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OFCCP Issues Directive Summarizing – But Not Providing Clear Standards – For The Protection of Religious Exercise

On August 10, 2018, OFCCP (Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs) Acting Director Craig Leen issued Directive 2018-03 in an effort to harmonize OFCCP’s standards with “recent developments in the law regarding religion-exercising organizations and individuals."

Directive provides a summary of OFCCP's regulations, Executive Orders and court decisions addressing the standards that apply to religious organizations and claims of discrimination based on religious affiliation, noting the "duty to protect religious exercise – and not to impede it. At the end of the Directive, it instructs OFCCP staff "to take these legal developments into account in all their relevant activities, including when providing compliance assistance, processing complaints, and enforcing the requirements of E.O. 11246."  The Directive states that OFCCP anticipates future rulemaking on this topic.

The new Directive may have been issued by OFCCP to address the concerns of religious organizations that contract with the federal government regarding the expansion of Executive Order 11246 to include sexual orientation and gender identity protections. However, given the absence of clear guidance in the Directive, it is unclear how this politically sensitive issue will be handled by OFCCP staff during compliance reviews. 

© Polsinelli PC, Polsinelli LLP in California


About this Author

Conne Bertram Government Contract Lawyer Polsinelli Law Firm

Connie focuses her practice on whistleblower, trade secrets, government contractors and employee mobility counseling and litigation. She frequently conducts confidential internal investigations involving executive-level employees, including alleged fraud, theft or misuse of company data, trade secrets, sexual harassment and code of conduct violations. She routinely counsels, investigates and litigates restrictive covenant and trade secrets disputes between employers and former employees.

Connie has defended complex whistleblower, trade secrets and restrictive...