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NY AG Letitia James pushes feds to keep tight civil rights rules on contractors

2019-09-17

New York Attorney General Letitia James is joining a push to stop the Trump administration from loosening civil rights regulations on federal contractors.

James wants the White House to roll back a ruling that would allow contractors to discriminate based on their own self-proclaimed religious or moral beliefs.

“We will not allow this administration to turn back the clock on civil rights without a vigorous fight," said James, who is joining top prosecutors in 15 other states and the District of Columbia. "They would do well to remember that in America, our diversity is our strength and that hate has no home here.”

The coalition says the administration should not tinker with longstanding policies that mandates equal employment opportunity in federal government contracting and prohibits federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or national origin.

Current practices already allow religious groups and other charities a narrow exemption to discriminate for example in hiring members of their own faith.

The proposed new Department of Labor policy would dramatically widen that exception to allow even corporations to impose their own litmus tests on employees. They could, for example, refuse to hire LGBT people or those who believe in a woman’s right to choose because of company owners’ beliefs.