DOL's Proposed Rule: Discrimination on the Basis of Sex

April 14, 2015

Lynn White

Download this Public Interest Comment (PDF)


The DOL Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) enforces Executive Order 11,246 (Executive Order), a 1965 order that prohibits Federal contractors and subcontractors and federally assisted construction contractors from discriminating on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or national origin and requires them to take affirmative action to prevent discrimination based on these protected categories. The OFCCP uses title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (title VII) principles and case law to guide its enforcement of the Executive Order. The Sex Discrimination Guidelines (Guidelines) found in 41 CFR Part 60-20 outlines the OFCCP’s enforcement principles as they relate to sex discrimination.

In the proposed rule, the OFCCP asserts that since the Guidelines were first issued in 1970, there have been “historic changes to sex discrimination law, in both statutory and case law, and to contractor policies and practices as a result of the nature and extent of women’s participation in the labor force.” As such, the OFCCP issued the proposed rule to “revise the Sex Discrimination Guidelines to align the sex discrimination standards under Executive Order 11246 with developments and interpretations of existing title VII principles and the OFCCP’s corresponding interpretation of the Executive Order.” The proposed rule would eliminate the existing Guidelines and replace them with regulations “with the full force and effect of law.” The proposal would remove outdated provisions in the Guidelines, clarify others, and add new protections that have been established since 1970.