Many employers are required by law to adhere to either state or federal employment law governing anti-discrimination in the workplace. Factors determining these requirements include organization size, industry, and location, but the guidelines remain fairly consistent across the board. The U.S. Department of Labor recently announced that Federal Contractors will be prohibited from discriminating against employees on the basis of sexual orientation or gender. This change is to take effect on April 4, 2015.

What is a Federal Contractor? Does this apply to you? A Federal Contractor is defined by the Department of Labor as an organization who has:

  • A Federal contract, subcontract, or federally assisted construction contract
  • Federal contracts or subcontracts combined in total of $10,000 in any 12-month period
  • Serves as a depository of Federal funds, holds government bills of lading, or serves as an issuing and paying agent for U.S. savings bongs and notes in any amount

Such organizations may be subject to some or all of the civil rights requirements and laws enforced by the OFCCP. Such requirements may vary depending on the nature and amount of the contract in question. Keep in mind that organizations meeting one or more of the above qualifications are not the only businesses that may be subject to these regulations. Certain businesses and organizations may be considered a “single entity” if their contracts and business conducted is closely related enough to warrant such a classification. The DOL offers a single entity test to determine if your organization fit this description.

Oregon and Washington are currently among 18 states across the country that have laws in place that prohibit discrimination based on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation. Even if you are not in one of these states, and the laws governing Federal Contractors do not apply to you, we recommend that you be proactive in updating your polices to reflect this new regulation regarding discrimination.