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OFCCP Proposes New Rule on Implementing Legal Requirements Regarding the EEO Clause’s Religious Exemptions


OFCCP seeks to provide direction for contractors that identify as religious corporations or religious educational organizations.

In the DOL’s spring 2019 regulatory agenda, OFCCP proposed a new rule to address religious exemptions. On August 15, 2019 OFCCP published the proposed rule in the Federal Register to clarify the scope and application of religious exemptions available to government contractors under the E.O. 11246 contractual obligations.

As proposed, the rule will:

• Add definitions for the following four terms: (1) exercise of religion; (2) particular religion; (3) religion; (4) religious corporation, association, education institution, or society; and (5) sincere.

• Clarify that exemption covers “not just churches but employers that are organized for a religious purpose, and engage in exercise of religion consistent with, and in furtherance of, a religious purpose.”

• Allow for a condition of employment, the acceptance of, or adherence to, a religious tenet, along long as the company “does not discriminate based on other protected bases. “

• Inform current and future contractors that the proposed language will allow for the “broadest protection of religious exercise permitted by the Constitution and other laws.”

OFCCP will accept public comments until September 16, 2019. Comments can be submitted using one of the following methods:

• Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments.

• Fax: (202) 693-1304 (for comments of six pages or less).

• Mail: Harvey D. Fort, Acting Director, Division of Policy and Program Development, Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, Room C-3325, 200 Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20210.

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