RFRA

News & Analysis as of

Claims to Accommodate Flying Spaghetti Monster-ism Hit the Wall in Nebraska Court

On April 12, 2016, a district court in Nebraska rejected the religious accommodation claims advanced by a member of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.1 In denying the religious accommodation claims, the court was...more

Supreme Court Update: Americold Realty Trust V. Conagra Foods (14-1382), V.L. V. E.L. (15-648), Wearry V. Cain (14-10008) And...

More fun with an even number of Justices! The Court issued two orders today reflecting in different ways on the difficulties of deciding cases with a vacant seat. This morning, the Court released its much anticipated...more

Only days into bill review, Georgia governor vetoes religious liberty bill

Georgia Governor Nathan Deal announced in a capitol press conference Monday that he would exercise his veto power by blocking a religious liberty proposal that drew withering criticism from gay rights activists and major...more

Georgia RFRA Vetoed

At a press conference this morning, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal announced that he will veto HB 757, the “Free Exercise Protection Act” that Georgia’s legislature passed less than two weeks ago....more

Religious Institutions Update: January 2016

Timely Topics - The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued on Dec. 17, 2015, a memorandum instructing its examiners not to conduct employment tax audits of churches without getting in touch with a high-ranking Treasury...more

USPS Sued for Seizing Sacramental Marijuana

Oklevueha Native American Church (Church) was established in 1997 in Utah by Plaintiff James Mooney and his wife Linda, who are each of Native American decent. According to the complaint in Oklevueha Native American Church...more

Georgia Weekly Legislative Update

The Georgia General Assembly closed out the second week of the legislature’s two-year session Friday, busying itself with the governor’s budget recommendations and consideration of a host of controversial religious liberty...more

Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Contraceptive Mandate Cases

As part of its requirement that non-grandfathered group health plans provide benefits for certain preventive care without cost sharing, the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) requires these plans to cover at least one form of...more

Complicit in Sin: the Burden of the Opt-Out Form

Does filling out a form burden religious beliefs? We’re about to find out. On November 6, the Supreme Court agreed to review a group of seven cases (led by No. 14-1418, Zubik v. Burwell) brought by religious non-profit...more

United States Supreme Court Tees Up Sequel to “Hobby Lobby” Decision

As we previously reported, in June 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court confirmed in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby that closely-held corporations with religious owners could “opt out” from the Affordable Care Act’s (“ACA” or “Act”)...more

Bike Lanes, Jedi, Medicine Men, Cowboys and More: This Week’s RLUIPA Round-Up

What is Religious Exercise? remains a prevalent question in religious land use news this week.  Below, find our semi-regular summary of news items involving local government, religion, and land use....more

RLUIPA Round-Up

Below are news items from the past week involving local government, religion, and land use that may be of interest to our readers. - The New York Times reports that the Ten Commandments monument on the Oklahoma Capitol...more

Religious Institutions: September 2015

Respondeat superior (literally, "let the master answer" in Latin) is a doctrine that applies when an employer or principal has the ability and authority to direct and control the pertinent acts of the employee. Put otherwise,...more

Lessons Employers Can Learn from Kentucky Clerk’s Same-Sex Marriage License Dispute

Almost every day the news carries an additional story about Kim Davis, the Rowan County, Kentucky clerk who has defied the Supreme Court by refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The Kim Davis story may be...more

“Opt Out” Accommodation Under Affordable Care Act Validated After Challenge from Religious Objectors

In what continues to be a controversial and developing area of employment law, a federal appellate court recently validated the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) “opt out” provision, finding that requiring nonprofit employers to...more

Colorado Rules Baker Cannot Refuse Service to Same-Sex Couples for Religious Reasons

In a post last week, I discussed how some believe Tennessee’s version of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (“RFRA”) could allow Tennessee businesses to refuse service to same-sex couples despite a recent ruling that...more

Second Circuit holds that the Affordable Care Act does not violate the Religious Freedom Restoration Act

On August 7, 2015, in Catholic Health Care System v. Burwell, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals held that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (“RFRA”) is not violated by certain regulations promulgated under the...more

Same-Sex Marriage and Tennessee Businesses

In its first opportunity to apply Obergefell v. Hodges, the U.S. Supreme Court case holding same-sex marriage is a constitutional right, the Tennessee Court of Appeals recently held the state must recognize same-sex...more

Religious Freedom and the Affordable Care Act

The fascinating interplay that weaves between the First and Fifth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) continues to march...more

Local Court Ruling Takes the Hands off of Hands On: Tensions between Fairness Ordinances and Religious Freedom Restoration Acts

Businesses should keep a close eye on a case that continues to develop in Lexington, Kentucky, as it highlights the current tensions between emerging, evolving antidiscrimination paradigms and rights of free expression and...more

City of Marysville, Washington Defeats RLUIPA, RFRA, and Fair Housing Claims

In Holy Ghost Revival Ministries v. City of Marysville (W.D. Washington), the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington considered claims of religious discrimination brought by Holy Ghost Revival Ministries...more

Lesser Known Exemptions: The "Ministerial" Exception to the FLSA

Last week, in my post about the impact of the various iterations of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) on wage and hour law, we discussed the general rule that the FLSA does not contain blanket exceptions or...more

Indiana’s RFRA Battle Highlights Sexual Orientation Discrimination

The current controversy in Indiana surrounding the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (“RFRA”) highlights the issue of whether an employer may discriminate against an individual due to their sexual orientation. The purpose of...more

The Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) and Wage and Hour Law

Unless you are living under a rock, you are probably aware of the uproar in Indiana about the Religious Freedom Restoration Act that the state passed, triggering an incredible backlash inside and outside the state and a rush...more

Religious Institution - January 2015

Experience over the last couple decades teaches that religious institutions face as much or perhaps more liability than secular organizations and, therefore, need to take risk management seriously. From operating their own...more

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