EPPC Scholar Meets with Federal Officials to Share Concerns with EEOC’s Guidance on Workplace Harassment

Published April 18, 2024


On Thursday, April 18, 2024, EPPC scholar Rachel N. Morrison met with government officials in the Executive Office of the President (EOP) to share concerns with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s guidance on harassment in the workplace, which is expected to be finalized soon. 

The EEOC’s proposed guidance states that workplace harassment protections under federal equal employment laws now extend to “reproductive decisions,” including abortion, and expressions of sexual orientation and gender identity, including “misgendering” individuals and “den[ying] access to a bathroom or other sex-segregated facility consistent with the individual’s gender identity.” 

As Morrison, a former attorney at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, explained,

I support the EEOC’s efforts to prevent and remedy unlawful harassment in the workplace. EEOC’s proposed harassment guidance, however, exceeds the Commission’s authority by covering actions and speech not prohibited by law, raising serious religious freedom and free speech concerns. EEOC intends its guidance to “provide clarity to the public,” and “serve[] as a resource.” Yet its proposed guidance does the opposite of “provide clarity” by overstating the law and ignoring constitutional and statutory free speech and religious exercise protections for employees and employers.

She urged the government officials to ensure that EEOC’s harassment guidance “does not overstate or misstate the law, acknowledges areas where courts have disagreed with the Commission’s position, provides clarity, and explicitly acknowledges legal protections for free speech and religious exercise in the workplace.”

A written version of her comments, submitted to EOP’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, is available here (PDF). 

Rachel N. Morrison is a Fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, where she directs EPPC’s HHS Accountability Project. An attorney, her legal and policy work focuses on religious liberty, health care rights of conscience, the right to life, nondiscrimination, and civil rights.

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