Happy Hour News Briefs
Buzzfeed News reports that a new directive issued by the Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs “broadly expanded the rights of businesses with federal contracts to raise a ‘religious exemption’ if they’re accused of discrimination,”
President Donald Trump offered skeptical LGBT Americans an olive branch when he took office in January 2017. The White House promised to safeguard a 2014 executive order that protects workers, announcing former President Obama’s ban on anti-LGBT discrimination by federal contractors “will remain intact.”
But on Aug. 10 of this year, the Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) quietly issued Directive 2018-03, which broadly expanded the rights of businesses with federal contracts to raise a “religious exemption” if they’re accused of discrimination.
Sharon McGowan, a former lawyer in the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, and now the legal director of the LGBT group Lambda Legal, said the new directive attempts to “immunize” federal contractors who discriminate.
“This Administration apparently recognizes — correctly, in our view — that rescinding [Obama’s 2014] executive order outright would cause a huge public outcry,” she told BuzzFeed News. “So instead, this Administration is trying to accomplish the same end through different means.”
“The damage that could be done here cannot be overstated,” added McGowan, who said one-fifth of the federal workforce is employed through contractors.
Fire the ‘mos for Jeebus! It’s totally legal now.