability or status as a protected veteran. In addition, contractors and subcontractors are prohibited from discriminating against applicants or employees because they have inquired about, discussed or disclosed their compensation or that of others, subject to certain limitations. For more information, visit http://www.dol.gov/ofccp/.
More information, including a fact sheet and the text of the Final Rule, is available at