Advancing racial equity and support for underserved communities and protecting workers from COVID-19 were among the measures President Joe Biden took following his inauguration Wednesday. The president was expected to sign 17 executive actions that include orders, memorandum, and agency directives during his first day in office. Those that affect the workplace include:
- Defining equity as “the consistent and systematic fair, just, and impartial treatment of all individuals, including individuals who belong to underserved communities, such as Black, Latino, Indigenous and Native American persons, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, and other persons of color; people identifying as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ); people with disabilities; religious minorities, persons who live in rural areas and persons otherwise affected by persistent poverty or inequality.”
- Requiring all federal agencies to review equity within their ranks and deliver an action plan within 200 days to address unequal barriers to an opportunity found within agency policies and programs.
- Revoking former President Donald Trump’s executive order that limited the ability of federal government agencies, contractors, and some grantees from implementing diversity and inclusion training.
- Ensuring that the federal government interprets Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as prohibiting workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. This order will also direct agencies to take all lawful steps to make sure that federal anti-discrimination statutes that cover sex discrimination prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, protecting the rights of LGBTQ persons.
- Studying new methods that federal agencies can use to assess whether proposed policies advance equity.
- Asking Congress to enact legislation that gives permanent status and a path to citizenship to people who came to the U.S. as children and have lived and worked here for many years.
- Launching a “100 Days Masking Challenge” with an executive order that requires masks and physical distancing in all federal buildings, on all federal lands, and by federal employees and contractors as an example to other employers around the nation. Biden will ask the Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to work with state, local, tribal and territorial officials to implement masking, physical distancing, and other CDC public measures to stop the spread of COVID-19.