Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro is leading a coalition against the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) proposed rule that undermines civil rights protections for workers.
Under the new policy proposal, the DOL would expand existing exemptions the religious organization exemption but less defined.
AG Shapiro and his fellow attorneys general from more than a dozen states believed that the department’s proposed rule will” invite virtually any employer to self-designate as religious.” It will “open the door for large, for-profit organizations to claim the exemption at the expense of vulnerable employees.”
Additionally, the coalition emphasized that the DOL’s policy proposal will weaken anti-discrimination protections for more than 20 percent of private sector workers employed by federal contractors nationwide.
Furthermore, the coalition argued that the proposed rule will harm the states’ economy, residents and their families. It will also create confusion and unequal playing field for contractors.
The attorneys general of California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New York,
North Carolina, Vermont and Washington, and the District of Columbia are part of the coalition. They requested the Labor Department to withdraw its proposed rule.
Coalition of AGs will fight to protect civil rights
In a statement, AG Shapiro said, “All Pennsylvanians have the right to live and work free from discrimination. This proposed rule makes it easier for employers to discriminate against employees who don’t share their same specific religious beliefs, including members of the LGBTQ community.”
California AG Xavier Becerra commented, “This is 2019, not 1920. No one should fear losing their job because of whom they love. The Trump Administration is paving the way for federal contractors to openly discriminate against the LGBTQ community and anyone else who might not conform to their personal beliefs. Here in California we’re standing up for workers and refuse to roll back the clock on the civil rights of all Americans.”
Meanwhile, New York AG Letitia James, said, “This proposed rule legitimizes discrimination and is an affront to our values. We will not allow this administration to turn back the clock on civil rights without a vigorous fight. They would do well to remember that in America, our diversity is our strength and that hate has no home here.”