Religious exemption gaining traction

US Supreme Court strikes down birth control mandate in Affordable Care Act and what a religious exemption could mean for Michigan’s workers compensation system.

The Affordable Care Act suffered a major defeat last week. The US Supreme Court ruled that corporations have religious beliefs and cannot be forced to pay for specific types of contraceptives for their employees. We anticipate future challenges to state and federal laws based upon this new legal precedent.

We find the US Supreme Court decision fascinating because of a recent attempt by Michigan lawmakers to create a religious exemption to mandatory workers compensation coverage. The legislation went nowhere but will perhaps find new traction.

House Bill 5371 (2012) provided that “An individual is not an employee subject to this act if he  or she is a member of a religious sect or division that is an adherent of established tenets or teachings by reason of which members are conscientiously opposed to accepting the benefits of any public or private insurance that makes payments in the event of death, disability, old age, or retirement or makes payments toward the cost of, or provides services for, medical bills, including the benefits of any insurance system established by the social security act, 42 USC 301 to 1397mm, and has the practice established for 10 or more years, for members of the sect or division to make reasonable provision for their dependent members.”

Slippery Slope

Workers compensation is a compromise of employer and employee interests. It is a grand bargain designed to protect both parties in the event of a workplace accident. Benefits are paid regardless of fault but are limited in amount and duration.

Corporations should not be allowed to opt-out of mandatory workers compensation coverage based upon religious beliefs. This would take away protections that have been in place since 1912. It would also jeopardize the integrity of the workers compensation system because less employers would be paying into the system.

Michigan Workers Comp Lawyers never charges a fee to evaluate a potential case. Our law firm has represented injured and disabled workers exclusively for more than 35 years. Call (855) 221-2667 for a free consultation today.

Related information:

CNN: Supreme Court rules against Obama in contraception case

Photo courtesy of Creative Commons, by dbking.

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