The President announced his plans for the orders last month, saying it is “upsetting” and “wrong” that Americans could go to work fearing they could be fired for being themselves.
White House officials said the orders Monday will impact 24,000 companies that employ 28 million workers, or about one-fifth of the the U.S. workforce.
Human Rights Campaign, a prominent lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights group, said the changes “will have a very real and immediate impact on the lives of millions of LGBT people across the country.”
The orders will update two separate orders signed by previous presidents.
One, signed in 1965 by president Lyndon Johnson, bars discrimination against federal contractors on the basis of race, religion, gender or nationality. The new order will add sexual orientation and gender identity to the list.
Feature image: Source: Craig Toocheck www.freeimages.com
The other order, introduced by president Richard Nixon in 1969, prohibits discrimination against federal employees based on race, religion, gender, nationality, age or disability.
President Bill Clinton added sexual orientation to that list in 1998, and Obama’s order will further add gender identity.