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Executive Order 11246 – Equal Employment Opportunity

Written by

Tiffany Clark

Reviewed by

VidCruiter Editorial Team

Last Modified

Apr 17, 2024
Executive Order 11246 – Equal Employment Opportunity
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Executive Order 11246 – Equal Employment Opportunity


On September 24, 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the historic Executive Order 11246, which established non-discriminatory practices requirements in employment and hiring by U.S. government contractors, subcontractors, and federally-assisted construction contractors who do more than $10,000 in government business in a year. These employers are prohibited from discriminating in hiring decisions based on the following:


  • Color

  • Race

  • Sex

  • Religion

  • Gender identity

  • Sexual orientation

  • National origin


Executive Order 11246 is enforced by the Secretary of Labor and the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP), an agency under the Department of Labor. This office ensures that federal contractors practice equal opportunity in their processes of recruitment, hiring, and training.


A federal contract is defined as any agreement that exists between any person or organization with an agency or department of the federal government for the purchase, sale, or use of services or goods. 


A federal subcontract is defined as an arrangement or agreement with a federal contract for the furnishing of services or supplies for the use of personal or real property that is necessary for performing work in federal contracts.


Federal contractors and subcontractors must follow these requirements:


  • Allow OFCCP full access to records and books during a compliance evaluation or a complaint investigation.

  • Don’t practice discrimination.

  • Post legally required Equal Employment Opportunity posters.

  • Include the Equal Employment Opportunity tagline in advertising for employment.

  • Keep comprehensive records, including job advertisements and postings, job descriptions, resumes and applications, records of job offers, test performed and test results, personnel files, and written employment procedures and policies.

  • File an annual EEO-1 report.


Under the executive order, employers with contracts of $50,000 or more and 51 or more employees are required to implement affirmative action plans to increase women and minorities in their workforce if an analysis shows that these groups are underrepresented. Under federal regulations, an affirmative action plan must include the following: 


  • An analysis of the current existing workforce

  • An equal opportunity policy statement

  • Identification of areas that are underrepresented

  • The establishment of flexible, reasonable timetables and goals for increasing equal employment opportunities

  • Support for community action programs

  • Specific programs that are action-oriented and address problem areas

  • Established internal reporting and audit system

The executive order further requires that government contractors must take affirmative action so that equal opportunities are provided in every aspect of employment. Under certain circumstances, federal contractors and subcontractors cannot take adverse actions against employees or applicants who ask about, discuss, or share information about their own pay or that of their coworkers. 


Since the law was first signed in 1964, there have been amendments that continue to safeguard the rights of employees hired by federal contractors. This workforce makes up about one-fifth of the entire labor force in the U.S. 



A company needs to hire entry-level workers, and the job requires physical exertion and heavy lifting but not specific technical skills. The company believes that everyone they hire needs a high school diploma. Because of their preference, the company doesn’t consider applicants who didn’t finish high school. 


The requirement of a high school diploma disqualifies many people who are marginalized, including Hispanic candidates. Census data indicates that only 46.9% of the Hispanic population over the age of 18 have a high school diploma, while 94.2% of the white population over 18 have finished high school. Since the hiring company cannot provide a justification for the high school diploma requirement, the company has practiced prohibited discrimination.


Related Terms

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964

is a law that protects people from employment discrimination based on color, race, sex, religion, and national origin.

Equal Opportunity Employment (EOE)

refers to offering employment opportunities to people based on their ability to perform the duties of a job rather than their age, gender, race, or other factors. EOE is the idea that every individual has an equal opportunity to be successful in their career regardless of where they come from, who they are, or what they look like.

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)

is a federal agency responsible for enforcing several federal laws that prohibit discrimination or harassment against job applicants or employees in the U.S.

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967

prohibits age discrimination against people aged 40 and older. The EEOC enforces this law.

Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA)

protects people with disabilities from discrimination in every area of public life, including jobs, schools, and transportation. This protection extends to public and private areas open to the general public. The purpose of the law is to ensure that people with disabilities have equal rights and opportunities.

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