Published November 1, 2023
On Wednesday, November 1, 2023, EPPC scholar Rachel N. Morrison submitted a public comment on proposed enforcement guidance on harassment in the workplace issued by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
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.”
Morrison wrote, “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.”
The Comment explains, “EEOC makes several claims in the proposed guidance that do not accurately reflect the law. The guidance fails to acknowledge relevant laws protecting employees’ and employers’ free speech and religious exercise.”
Morrison urged the EEOC when finalizing its guidance “to not overstate or misstate the law, drop its gender identity pronoun and bathroom mandates, and explicitly acknowledge legal protections for free speech and religious exercise in the workplace.”
Read EPPC’s Press Release about EPPC’s and other groups’ comments here.
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.