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Robert O’Hara Quoted in “DOL to Expand Religious Exemption Rule to Include Contractors with a ‘Religious Purpose'”

HR Dive

Robert J. O’Hara, Member of the Firm in the Employment, Labor & Workforce Management practice, in the firm’s New York office, was quoted in HR Dive, in “DOL to Expand Religious Exemption Rule to Include Contractors with a ‘Religious Purpose,’” by Morgan Fecto.

Following is an excerpt:

The U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) proposed an expansion of the religious exemption in Executive Order 11246, which outlines non-discriminatory employment practices for federal government contractors, to include private, for-profit contractors with a “religious purpose.” …

While some view the proposed rule, which is open for comment until Sept. 16, as a blow to LGBTQ+ rights, others view it as a defense of religious beliefs, according to Robert J. O’Hara of Epstein, Becker & Green. He told HR Dive via email that Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. was a case that furthered this idea that “sincerely held religious beliefs are not to be ignored or abrogated.”

He wrote: “The [Supreme Court] has provided guidance on how those rights could be expressed and how they cannot be violated. That does not mean that the right supersedes other rights enshrined in the Constitution or other law, rather it elevates religious rights back to a level playing field (at least that’s one way to look at it).”