The US Department of Labor issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking Wednesday that would implement a new rule clarifying federal contractors’ right to claim religious exemptions in cases of alleged hiring bias.
The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs’ new rule, titled Implementing Legal Requirements Regarding the Equal Opportunity Clause’s Religious Exemption, would clarify Section 204(c) of Executive Order 11246, which exempts religious organizations from following nondiscriminatory hiring practices. A 2003 amendment to Executive Order 11246 originally excluded religious organizations from the nondiscrimination provisions.
[T]he proposed rule would clarify that religious organizations may make employment decisions consistent with their sincerely held religious tenets and beliefs without fear of sanction by the federal government. The proposal also reaffirms employers’ obligations not to discriminate on the basis of race, sex, or other protected bases and does not exempt or excuse a contractor from complying with any other requirements.
According to the proposal, the only costs associated with the new rule would be 30 minutes of review time by a human resources manager because no other requirements would be implemented.
Comments may be submitted until September 16, 2019.
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