This bill is currently pending before Congress and could have a detrimental effect on the ability of churches to only hire individuals that agree with their religious beliefs and live their lives accordingly. If passed, ENDA would add “sexual orientation” to the list of characteristics upon which an employer cannot discriminate. This is unlikely to have much direct effect on churches because Title VII allows religious organizations to discriminate on the basis of religion. See Page 12 of our resource, Business With Conviction: Employer Religious Beliefs. But it could affect them indirectly if they have separate ministries such as schools or day care facilities that are not expressly religious and all employees are not required to subscribe to church doctrine. A good summary of the potential implications of ENDA for churches written by Richard Hammar can be accessed here. Well-crafted bylaws and employee handbooks will go a long way toward helping a church defend its ministries against this law, should it pass. Suggestions of what these documents should include can be found in our legal resource, “Job Descriptions & Religious Grounds for Limiting Employment” at speakupmovement.org/church.
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