The Labor Department of the United States has proposed a rule that will allow employers to make employment decisions based on their religious beliefs. The employers that contract with the federal government do not have to fear the sanctions of the federal government while doing making such decisions if this rule comes into enforcement.
However, the Labor Department said in a statement that the rule proposed by it 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.
The American Civil Liberties Union, a non-profit organization said the rule aims to let government contractors fire workers who are LGBTQ, or who are pregnant and unmarried, based on the employers' religious views.
"This rule seeks to undermine our civil rights protections and encourages discrimination in the workplace — and we will work to stop it," the organization stated.
Acting U.S. Secretary of Labor Patrick Pizzella said in a statement, "Today's proposed rule helps to ensure the civil rights of religious employers are protected."
"As people of faith with deeply held religious beliefs are making decisions on whether to participate in federal contracting, they deserve a clear understanding of their obligations and protections under the law," he further added.
Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs Director Craig Leen said, "OFCCP is consistently looking for ways to bring clarity and certainty to federal contractors, and this proposal falls squarely within that effort. The rulemaking process allows the public an opportunity to comment on the proposal and impact any potential final rule."