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Federal executive order may protect against discrimination

In California and around the nation, it's important that businesses do not discriminate against employees. Now, the federal government is taking steps to deter discrimination in the workforce. In fact, President Obama is expected to sign an order that bars discrimination against homosexuals in the workplace.

No matter where you are, the federal ban would affect you. The executive order bars federal contractors from discriminating against people on the basis of their gender identity or sexual orientation. It's been some time since the issue was first pressed by Congress, and the executive order was not meant to be used except for a last resort. However, it would seem that because Congress has not moved fast enough in these issues, the president has taken matters into his own hands like the law allows.

Previously, Obama had stated that 2014 would be a year of action; he has directed his staff to prepare for his signature on an executive order prohibiting federal contractors from discriminating against workers based on their sexual orientation, according to the White House official. Currently, federal contractors and subcontractors are banned from discriminating based on race, color, sex, religion or nation of origin, so this is just one more step toward equality.

This order would affect approximately 20 percent of the U.S. workforce, the gay rights group Human Rights Campaign claims. Federal protections are allegedly necessary because state laws vary, and this protects federal workers no matter where they are located. Typically, the president waits to issue these orders; it's more usual for the president to wait for the issue to make its way through Congress. He has not been, in a number of cases, though, because of the general lack of cooperation and movement in the House and the Senate.

Source: Voice of America, "Obama to Sign Order Barring Federal Workplace Discrimination Against Gays" No author given, Jun. 16, 2014

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