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OFCCP Issues Religious Exemption Final Rule

The OFCCP published the Implementing Legal Requirements Regarding the Equal Opportunity Clause’s Religious Exemption final rule in the Federal Register. The rule provides clarity on the religious exemption in Executive Order 11246, ensures that religious organizations can participate in federal procurement, and is a deregulatory action under Executive Order 13771.

Key provisions of the final rule include:

  • An amendment of 41 CFR 60-1.3 and clarifies the Executive Order 11246 religious exemption parameters by adding definitions of key terms.
  • Addition of a rule of construction in 41 CFR 60-1.5 to provide the maximum legal protection of religious exercise permitted by the Constitution and laws, including the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
  • Addition of several illustrative examples within the definition of Religious Corporation, association, educational institution, or society to better illustrate which organizations may qualify for the religious exemption.
  • The final rule does not change the equal employment opportunity obligations under Executive Order 11246 for most federal contractors.

Next Steps for Employers

As part of OFCCP’s commitment to providing meaningful compliance assistance, the agency has drafted answers to frequently asked questions to help federal contractors, workers and other stakeholders better understand the final rule. Impacted employers are encouraged to review the FAQs as the final rule is effective on January 8, 2021.

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