EEOC Seeks Public Input on Revised Enforcement Guidance on Religious Discrimination

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
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U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)

Document Clarifies Protections for Employers and Employees Under the Law

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) announced today that it is seeking public input on its updated Compliance Manual Section on Religious Discrimination (“Manual”). The updated guidance describes in what ways Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII) protects individuals from religious discrimination in the workplace and sets forth the legal protections available to religious employers.

The draft guidance is available for review at https://beta.regulations.gov/document/EEOC-2020-0007-0001. During a public meeting on November 9, the Commission voted (3-2) to publish its proposed changes to the Manual.

The 30-day input period ends on December 17, 2020. Please provide input in narrative form; do not submit redlined versions of the document. The public is invited to submit its input using www.regulations.gov in letter, email, or memoranda format. Alternatively, hard copies may be mailed to Public Input, EEOC, Executive Officer, 131 M Street, N.E., Washington, D.C. 20507. The input provided will be posted publicly on www.regulations.gov and may show email addresses. Please do not include other personal information that you would not like published.

The current version of the Manual, last updated in 2008, does not reflect recent legal developments and emerging issues. Since 2008, several Supreme Court decisions, as well as the lower courts, have altered the legal landscape. The revisions to the guidance include important updates to the discussion of protections for employees from religious discrimination in the context of reasonable accommodations and harassment. It also expands the discussion of defenses that may be available to religious employers.

After reviewing the public input received, the Commission will consider appropriate revisions to the draft guidance before finalizing it and replacing the 2008 version.

EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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