Jennifer Stefanick Barna, Susan Gross Sholinsky, and Frank C. Morris, Jr., attorneys in the Employment, Labor & Workforce Management practice, co-authored an article in Law360, titled “Handling Religious Objections to Abortion-Related Job Duties.” (Read the full version – subscription required.)
Following is an excerpt (see below to download the full version in PDF format):
More than a year ago, on June 24, 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a landmark ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, holding that there is no constitutional right to abortion and overruling 1973's Roe v. Wade and 1992's Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey.
Since that time, employers have had to consider a variety of resulting issues related to human resources, including corporate messaging, travel benefits and abortion-related leave.
Further, a particular concern for health care providers, including retail pharmacy employers, has been the potential for increased employee requests to be exempt from performing abortion-related medical procedures or from being involved in dispensing abortion-related medication.
Adding to this concern, employers must now take another significant Supreme Court decision into consideration. Issued on June 29, Groff v. DeJoy requires employers to demonstrate a substantial cost — that is, more than a de minimis expense — to claim an undue hardship when denying a request for religious accommodations under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.
While employee requests for exemptions in the abortion context are certainly not new — and are not limited to health care providers — it is important to remember that these requests directly implicate a number of federal, state and potentially local laws governing the employer-employee relationship.
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