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Gillian Branstetter, Media Relations Manager
August 14, 2019

Department of Labor Proposes New Plan to Let Employers Discriminate Against Transgender People Using Taxpayer Dollars

The Department of Labor has proposed a new plan to allow employers receiving federal contracts to discriminate against LGBTQ workers while claiming their religion forced them to.

The proposed regulation, released on Wednesday, would allow federal contractors to apply for broad exemptions to civil rights law after engaging in discriminatory behavior, including firing or refusing to hire someone because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. It could also lead to federal contractors refusing to hire women or unmarried workers who are pregnant or parents, or even discrimination on the basis of race.

The regulation is another attempt to allow contractors to circumvent a 2014 executive order prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity by any federal contractor. In 2017, President Trump weakened this rule by eliminating reporting standards for contractors.

The rule was announced a day after reports the Department of Justice is demanding the Equal Employment Opportuntiy Commission (EEOC) to reverse their years-long stance that anti-transgender discrimination by any employer is prohibited under federal law. The Justice Department will argue the firing of a transgender woman was legal in a case the Supreme Court will hear on October 8th. 

Mara Keisling, Executive Director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, condemned the new regulation from DOL:

“Religious freedom must be a shield to protect the marginalized, not a sword to attack them. There are few values more sacred to the equality of all in this nation than the belief that nobody should be judged by an employer because of who they are or who they love, yet this administration continually seeks to undermine that value. Whether it’s our right to health care, our right to housing, or our right to equal employment, we are committed to fighting every action this administration takes against us.”
 

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