Sean P. Beiter, a partner in Goldberg Segalla’s Labor and Employment Practice Group, provided analysis and commentary for an article in Business First and the Buffalo Law Journal examining the potential impacts on employers of the U.S. Supreme Court’s controversial ruling earlier this summer in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc.
Sean highlighted the shortsightedness of the decision, especially in terms of the lack of foreseeing how the cost of providing these benefits will ultimately be paid by taxpayers. “If you’re willing to take the risk of a potential discrimination lawsuit and use your Hobby Lobby exemption, opting out of the contraception mandate, you shift the cost of the coverage to the taxpayers,” he said. “It creates a dichotomy on an irrational basis that’s just bad public policy.”
Sean also noted it may be prudent for businesses not to take the accommodation because offering inferior benefits to applicants will impede a business’s ability to recruit the best candidates. He added he can see some companies that famously take on religion as part of their brand look to garner the accommodation, but most other organizations will be looking to maximize profit and likely maintain full contraceptive coverage.
“A female who wants contraceptive coverage is probably not going to go to work for Hobby Lobby; they’re going to work for a business that offers better benefits,” he said.