Affirmative Action, 50th Anniversary – Executive Order 11246

LBJ talks with MLK about Affirmative Action 1965
                    LBJ talks with MLK about Affirmative Action 1965

Executive Order 11246, signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson (D) on September 24, 1965, established requirements for non-discriminatory practices in hiring and employment on the part of U.S. government contractors. It “prohibits federal contractors and federally assisted construction contractors and subcontractors, who do over $10,000 in Government business in one year from discriminating in employment decisions on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.” It also requires contractors to “take affirmative action to ensure that applicants are employed, and that employees are treated during employment, without regard to their race, color, religion, sex or national origin.” The phrase affirmative action had appeared previously in Executive Order 10925 in 1961.

The order was a follow-up to Executive Order 10479 signed by President Dwight D. Eisenhower on August 13, 1953 establishing the anti-discrimination Committee on Government Contracts, which itself was based on a similar Executive Order 8802issued by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1941. Eisenhower’s Executive Order has been amended and updated by at least six subsequent Executive Orders. It differed significantly from the requirements of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which only required organizations to document their practices once there was a preliminary finding of wrongdoing. This Executive Order required the businesses it covered to maintain and furnish documentation of hiring and employment practices upon request.

The Executive Order also required contractors with 51 or more employees and contracts of $50,000 or more to implement affirmative action plans to increase the participation of minorities and women in the workplace if a workforce analysis demonstrates their under-representation, meaning that there are fewer minorities and women than would be expected given the numbers of minorities and women qualified to hold the positions available. Federal regulations require affirmative action plans to include an equal opportunity policy statement, an analysis of the current work force, identification of under-represented areas, the establishment of reasonable, flexible goals and timetables for increasing employment opportunities, specific action-oriented programs to address problem areas, support for community action programs, and the establishment of an internal audit and reporting system.

The Order assigned the responsibility for enforcing parts of the non-discrimination in contracts with private industry to the Department of Labor. Detailed regulations for compliance with the Order were not issued until 1969, when the Nixon administration made affirmative action part of its civil rights strategy.

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Equality at Work Turns 50 with Milestone Anniversary of the Signing of Executive Order 11246

September 24th Event Unites Civil Rights and Federal Contractor Communities Honoring Fairness and Equality in the American Workplace

On September 24, 1965, the Nation took a historic step forward when President Lyndon B. Johnson signed Executive Order 11246 (“EO 11246”) requiring federal contractors to ensure equal employment opportunity based on race, color, religion, or national origin. Amended by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1967 to protect women from employment discrimination, and by President Barack H. Obama on July 21, 2014 to protect employees from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, EO 11246 continues to lead America’s success in federal contractors achieving equal employment opportunities in the American workplace.

On September 24, 2015, in commemoration of that historic civil rights milestone, The OFCCP Institute (“The Institute”), a national, Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit employer association, will host a 50th anniversary celebratory event at the Wilson Center in Washington D.C.

Receiving widespread support from the civil rights and federal contractor communities, supporters of the anniversary event include The Memorial Foundation, Builders of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, the National Civil Rights Museum, Northrop Grumman Corporation, Boeing, General Dynamics, Lockheed Martin, and more.

The event is being held in recognition of the struggles of the first 50 years and to celebrate the many accomplishments achieved by federal contractors under EO 11246 and related programs to move the workplace towards greater equality.

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September 24, 2015
6:00 PM to 8:00 PM ET
The 50th Anniversary of Executive Order 11246 – Affirmative Action
The OFCCP Institute, Washington, DC

One comment on “Affirmative Action, 50th Anniversary – Executive Order 11246

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