Press Release 11-09-2020

EEOC Votes to Publish Compliance Manual on Religious Discrimination for Public Comment

Document Clarifies Protections for Employers and Employees Under the Law

WASHINGTON – Today, by a vote of 3-2, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) voted to publish a proposed update to its Compliance Manual Section on Religious Discrimination (“Manual”) for public comment.  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 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. 

The proposed update reflects the EEOC Chair Janet Dhillon’s commitment to providing robust compliance assistance to the public by clarifying existing requirements under the law.  The guidance will next be sent to OMB and then posted for public comment.   

“I am heartened by the result of today’s meeting and the opportunity to inform the public about a topic that appears likely to generate a lot of interest in the near future.  As the agency responsible for enforcing Title VII, it is imperative that we stay at the forefront of these issues to ensure compliance with the law,” Chair Janet Dhillon said.

A recording and transcript of the Commission meeting will be posted on www.eeoc.gov at a later date. 

The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov.  Stay connected with the latest EEOC news by subscribing to our email updates.