OFCCP Issues Last Directive Under CERT Principles for OFCCP Policies and Practices

When the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) first adopted the Certainty, Efficiency, Recognition and Transparency (CERT) principles, the agency’s aim was simple: Improve governance and help the federal contracting community better understand their obligations. With the December 15 release of the Certainty Directive — the fourth and final directive under the CERT principles — the OFCCP has established a process to ensure clarity, which commits the agency to ongoing review and clarification of its policies and practices.

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OFCCP Issues Final Rule to Clarify the Application of Executive Order 11246’s Religious Exemption

The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) continued its clarity tour last week, publishing a final rule in the Federal Register regarding Executive Order 11246 and its religious exemption. The final rule explains the types of contractors that qualify for religious exemption and elucidates the latitude of such contractors to make employment-related decisions based on religion. The OFCCP maintains that its goal was to acknowledge case law permitting religious organizations to apply religious belief defenses to claims of alleged unlawful employment discrimination, but opponents believe the final rule impermissibly protects the free exercise of religion above protecting the rights of the LGBTQ community.

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Federal Agencies Issue Contract Clauses Implementing ‘Executive Order on Combating Race and Sex Stereotyping’

President Trump issued the “Executive Order on Combating Race and Sex Stereotyping” on September 22, but no federal regulations have subsequently been released on how to implement the Order. In the absence of such regulations, the DOD and NASA recently issued memorandums to provide instructions on the way to implement the Order in solicitations and contracts.

For the full alert, visit the Faegre Drinker website.

Bostock Six Months Later and Open Questions About Title VII’s Religious Organization Exception

Starkey v. Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Indianapolis has been appealed. We expect the Seventh Circuit will soon have the opportunity, post-Bostock, to weigh in on the intersection of Title VII’s sexual orientation and gender identity protections and its religious organization exception, related to a religious organization’s employment decisions. This could foreshadow future disputes and court rulings in this developing area of the law.

For the full alert, visit the Faegre Drinker website.

UK Government Extends Furlough Scheme

As England experiences a second lockdown, the UK Government has announced an extension of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (also known as the furlough scheme) to protect businesses and employees as the pandemic continues to adversely impact the economy. Additionally, new regulations have come into force in England which oblige employers to ensure their employees are complying with any requirement to self-isolate.

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Pennsylvania and Philadelphia Introduce New Restrictions in Response to Rising COVID-19 Infections

Pennsylvania

On November 17, 2020, Pennsylvania Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine issued two new orders in response to rising levels of COVID-19 in the Commonwealth. These orders (1) place certain restrictions on individuals traveling into Pennsylvania, and (2) provide increased and more detailed requirements related to the use of face coverings in the Commonwealth.

The travel order requires that all travelers entering Pennsylvania from other countries and states, whether a returning resident or a visitor, must have a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours prior to entering the Commonwealth. If the traveler cannot obtain a negative COVID-19 test, he or she must quarantine for 14 days upon his or her arrival in Pennsylvania or until he or she obtains a negative COVID-19 test result, whichever is earlier. The travel order takes effect on November 20, 2020. Importantly, this order does not apply to individuals who are travelling to or from Pennsylvania for work or medical reasons.

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