If I Were Running A Company…Religion Rules

Written by Tracy

A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about if you have to choose between talent or cultural fit. There was a great debate on my Linkedin profile and mostly people want cultural fit, for which I understand. I stated I wanted talent because I would rather have skill and work on the person being an individual coming into a team than someone who knows what’s going on but does not have the ceiling to take it to the next level. My convictions are assured.

Yesterday, The Supreme Court voted, 5-4, that for-profit (or “closely-held”) companies can be exempt from the Affordable Care Act on religious ground. That means companies would not provide contraception for their employees if it does not follow the religions’ guidelines, rules, laws, bylaws, order, etc. The decision is central to women’s reproductive health. Opponents say the decision intrude’s women’s rights and the company can act as a person. People for the ruling will say it’s a victory for religious liberty.

On an HR standpoint, this has huge ramifications. If you want the detail version of how the Supreme Court ruling affects HR, read Heather Bussing and Eric B. Meyer.

I’m looking at this at from a recruiting and employer branding point of view and this could potentially be a mess. In my personal view, if you’re a privately-held company, you can do whatever you want: hire attractive people, hire everyone from your alma mater, hire people who share your same interests, anything is fair game in the private sector/small business arena. Companies don’t have to listen to anyone, but they have to realize their decision has consequences. It is great that you have a point of view, but some (or most) will not side on your opinion. On the Hobby Lobby front, sure, companies now have a unique employer branding strategy, but what about maximizing your outreach? If they want young people, that’s tough since the people are moving away from organized religion. If you want women, you have to find the 2% who used only natural family planning.

The Supreme Court’s ruling on reproductive health has political, religious, and workplace ramifications on the contraceptive front. You probably know my personal feelings, but I will say this as a business person, I don’t care what you do (unless your practices harms others) as your business is your business, but if you put more rules for your company to follow, I’ll take the ones you rejected with open arms. As I’ve said before, cultural fit can be discriminated, but talent does not.



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