NWLC Reacts to Dangerous Rule that Allows Federal Contractors to Use Religion to Discriminate Against Workers

(Washington, D.C.) Yesterday the Trump Administration finalized a change to the Department of Labor regulation addressing federal contractors’ nondiscrimination obligations. The new rule allows federal contractors to engage in otherwise unlawful behavior by asserting that behavior is motivated by religious beliefs. The rule is part of a broader effort by the Trump Administration, including a proposed change to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) guidance on religious discrimination, to make it easier to use religion to undermine civil rights laws, including protections for those who seek reproductive health care.

The following is a statement by Emily Martin, Vice President for Education & Workplace Justice at the National Women’s Law Center:

“The Labor Department’s dangerous rule will be seen by many employers who receive taxpayer dollars as a green light to discriminate against working people in the name of religion—and that puts a target on the back of LGBTQ people, women, religious minorities, and the nonreligious, all of whom are just trying to do their jobs. Religious freedom is a core American value that gives each of us the right to believe—or not—as we choose, but in an outrageous breach of that principle, a number of federal agencies, including the Department of Labor and the EEOC, are intentionally twisting federal provisions that were designed to protect workers from religious discrimination and giving employers a license to use religion to discriminate against working people. We will urge the Biden Administration to promptly end this extreme distortion of law and restore the robust civil rights protections that all workers deserve.”