The rule implements an Executive Order signed by President Barack Obama on July 21.
The order bans workplace discrimination against transgender federal employees by amending a previous order issued by President Bill Clinton banning sexual orientation discrimination within the federal workforce.
In the same order, Obama established new standards for federal contractors prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, which employ 20 percent of the American workforce. In so doing, the order protects 14 million more American workers from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
While 18 states, the District of Columbia and many businesses already offer workplace protections to LGBT workers, July’s executive order was the first federal action to ensure LGBT workplace equality in the private sector.
Article continues below“Americans believe in fairness and opportunity. No one should live in fear of being fired or passed over or discriminated against at work simply because of who they are or who they love,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez, in a statement.
“Laws prohibiting workplace discrimination on the bases of sexual orientation and gender identity are long overdue, and we’re taking a big step forward today to fix that,” said Perez.
The final rule will become effective 120 days after its publication in the Federal Register and will apply to federal contracts entered into or modified on or after that date.