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NBJC Applauds President Obama’s Executive Order to Protect LGBT Workers


Washington, DC—June 16, 2014Today, the White House announced President Obama’s intention to sign an executive order that could protect as many as 16 million workers, or one-fifth of the entire U.S. labor force, by prohibiting all companies who contract with the federal government from discriminating on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation. The signing of this executive order is the single largest expansion of LGBT workplace protections in the nation’s history. Currently, in 29 states a person can be fired from their employment on the basis of their sexual orientation and in 32 states transgender people have no protections from being fired because of their gender identity. 

“I celebrate this moment knowing that millions of LGBT workers will have protections for the first time in history. It is simply unacceptable that LGBT workers in many parts of our nation can still be unfairly refused employment, harassed at work or even fired for just being who they are,” said Sharon Lettman-Hicks, NBJC Executive Director and CEO. “NBJC applauds the Obama Administration for doing the right thing and protecting LGBT workers where they can until we can get an all-inclusive, non-discrimination law to protect LGBT people passed by Congress.”

For LGBT workers of color, the lack of worker protections is even more devastating. As NBJC’s co-authored report, A Broken Bargain For LGBT Workers of Color, states, LGBT workers who live at the intersections of race and both gender identity and sexual orientation face many extra barriers in obtaining a good job.  For example, surveys of Black LGBT people put rates of employment discrimination near 50 percent. 

“Black LGBT people are significantly disadvantaged when they lack protections in the workplace. NBJC will not rest until all qualified American workers have the ability and right to secure a good, quality job to take care of themselves and their families,” added Sharon Lettman-Hicks.

The National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) is a civil rights organization dedicated to the empowerment of Black lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and same gender loving (LGBTQ/SGL) people, including people living with HIV/AIDS.