Protecting LGBTQ Workers From Discrimination

By: Lyle Matthew Kan on September 6, 2019

At present, there is no nationwide law that protects LGBTQ people from being unfairly fired, not hired, or discriminated against in the workplace. Moreover, twenty-six states lack laws that explicitly protect LGBTQ people from being unfairly fired, not hired, or discriminated against in the workplace. And now, Trump is trying to make it even easier for employers to discriminate against LGBTQ people.

A few weeks ago, the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL’s) Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) proposed a new rule to grant federal contractors a broad religious exemption to the equal opportunity clause. This new rule affects employment practices across the country and threatens a broad swath of Americans. It could easily be used as a smokescreen for discrimination to allow employers with federal contracts to discriminate against LGBTQ people, people seeking reproductive care, women, and other vulnerable groups.

According to the OFCCP’s own estimates, the equal opportunity clause covers approximately one-fifth of all U.S. civilian employees. Removing these protections affects a vast number of Americans and sends a clear message to all employers.

Funders for LGBTQ Issues ardently objects to this new policy proposal from the Trump Administration and is issuing public comments to that end. We will are also encouraging our members and friends in philanthropy to take a stand against this policy proposal by joining us in submitting public comments in opposition. It is imperative that grantmakers come together to protect all people – including LGBTQ people – from discrimination.

Please note that submitting public comments regarding a proposed regulation is not considered lobbying, which is narrowly defined as the attempt to influence specific legislation. Submitting comments on proposed rules – such as these proposed changes to section 204(c) of Executive Order 11246 (also known as the equal opportunity clause) – is a permissible advocacy activity for both public and private foundations to engage in. For more information, please see these guidelines on advocacy and lobbying for foundations from the Council on Foundations.

If you have questions about the proposed changes to section 204(c) of Executive Order 11246 or submitting public comments, please contact Lyle Matthew Kan, Vice President of Research & Communications, at [email protected].

Information on Submitting Public Comments:

Submission Deadline: No later than 11:59pm EST on September 16, 2019.

How to Submit: Submit comments directly via www.regulations.gov. You can submit your comment of any length as a PDF. If you are interested in submitting by mail, click here for details.

Share Your Comment with Funders for LGBTQ Issues: Please email a copy of your submitted comment to Funders for LGBTQ Issues’ Research & Communications Associate Luis Rey Ramirez at [email protected]. Funders for LGBTQ Issues is aiming to track which member foundations submit comments and share the comments on our website.

Tips for Comments:

  • Make at least 30% of your comment different from the template to ensure “uniqueness.” For comments to be officially “counted” by HHS, they have to be different from one another in terms of the language that is used.
  • Clearly state your opposition to the rules change.
  • Include any studies or reports as attachments along with your comment. This ensures that it is part of the public record. A good practice is to upload a single PDF that includes any cited reports, studies, or data.
  • Submit your comment via www.regulations.gov to ensure timely receipt. If you decide to submit your comment by mail, submit early and send by certified mail.

Template for Public Comments on Proposed Changes to Section 204(c) of Executive Order 11246:

 

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