U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs

Employment Practices

A faith-based organization receiving funding directly or indirectly does not forfeit its exemption from the Federal prohibition on employment discrimination based on religion that is set forth in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (See, 28 C.F.R. Part 38.1(f) and 38.2(f)). However, the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act, as amended, the Victims of Crime Act, as amended, and the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act, as amended, contain prohibitions against discrimination on the basis of religion in employment.

Despite these nondiscrimination provisions, the Justice Department has concluded that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) is reasonably construed, on a case-by-case basis, to require that its funding agencies permit faith-based organizations applying for funding under the applicable program statutes both to receive DOJ funds and to continue considering religion when hiring staff, even if the statute that authorizes the funding program generally forbids considering religion in employment decisions by grantees.

A faith-based organization is entitled to consider religion when hiring if it certifies that its religious practice would be substantially burdened if it were unable to consider the religion of employee applicants. [Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993, 42 U.S.C. 2000bb]. See more about what a faith-based organization must certify. You may also download a sample of a certification.

Questions may be directed to this Office about the regulation, the application of RFRA to the statutes that prohibit discrimination in employment or the certification process.

Programs that Prohibit Discrimination Based on Religion in Employment

Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) Programs

  • Bullet Proof Partnership Program
  • Byrne Discretionary Grants
  • Byrne Formula Grants
  • Drug Courts
  • Local Law Enforcement Block Grants
  • National White Collar Crime Information Center
  • Project Childsafe
  • Residential Substance Abuse Treatment
  • Regional Information Sharing System
  • Tribal Prison Construction Grants

Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) Programs

  • Criminal Justice Statistics

National Institute of Justice (NIJ) Programs

  • Law Enforcement Family Support
  • Research Evaluation and Demonstration Programs

Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Programs

  • All grant programs, including Offender Reentry

Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) Programs

  • STOP (Services, Training, Officers, and Prosecutors) Violence Against Women Formula Grants to States
  • Grants to State Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Coalitions Program
  • Tribal Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Coalitions Program
  • Grants to Encourage Arrest Policies and Enforcement of Protection Orders
  • Grants to Indian Tribal Governments Program

Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) Programs

  • Discretionary Grants
  • Enforcing Underage Drinking Laws
  • Formula Grants
  • Gangs
  • Juvenile Accountability Incentive Block Grant
  • Local Delinquency Prevention
  • Mentoring
  • Missing and Exploited Children
  • Safe Schools Initiative
  • State Challenge
  • Tribal Youth Program


  • All Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) programs except the Trafficking Victims Protection Act Services
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