An obscure federal agency has proposed creating a database capturing the names and “personal religious information” of government employees who submit “religious accommodation requests” to be exempted from the Biden administration’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate.
At least seven other federal agencies, including five Cabinet departments, are apparently setting up similar “personal religious information” databases, according to an analyst at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank in the District.
The federal Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency for the District of Columbia, or CSOSA, published a “notice of a new system of records” in the Federal Register on Tuesday.
The agency, which supervises defendants awaiting trial as well as parolees, aims to “reduce recidivism” and “integrate offenders into the community by connecting them with resources and interventions.”
The federal departments of Treasury, the Interior, Housing and Urban Development, Health and Human Services, and Transportation, as well as the General Services Administration and the Securities and Exchange Commission, have each published proposed rule-makings to implement “systems of records” tracking their workers’ religious accommodation requests.
While there is “some data collection that is likely and legally permissible under Title VII, when an individual at a covered agency requests a religious accommodation,” Sarah Parshall Perry, a legal fellow at the Heritage Foundation’s Institute for Constitutional Government, said, “we have not seen it on a broad scale like this ever.”
President Biden’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for federal workers took effect Nov. 22 under an executive order he issued Sept. 9. The executive order said its terms were “subject to such exceptions as required by law.”