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DOL Broadens Religious Exemptions for Federal Contractors (2)

Dec. 7, 2020, 2:12 PMUpdated: Dec. 7, 2020, 8:30 PM

Religious defenses that federal contractors can raise when hit with a workplace discrimination claim have been expanded in a U.S. Labor Department final rule, sparking more friction between LGBT advocates and religious freedom proponents.

The rule, published on the Labor Department’s website, cements for contractors the same kinds of exemptions that allow churches and other “religion-exercising organizations” to avoid discrimination liability for hiring, firing, or other employment decisions motivated by religious belief.

It also extends the defenses to “closely held” corporations—meaning businesses owned and operated by a small number of people also can rely on the exemptions if they ...