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The Magistrate

(95,240 posts)
Wed Jul 2, 2014, 12:47 PM Jul 2014

Nothing Stops Hobby Lobby From Saying No Portion Of Salary Can Be used For Birth Control....

The employer no more provides the services insured than the employer provides anything an employee purchases with compensation received for working for the employer. The premium paid to the insurer is part of the employee's compensation; something the employee receives in exchange for labor. The matter is analogous to that of the 'employer's contribution' to Social Security: saying the payment under FICA is split between employee and employer is a mere cosmetic fiction, intended to disguise the full weight of the tax on the employee's salary --- the 'employer's contribution' is actually part of the wage paid, it simply is sent in payment of part of the tax on behalf of the employee by the employer. That the employer acts as the agent for the employees in purchasing health insurance for them does not alter this: the insurance is part of what the employee receives for labor, a portion of the compensation paid, and neither purchased by nor provided by the employer. One could, I suppose, have scruples about what one will do as the agent of another, and refuse to do something one is asked to do by another as her or his agent. But in a case where law directs a person acting as another's agent to do a thing, and one has scruples against it, the proper course is to decline the agency. Hobby Lobby, in short, would be free to not include health insurance as part of its compensation for employees, if doing so would require it to do something its owners had scruples over --- they would have to pay a fine, but what is a clear conscience without a price paid? What they do not have any right to do, cannot have any right to do, is require people to abide by their own religious beliefs as a condition of employment, which is what their exemption from a general requirement of law in structuring their compensation to employees amounts to. And if they can require employees to accept a compensation package that does not provide birth control as part of their health insurance, which is in fact stating that no portion of the compensation an employee receives as insurance can be spent on birth control, I fail to see any limiting principle in this decision which would prevent an employer from telling an employee no portion of the compensation you receive from me for your time and labor can be spent on something I personally find immoral. And you may be sure that sooner or later someone with sufficient gumption to try that will emerge, and the case be ram-rodded to the supreme Court....

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Nothing Stops Hobby Lobby From Saying No Portion Of Salary Can Be used For Birth Control.... (Original Post) The Magistrate Jul 2014 OP
There may indeed be fanatics who would wish to impose such a restriction tularetom Jul 2014 #1
The Question, Sir, Is Whether The Door Has Been Opened To Attempt It The Magistrate Jul 2014 #2
The door has definitely been at least cracked a bit tularetom Jul 2014 #3
Yep. Aerows Jul 2014 #14
You are so right, Sir. nt Hekate Jul 2014 #18
With these folks, ANY crack, even the tiniest, WILL be exploited. calimary Jul 2014 #24
True, Ma'am The Magistrate Jul 2014 #25
it can be part of the terms of employment nt geek tragedy Jul 2014 #19
I wonder if an atheist CEO could forbid tithing. jeff47 Jul 2014 #4
You always side with the weak instead of the powerful. BootinUp Jul 2014 #5
In this case Lurker Deluxe Jul 2014 #6
Even In 'Self-Insurance', Sir, The Analysis Remains Unchanged The Magistrate Jul 2014 #8
Why not Hobby Lobby Gift Cards in lieu of wages? leftstreet Jul 2014 #7
You can't eat foam crosses. MohRokTah Jul 2014 #9
Totally false. former9thward Jul 2014 #10
Under This Decision, Sir, The Door Is Certainly Open For Just That The Magistrate Jul 2014 #11
While I think that wouldn't happen without sharp countersuits Aerows Jul 2014 #13
And That Is My Point, Ma'am The Magistrate Jul 2014 #17
So they could dictate how their employees Aerows Jul 2014 #12
If a religious objection Is claimed, Ma'am The Magistrate Jul 2014 #15
The five buttheads that opened the gate on this Aerows Jul 2014 #16
If you receive wages as a debit card, you already are leftstreet Jul 2014 #20
True, Sir --- And Without Even The Fig-Leaf Of Religious Devotion To Usury Being Claimed.... The Magistrate Jul 2014 #21
Well, Magistrate, if offered the position on SCOTUS truedelphi Jul 2014 #22
Thoughtful and timely analysis, sir, as always. mac56 Jul 2014 #23
Thank You, Sir The Magistrate Jul 2014 #29
Excellent point. nt valerief Jul 2014 #26
I said that HockeyMom Jul 2014 #27
I Claim No Particular Originality For The Thought, Ma'am The Magistrate Jul 2014 #28
Exactly. GeorgeGist Jul 2014 #30

tularetom

(23,664 posts)
1. There may indeed be fanatics who would wish to impose such a restriction
Wed Jul 2, 2014, 01:01 PM
Jul 2014

but unless they want to go back to paying their employees in company scrip, there'd be no practical way to enforce it.

The Magistrate

(95,240 posts)
2. The Question, Sir, Is Whether The Door Has Been Opened To Attempt It
Wed Jul 2, 2014, 01:06 PM
Jul 2014

And given the recent push to pay by card, enforcement could be simpler than you might suppose.

tularetom

(23,664 posts)
3. The door has definitely been at least cracked a bit
Wed Jul 2, 2014, 01:18 PM
Jul 2014

If we become a cashless economy, all manner of abuses and restrictions on personal freedoms will become possible. And likely.

