More than 100,000 people have joined Tico Almeida's campaign on Change.org urging President Obama to sign an executive order banning anti-gay discrimination among federal contractors.
Almeida, Founder and President of Freedom to Work, started the petition on to call attention to the millions of workers at U.S. federal contractors who could be fired from their jobs solely because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Estimates from the Williams Institute at UCLA indicate that more than 16 million workers with federal contractors are currently unprotected from anti-gay discrimination in the workplace.
"The strong response to this petition and Freedom to Work's push for an executive order shows that Americans don't want their taxpayer dollars squandered on workplace harassment and anti-LGBT discrimination," said Almeida, whose organization has been working toward an executive order on federal contractors for the past year. "Our government should never subsidize prejudice."
By signing the executive order, President Obama would effectively require all businesses under contract with the U.S. government to protect their employees from harassment and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. The order would give the U.S. Department of Labor enforcement oversight to insure that government contractors have appropriate policies in place. Additionally, under the proposed executive order, workers at federal contractors would be able to seek back-wages and reinstatement if they are fired for their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Almeida recently won another campaign, urging DynCorp International, a defense contractor that does more than $3 billion in business with the U.S. government, to add anti-discrimination policies that protect employees based on perceived or actual sexual orientation or gender identity. More than 55,000 people signed that petition, spurring DynCorp to act. But dozens of other federal contractors do not have workplace anti-harassment policies that protect LGBT employees.
According to Metro Weekly, several sources have claimed that the executive order has received approval by the U.S. Labor Department and the Justice Department, and is now at the White House waiting for the President's signature.