29 CFR § 2.32 - Equal participation of religious organizations.

§ 2.32 Equal participation of religious organizations.

(a) Religious organizations must be eligible, on the same basis as any other organization, to seek DOL support or participate in DOL programs for which they are otherwise eligible. DOL, DOL social service intermediary providers, as well as State and local governments administering DOL support, must not discriminate for or against an organization on the basis of the organization's religious character or affiliation, although this requirement does not preclude DOL, DOL social service providers, or State and local governments administering DOL support from accommodating religion in a manner consistent with the Establishment Clause. In addition, because this rule does not affect existing constitutional requirements, DOL, DOL social service providers (insofar as they may otherwise be subject to any constitutional requirements), and State and local governments administering DOL support must continue to comply with otherwise applicable constitutional principles, including, among others, those articulated in the Establishment, Free Speech, and Free Exercise Clauses of the First Amendment to the Constitution.

(b) A religious organization that is a DOL social service provider retains its independence from Federal, State, and local governments and must be permitted to continue to carry out its mission, including the definition, development, practice, and expression of its religious beliefs, subject to the provisions of § 2.33. Among other things, such a religious organization must be permitted to:

(1) Use its facilities to provide DOL-supported social services without removing or altering religious art, icons, scriptures, or other religious symbols from those facilities; and

(2) Retain its authority over its internal governance, including retaining religious terms in its name, selecting its board members on a religious basis, and including religious references in its mission statements and other governing documents.

(c) A grant document, contract or other agreement, covenant, memorandum of understanding, policy, or regulation that is used by DOL, a State or local government administering DOL support, or a DOL social service intermediary provider must not require only religious organizations to provide assurances that they will not use direct DOL support for explicitly religious activities (including activities that involve overt religious content, such as worship, religious instruction, or proselytization). Any such requirements must apply equally to both religious and other organizations. All organizations, including religious ones, that are DOL social service providers must carry out DOL-supported activities in accordance with all applicable legal and programmatic requirements, including those prohibiting the use of direct DOL support for explicitly religious activities (including activities that involve overt religious content, such as worship, religious instruction, or proselytization). A grant document, contract or other agreement, covenant, memorandum of understanding, policy, or regulation that is used by DOL, a State or local government, or a DOL social service intermediary provider in administering a DOL social service program must not disqualify organizations from receiving DOL support or participating in DOL programs on the grounds that such organizations are motivated or influenced by religious faith to provide social services, have a religious character or affiliation, or lack a religious component.

[69 FR 41891, July 12, 2004, as amended at 81 FR 19421, Apr. 4, 2016]