Thanks to an order that went into effect this week, it is now illegal for companies that have contracts within the federal government to fire someone based on their sexual orientation.
The order, signed by President Obama in June of 2014, prohibits workplace discrimination against LGBT individuals employed by federal contractors and the federal government. Obama had been pushing for legislation to address the issue for years, but took executive action last year after Congress did nothing.
Human Rights Campaign president Chad Griffin on Wednesday called the order "historic."
"This will effectively prevent any company that does business with the government from firing an employee based on who they are or who they love," White House senior advisor Valerie Jarrett said.
Labor Secretary Tom Perez said that because federal contractors receive taxpayer money to do government work, they were held to certain standards in terms of their conduct. Therefore, according to Perez, they would be expected to refrain from discrimination against LGBT employees.
"Until today, it was discrimination based on sex, race, color, religion, national origin, disability and status as a protected veteran that was prohibited," Perez said in a Department of Labor blog post. "Now, in the first expansion since 1974, LGBT Americans enjoy these same protections."