Freedom of Religion

News & Analysis as of

Washington State Supreme Court's Decision on Religious Accommodation: What It Means for Employers

Employers in Washington should take note of last week’s decision from the Washington State Supreme Court holding that state law allows a claim for failure to reasonably accommodate an employee’s religious practices. That...more

Developments in Religious Freedom and Employment Law

The First Amendment to the United States Constitution provides that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof . . .”...more

British Columbia’s Supreme Court Considers the Duty to Consult in the Context of an Environmental Review Process

On April 3, 2014 the British Columbia Supreme Court released its decision in Ktunaxa Nation v. British Columbia (Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations), 2014 BCSC 568. The case concerned an application for judicial...more

Employee Fired For Getting Divorce Cannot Raise Claim Against Former Religious Employer

As I noted in my last blog post, the First Amendment does much more than give a person the right to the freedom of speech. For example, the First Amendment contains the Religion Clauses, one of which allows religious...more

Affordable Care Act Update April 7, 2014: High Courts Vet Key Provisions Of The Affordable Care Act Government Extends Enrollment...

March 2014 has produced quite a bit of activity regarding the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act ("ACA"). On March 24, 2014, oral argument was held in the latest challenges to the ACA in Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby...more

Federal Court Says New York City Schools Can Prohibit “Religious Worship” In School Facilities

As reported in the New York Times, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals recently held that a school district could prohibit outside community groups from using school facilities for “religious services” without violating the...more

Religious Institutions Update - April 2014

Does a closely held for-profit corporation have a constitutionally or statutorily protected right to exercise religion under the Free Exercise Clause or the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (RFRA)? The U.S. Supreme...more

Religious Freedom, Contraceptive Services, and The ACA: The Dilemma of the Self-Certification Provision

On February 21, 2014, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, in a 2-to-1 decision, denied a preliminary injunction enjoining the federal government from enforcing the self-certification provisions of the Affordable Care Act...more

44 Law Professors Make A Case Against Corporate Social Responsibility

I was completely nonplussed when I saw this brief filed by 44 law professors in the appeal now pending before the U.S. Supreme Court in Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., Case No. 13-354. I was shocked because the brief...more

Hobby Lobby And Other Constituency Statutes

Is the corporate form incompatible with religious beliefs? California Attorney General Kamala Harris thinks so. In this amicus brief filed in Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., U.S. Supreme Court Docket No. 13-354, she...more

York University, Religious Accommodation, and the Absence of Bright Lines

York University caused much controversy earlier this month by agreeing that a male student was not required to meet with female class members in connection with a group project. While the male student’s reason for the request...more

Indiana Court Finds Employee’s Attempt At Humor Was Not Protected Religious Expression

Ronald Ogle worked as a Community Employment Specialist for the Indiana Department of Workforce Development (IDWD). On November 10, 2012, he forwarded to his coworkers an email that included a picture of a barbeque restaurant...more

Religious Challenges By For-Profit, Secular Employers And The Affordable Care Act

On November 26, 2013, the Supreme Court of the United States agreed to hear challenges to the requirement that employer-provided health insurance include certain contraceptive methods. The Supreme Court will consider two...more

The Supreme Court to Hear Hobby Lobby Case: What does it mean for Title VII?

The Supreme Court announced last week that it will hear two cases in which for-profit businesses are challenging the Affordable Care Act’s (“ACA”) “contraceptive mandate” on freedom of religion grounds. The key issue before...more

Religious Institutions Update: August/September 2013

On August 2, 2013, the White House's Office of Management and Budget issued a memorandum instructing federal agencies to take steps to carry out President Obama's executive order (E.O. 13559 (Nov. 17, 2010)) adopting several...more

Religious Institutions Update - July 2013

Have you ever wondered how the United States Constitution came to incorporate "free exercise of religion" in the First Amendment? James Madison wrote the initial draft of the Bill of Rights. He and other Federalists initially...more

After Many Years, US Supreme Court Again Takes On Legislative Prayer

Cullen D. Seltzer, Esquire, litigator and colleague here at Sands Anderson PC, recently shared his report about a key legislative prayer case going to be decided by the United States Supreme Court. Given the number of...more

Elmbrook School District v. Doe: Will the U.S. Supreme Court Rule on the Constitutionality of Holding Public High School...

During its conference this Friday, April 12, the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to consider Elmbrook School District’s petition for a writ of certiorari seeking reversal of a decision issued last summer by the United States...more

Wiccan Prisoners Might Soon Have Representation

Wicca is a pagan-based religion growing in popularity in Europe and North America. One sign of growth can be measured by the increased number of legal decisions relating to the practices of Wiccans. The most recent of these...more

Whatcott: Canadian Hate Speech Laws Live to Fight Another Day

The Supreme Court of Canada released its much-anticipated decision in Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission v Whatcott today (they are all “much-anticipated” but this decision was on reserve for 16 months, a long time for the...more

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