Will Religious Freedom Order Allow Businesses to Discriminate?

President Trump has just signed an executive order that may allow businesses to discriminate. Called the “Religious Freedom” order, the order makes it okay for business owners to refuse to sell goods and services to people based on their “religious faith.” This controversial measure would allow businesses to discriminate against LGBTQ+ groups, who in the past have been turned away from businesses such as bakeries, florist shops and wedding related vendors when they have tried to plan weddings. Vice President, Mike Pence, signed a similar law when he was governor of Indiana.

Passage of the executive order, however, should not impact workplaces. Federal discrimination laws such as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Americans with Disabilities Amendments Act (ADAAA), protect workers from discrimination. Specifically, Title VII protects against discrimination based on sex, religion, race and national origin. Recently, appellate courts have interpreted sex discrimination to include sexual orientation discrimination.

Hopefully, the new executive order will not send a signal that discrimination may be tolerated if it is ascribed to a “religious belief.” As Georgia discrimination lawyers, we are dedicated to fighting against and protecting workers from discriminatory biases, actions and harassment on the job. For more information, please contact the experienced Atlanta religious discrimination attorneys at Buckley Bala Wilson Mew LLP for an immediate case evaluation.

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