Winning an Executive Order from the President banning discrimination against transgender and LGBT people has been a top federal policy priority for NCTE. While we continue to push for this mandatory ban on discrimination across all federal contractors, it’s nice to see another agency making progress on this front.
Last week, The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) issued a policy encouraging its contractors and grant recipients to have policies prohibiting employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, among other categories.
Federal law currently prohibits most federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of certain categories, including race, religion, sex, national origin, age, and disability. With this new announcement, USAID contracts and grants will now include language stating that although it is not mandatory,
“the Agency encourages all organizations performing under USAID contracts, including those performed solely overseas, to apply these same standards of nondiscrimination to other categories, including sexual orientation, gender identity, pregnancy, and any other conduct that does not adversely affect performance.”
This policy represents an impressive step forward. But because it is not mandatory and does not carry the force of law, employees with organizations contracting with USAID have no remedies if the policy is violated. To protect the rights of employees like these, NCTE continues to urge President Obama to issue an executive order prohibiting all federal contractors from discriminating on the bases of sexual orientation and gender identity in employment.