 

Aerows

(39,961 posts)
14. Yep.
Wed Jul 2, 2014, 02:18 PM
Jul 2014

I'm not being "hair on fire" as some have suggested with this ruling, just honestly looking at how it opens the door.

calimary

(80,969 posts)
24. With these folks, ANY crack, even the tiniest, WILL be exploited.
Wed Jul 2, 2014, 03:18 PM
Jul 2014

Think termites. Think rats. Think bugs. How do they get in and take over? They find the tiniest opening and go for it. First a teeny weeny opening. Soon enough it's no longer teeny. It's become the Holland Tunnel.

jeff47

(26,549 posts)
4. I wonder if an atheist CEO could forbid tithing.
Wed Jul 2, 2014, 01:21 PM
Jul 2014

Would it not qualify, since the CEO isn't religious, or would it qualify as a religious expense he disagrees with?

BootinUp

(47,033 posts)
5. You always side with the weak instead of the powerful.
Wed Jul 2, 2014, 01:25 PM
Jul 2014


Put another way that this backwards court might understand, I think the decision is giving the corporation the power over how I exercise some of my free speech.

Lurker Deluxe

(1,036 posts)
6. In this case
Wed Jul 2, 2014, 01:45 PM
Jul 2014

In Hobby Lobby's case, being self insured, they do in fact pay for the services insured. Comparing that to SS co payment is not really a good comparison in this case as HL simply does not pay for a service, they provide that service. In my understanding it is also above average coverage.

They are not forcing their employees to do anything, and they are preventing them from doing anything ... they are simply refusing to pay for it. They are also not disqualifying any form of birth control, just the 4. The court ruling has said they could, but there has been no news which has stated they will.

As I have stated before I think the court had an out here that would have made other companies take on more burden to impose these types of restriction. Simply, self insured along with the close control. Making the bar to climb to be able to allow the restriction very high. As it stands I do not agree with the ruling, but it will be some time before this will be challenged and in HL's case they could offer another case to disallow on the grounds of self insured.

The Magistrate

(95,240 posts)
8. Even In 'Self-Insurance', Sir, The Analysis Remains Unchanged
Wed Jul 2, 2014, 01:58 PM
Jul 2014

The employer remains the agent of the employees, and the premiums paid into the pool part of the employees compensation. It is not the employer's money, but the employees money, which the employer administers.

former9thward

(31,888 posts)
10. Totally false.
Wed Jul 2, 2014, 02:02 PM
Jul 2014

Compensation is personal property of the employee. A corporation can't dictate what you do with personal property.

The Magistrate

(95,240 posts)
11. Under This Decision, Sir, The Door Is Certainly Open For Just That
Wed Jul 2, 2014, 02:08 PM
Jul 2014

Health insurance is part of the employee's compensation, and if the employer can control a portion of that expenditure, there is no limiting principle walling off other portions of the compensation paid an employee. There might be some practical barriers to determining how an employee spends other portions of her or his pay, but not really any legal ones, if the employer asserts a religious objection to the employee's expenditure....

 

Aerows

(39,961 posts)
13. While I think that wouldn't happen without sharp countersuits
Wed Jul 2, 2014, 02:16 PM
Jul 2014

It is a troubling "not a precedent".

The Magistrate

(95,240 posts)
17. And That Is My Point, Ma'am
Wed Jul 2, 2014, 02:22 PM
Jul 2014

The argument is easily made on the grounds provided in the decision, and the decision provides no grounds to object.

The Magistrate

(95,240 posts)
15. If a religious objection Is claimed, Ma'am
Wed Jul 2, 2014, 02:18 PM
Jul 2014

It is hard to see any limiting principle in this decision that would prevent it. The decision allows the employer to dictate how a portion of the employee's compensation is spent, if the expenditure is objected to on religious grounds, and if this is allowed for one portion of compensation, how is it not allowed for others?

 

Aerows

(39,961 posts)
16. The five buttheads that opened the gate on this
Wed Jul 2, 2014, 02:21 PM
Jul 2014

should be ashamed of themselves, and no, I will not apologize for calling them buttheads. I probably should apologize to butts, though, they never did anything this fouled up.

leftstreet

(36,095 posts)
20. If you receive wages as a debit card, you already are
Wed Jul 2, 2014, 02:28 PM
Jul 2014

Companies like SprawlMart offer wages in the form of a debit card. The bank fees associated with that are the responsibility of the worker. So workers are essentially being told how they will spend some of their wages.

This is still optional. For now...

 

HockeyMom

(14,337 posts)
27. I said that
Wed Jul 2, 2014, 03:49 PM
Jul 2014

They pay you wages which is indirectly their money. Can they say you cannot spend the money they give you on contraceptives, health care to cover it, or anything else they feel goes against their religion?

Can they even FIRE you for going against their religion in your private life when they are paying for your "immorality" indrectly through wages they give you? Same as Catholic organizations fire teachers for using IVF (not paid for by THEIR insurance), birth control, gay marriage (WHAT their money?), etc. Morality clauses for working for a private for profit employer?

Next?

The Magistrate

(95,240 posts)
28. I Claim No Particular Originality For The Thought, Ma'am
Wed Jul 2, 2014, 04:14 PM
Jul 2014

And I expect we will see instances of the sort you suggest in future....

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