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Society of Women Engineers

LGBTQ Employment Policy Caught in the Crosscurrents

Acceptance of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people has led to positive changes in the workplace for the LGBTQ community, but will it continue?

Published On: April 2017

This article is part of SWE Magazine’s Spring 2017 Issue. Download the SWE Magazine app to your smartphone today! Download on the App Store or get it on Google Play.

By Meredith Holmes, SWE Contributor

One option for LGBTQ employees is to file a complaint with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) under Title VII, which prohibits sex discrimination, a strategy that has been available only since July 2015. Several unions and nearly 1,000 U.S. colleges and universities have LGBTQ nondiscrimination policies. Currently, LGBTQ employees of the federal government — the nation’s largest employer — are protected from sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination by the executive order on LGBTQ workplace discrimination, signed in 2014 by President Barack Obama. An executive order has the force of law, but is essentially a policy instruction issued by a president about how the government is to be managed. Presidents may overturn the executive orders of their predecessors.

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