An Equal Opportunity Paradox for Federal Contractors

Federal contractors assume a litany of obligations. Unlike non-contractors, federal contractors must “take affirmative action to ensure that applicants are employed, and that employees are treated during employment, without regard” to their protected characteristics (e.g., race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or national origin). Federal contractors must be especially mindful of abiding by these obligations because the potential consequences for noncompliance go far beyond the usual damages other employers face in discrimination cases. Contractors run the risk of losing a very significant customer—the federal government.

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