After more than 50,000 people signed a popular online petition urging DynCorp International to protect gay employees from harassment, the U.S. defense contractor announced it is adding sexual orientation and gender identity to its workplace nondiscrimination policies.
Tico Almeida, a civil rights attorney and founder of the organization Freedom to Work, started the petition on Change.org after DynCorp announced a $150,000 settlement with a former employee who claimed that despite significant anti-gay harassment on the job, including being called homophobic slurs like "queer" and "faggot" in front of managers, DynCorp officials did not step in to stop the abuse.
"This is a powerful victory that will help make the workplace a little more equal for all current and future LGBT DynCorp employees," said Almeida. "More than 50,000 people sent a loud and clear message to DynCorp that there is no room for anti-gay harassment or discrimination in the workplace."
DynCorp is a leading U.S. defense contractor, employing more than 16,000 people around the globe. DynCorp takes in billions of dollars in U.S. taxpayer money each year, with 96 percent of its annual revenue coming from contracts with the federal government.
Almeida hopes that DynCorp's decision to expand their non-discrimination policies will spur the White House to act on an executive order barring discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity across all U.S. government contractors.
"It's terrific that DynCorp has moved to protect its LGBT employees, but let's also remember that dozens of other government contractors do not protect their workers from anti-LGBT harassment and discrimination," said Almeida.
"An executive order outlawing discrimination at federal contractors on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity is sitting at the White House. President Obama should take this opportunity, in the wake of DynCorp's decision, to make sure that no government contractor uses taxpayer money to fund anti-LGBT harassment or discrimination."
DynCorp's new anti-harassment policy, which includes protections on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, is effective immediately.