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Nov 18, 201311:28 AMForward HR

with Diane Hamilton and Nilesh Patel

Obamacare ruling means corporations can practice religion and deny contraception coverage

(page 2 of 2)

Congress drafted RFRA so that every federal law, past and future, is subject to its requirements. Therefore, it is up to Congress to modify any previous law or draft future laws in a way that they are exempt from RFRA. Congress’ attention to this detail is no longer theoretical given that the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) is currently being considered. ENDA would prohibit employment discrimination against individuals who are, or are perceived to be, gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender.

If Congress does not exempt ENDA from RFRA, religious corporations may be able to raise the same religious objections to ENDA as they did to the contraception mandate. In essence, this could mean that discrimination based on sexual orientation or transgender status may not receive federal protection and individuals in those groups would have to rely on state or local law for protection. In Wisconsin, this would mean that individuals who are gay, lesbian, or bisexual would continue to be protected by the Wisconsin Fair Employment Act while neither state nor federal law would protect transgendered individuals.

The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is another area where religious corporations could raise an RFRA objection. Could an employer deny FMLA leave for an abortion? In fact, could a religious employer terminate employment altogether after learning about the employee’s plans? Could the same employer deny federal FMLA or terminate an employee who is in a same-sex relationship and requests time off for an adoption?

Unless the Supreme Court reverses religious corporations’ rights under RFRA or Congress exempts those laws from RFRA, more litigation may occur to clarify whether such employees’ FMLA rights substantially, and impermissibly, burden the employer’s religion. 

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Nov 19, 2013 02:23 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

The last thing this country needs is the expansion of rights for the non-human at the expense of real people. I hope the Supreme Court knocks this one down but I won't be surprised if it doesn't.

On the other hand the web now gives us more options to be self employed providing we can get health care (and if that doesn't work under Obamacare we can do as some of my friends do- move just across Canada's border and operate in the American economy from there.

May 1, 2014 10:21 am
 Posted by  Anonymous

Non-human? Yes, please move to Canada immediately.

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About This Blog

 Diane Hamilton, PCC, SPHR, is the owner and founder of Calibra, a coaching and consulting firm focused on maximizing leadership potential. Nilesh Patel is the principal attorney of the Mahadev Law Group, LLC, which focuses on human resources and employment law issues for organizations. He can be reached at Both bloggers are members of Wisconsin SHRM, which is dedicated to being the state leader in HR management and the premier source for HR expertise and resources. More information can be found at You can follow the WI SHRM blog at



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