President Biden Issues Executive Order on Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation Discrimination

On the day of his inauguration — January 20, 2021 — President Biden signed an Executive Order on Preventing and Combating Discrimination on the Basis of Gender identity or Sexual Orientation. This new order establishes that “All persons should receive equal treatment under the law, no matter their gender identity or sexual orientation.”

The order instructs heads of federal government agencies to review all existing orders, regulars, guidance, policies, programs, or other agency actions as necessary to fully implement the prohibition of sex discrimination as set forth in the order. The heads of each agency have 100 days of the order date to develop a plan to implement, revise or rescind any policies that do not conform to the statutes that prohibit sex discrimination consistent with the new order.

President Biden’s executive order seeks to build on the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Bostock v. Clayton County that Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act barring sex discrimination in the workplace also protects LGBTQ+ employees from being fired or disciplined based on their sexual orientation. The ruling was heralded as a landmark for LGBTQ+ rights in the U.S. 

Laws prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity protect employees in 22 states and the District of Columbia, but there has been no federal law that specifically bars such discrimination. While Bostock specifically addressed Title VII, the executive order directs the Supreme Court decision to apply to all federal sex discrimination laws. 

Employers should review their policies to ensure they align with the executive order and apply equitably to all employees regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation.

HBL has experience in all areas of benefits and employment law, offering a comprehensive solution to all your business benefits and HR/employment needs. We help ensure you are in compliance with the complex requirements of ERISA and the IRS code, as well as those laws that impact you and your employees. Together, we reduce your exposure to potential legal or financial penalties. Learn more by calling 678-439-6236.

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Hall Benefits Law, LLC

HBL offers employers comprehensive legal guidance on benefits in mergers and acquisitions, Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs), executive compensation, health and welfare benefits, healthcare reform, and retirement plans. We counsel a wide spectrum of clients including small, mid-sized, and large companies, 401(k) investment advisors, health insurance brokers, accountants, attorneys, and HR consultants, just to name a few. HBL is passionate about advising clients, and we are dedicated to our mission: to provide comprehensive, personalized, and practical ERISA and benefits legal solutions that exceed client expectations.

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