DOL to revise Trump rule for religious orgs

The Labor Department office that regulates federal contractors is planning to roll back a Trump-era rule that exempts some religious organizations from anti-discrimination policies.

The rule, which the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) finalized on Dec. 9, allows federal contractors organized around faith-based activities to claim religious exemptions to discriminate against certain groups in hiring decisions.

According to court documents filed in two lawsuits opposing the rule, Biden administration officials in the office are seeking to rescind the rule.

The Labor Department filed motions on Feb. 9 and 10 to stay the suits for 90 days because they're planning to reverse the rule altogether. In both cases, the U.S. district court judges hearing the cases approved the stay motions.

"DOL writes to inform the Court that it intends to propose rescission of the rule at issue in this case in the near future, a process that is expected to take several months, as it will entail notice-and-comment rulemaking," says one of the motions filed in lawsuit coming from over 12 states.

Since the rule's proposal, civil rights groups have opposed it, warning that it could allow discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in particular.

Former OFCCP officials said the goal of the rule was to clarify vague policies and fully include religious organizations in federal contracting. It still would not allow discrimination on the basis of protected statuses, such as sexual orientation, race or disability status, said former OFCCP director Craig Leen at a Federalist Society event last month.

The move to rescind the rule comes weeks into a Biden-Harris administration that's already brought other changes into the office as well. The OFCCP has already implemented the Biden's rollback of a Trump executive order that banned certain types of diversity training among feds, contractors and federal grant recipients.

The office also has a new director, Jenny Yang, a former chair of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission during the Obama administration. In a public letter released on Feb. 11, Yang promised bold action.

"We have a chance to make the kind of transformative change in advancing racial equity that we have not seen since the 1960s," she wrote.

Reader comments

Tue, Mar 16, 2021 Minnesota

This article is so vague and unclear. I want to know what exactly the Trump-era rule says that would be deemed discriminatory. I'm realizing how Federal Soup writers are putting their spin on "news" just like MSM.

Tue, Mar 2, 2021

there should be a division between church and State. If a company wants to do business with the federal government it has to abide by all of the laws of the land not use their religion to avoid the laws that they do not like.

Fri, Feb 26, 2021 J. Glenn Tucker North Carolina

So, does this mean that Yang through the Biden administration is going to change the Bible or tell everyone how they will enterpertate it?

Fri, Feb 26, 2021

So you start as usual, spinning some rules lingo about "may or could affect LGBT community" and end up talking about racial equality since the 60s. As usual, a hypocrisy soup of the fake social narrative farce that you can't keep straight anymore and just spew it even in your sleep

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2021 Digital Almanac

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