Announcement Comes After a January Lawsuit Challenged the Rule on Behalf of Women, LGBTQ+ Workers

Portland, O.R. — The U.S. Department of Labor on Monday announced a proposal that would rescind a Trump administration rule that dramatically expanded the ability of federal contractors and subcontractors to cite religious objections to justify employment decisions that discriminate against women and members of the LGBTQ+ community, among others. 

Oregon Tradeswomen, Inc., Pride at Work, and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) filed suit over the Trump-era rule on January 21, 2021. The groups are represented by Democracy Forward, the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC), and Albies & Stark, LLC. In February, the Biden administration told a federal court that it “intends to propose rescission of the rule at issue.” In stating its intent to rescind the rule, the Biden administration also requested a 90-day stay of the litigation, which the court granted and has been extended through March 8, 2022. 

In response to the Biden administration’s announcement of its latest proposal to rescind the rule, the groups issued the following joint statement:

“Ensuring that women and LGBTQ+ individuals’ most basic rights in the workplace are protected was the inspiration for and the foundation of our suit to end this unlawful Trump administration rule. We respect religious freedom, but this rule was instead conceived to undermine the freedom of others. We commend the U.S. Department of Labor’s announcement that it will propose to put a stop to a policy that gives federal contractors a green light to blatantly and unlawfully discriminate on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity under the guise of religion. While the Trump administration cemented its legacy as an enabler of discrimination, today is a critical step forward in the continued fight to dismantle its scores of harmful policies.”

Additional background on the suit to challenge the “Religious Exemption Rule” on behalf of Oregon Tradeswomen, Pride at Work, and the American Federation of Teachers can be found here.

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Democracy Forward is a nonprofit legal organization founded in 2017 to litigate challenges to unlawful government action on behalf of organizations, individuals, and municipalities. The organization has taken 650 legal actions and reversed dozens of harmful policies. Democracy Forward is expanding its work, building on its success to confront unlawful threats to democracy and social progress.

Oregon Tradeswomen is a nonprofit organization working to ensure access, opportunity, and equity for women in the skilled construction trades. Our programs, services, and public policy advocacy work to address issues of gender disparity, occupational segregation, and wage inequality.

Pride At Work is the largest national organization that builds power for LGBTQIA+ working people. We organize mutual support between the organized Labor Movement and the LGBTQ Community for social and economic justice. We seek full equality for LGBTQIA+ working people in our workplaces, our unions, and the public square. We organize in the spirit of the union movement’s historic motto, “An Injury to One is An Injury to All.”

The AFT represents 1.7 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.

The National Women’s Law Center fights for gender justice — in the courts, in public policy, and in our society — working across the issues that are central to the lives of women and girls. We use the law in all its forms to change culture and drive solutions to the gender inequity that shapes our society and to break down the barriers that harm all of us — especially those who face multiple forms of discrimination, including women of color, LGBTQ people, and low-income women and families. For more than 45 years, we have been on the leading edge of every major legal and policy victory for women.

Press Contacts

Emily Singer
Democracy Forward
(973)-865-0063
[email protected] 

Mary Ann Naylor
Oregon Tradeswomen
(503) 335-8200 ext. 126
[email protected] 

Jerame Davis
Pride at Work
(202) 637-5014
[email protected]

Andrew Crook
AFT
(607) 280-6603
[email protected] 

Maria Patrick
National Women’s Law Center
(202) 319-3021
[email protected]