Trump leaving LGBTQ nondiscrimination executive order in place signals approval of reasonable mandates for federal contractors

Last night, the White House said that President Trump would leave in place the Obama administration’s executive order that prohibits federal contractors and subcontractors from discriminating against employees on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity in hiring, firing, pay, promotion, and other employment practices.

It goes without saying that not revoking workplace protections for LGBTQ workers is an extraordinarily low bar for supporting LGBTQ workers. A president who truly supported LGBTQ workers would be pushing for broader legislation that prohibits discrimination, like the 2015 Equality Act, which would provide clear, fully-inclusive non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people.

It’s also worth noting that in stating he will not revoke the LGBTQ nondiscrimination executive order, President Trump has made a statement that he approves of reasonable mandates to set practices for federal contractors. The LGBTQ non-discrimination executive order was just one of several executive orders by the previous administration to reduce discrimination, raise wages and benefits, improve worker safety, and increase rights for workers on federal contracts. (This EPI policy memo has a brief description of each of these executive orders.) Given that approximately 25 percent of the U.S. workforce is employed by companies that do business with the federal government, measures that relate to workers employed by federal contractors can have a broad impact on the workforce. The set of federal contractor executive orders from the previous administration was an important step toward creating a fairer economy following nearly four decades in which inequality rose dramatically and most workers saw mostly stagnant wage growth. If Trump truly cares about a fair economy that works for everyone, he will not just preserve all of these executive orders, he will push for a real agenda to strengthen workers’ rights and raise wages.