How to Choose the Best Payroll Service

How to Choose the Best Payroll Service


Looking for a guide to best practices in cost-effective, efficient payroll service options? Many of our clients ask us about payroll services. Our role in leading or supporting human resources includes helping our clients secure the best payroll service tailored to their individual needs.

Because we are not brokers, we don’t play favorites or maintain a financial relationship with any payroll firm. This independence, this objectivity, enables us to screen and get every client the best payroll service at the lowest cost.

Payroll management can be complicated or straightforward, depending on the number of employees and the payroll processes involved. To avoid errors, small and large organizations often turn to payroll service providers for well-planned and effective payroll administration. Selecting the best payroll service is essential. What constitutes “best” for you is based on your organization’s size, payroll processing budget, and how much payroll responsibility you want to maintain. What should you look for?

Services and Price

The best payroll service organizes all employee payment tasks and files employee taxes. When choosing a payroll service, it must perform such necessary HR activities as calculating wages and keeping track of employee work hours, withholding deductions and taxes, printing and delivering checks or direct deposit, and paying employment taxes. A good payroll service’s primary features include: attendance management, overtime management, allowances management, leave management, and report generation. Determine how you are being charged for each service provided and don’t buy more than you need.

Simplicity and Ease of Use

The best payroll service should be simple and easy to access and use. You must have easy access whenever you need it, depending on what management reports and employee information you need. This includes comprehensive employee details and a full history of past and current pay slips. A good payroll service allows you to change employee data easily, manage employee loans, and transfer funds electronically to all major banks and payment services. When you choose a simple and easy-to-use payroll service, all balances and details are displayed in an easy-to-understand and straightforward format, allowing you to budget online and plan staff costs.

Security and Responsibility

When picking a payroll system, look for security features that guard against information tampering. The payroll service provider you select must be credible and a brand recognized for providing quality. Once you choose your payroll service, it is you who decides how much control you want. The best payroll service allows you adequate control and the option to view all information and previous reports. Clarify responsibilities with them so you know what to expect from the payroll service provider and what they require of you, and when.

Flexibility

Payroll service needs are unique for every organization, and the specific tasks vary. The payroll service you choose should generate customized reports and be flexible to your company’s particular needs. The best payroll service should be scalable as your organization grows. It should be able to expand with your organization to ensure you gain the planned benefits. And you need to choose a service compatible with your way of doing things, one that is flexible to automationfor speed and accuracy. If you have multiple organizations, choose a payroll service that functions well with your other companies.

Customer Service

Discuss your specific requirements with the provider to ensure you are on the same page. An excellent payroll service provider understands your objectives and suggests solutions. Be keen to understand the functional and technical aspects of the payroll service agreed on. When choosing a payroll service, select a provider dedicated to the project to ensure ongoing customer support, customization, and upgrades. Establish the after-purchase care you expect, the terms of your maintenance contract, and confirm that the payroll service you choose has an easily accessible help desk.

Training

Training your employees and HR team on the new payroll service is vital to successful implementation. You don’t want everyone reverting to the old ways of doing things. Instead, they should adhere to the new payroll procedures to ensure you get the best out of your new payroll service. That means selecting a service provider with adequate online support and training manuals to ensure that both the HR team and employees can easily access the training materials needed to use the service successfully.

Test Drive

When choosing a payroll service, it is crucial to consider a provider who will let you test the service to determine suitability, so you can be sure you get the precise service you need. Senior management, your HR team, and other critical employees should all perform the service test before you buy. Test driving will determine if your team will be comfortable with the new program. Many payroll services have portals where you can simulate the use of their products. Take advantage of this opportunity.

Concerned about the HR programs at your organization? The benefits of having a trusted partner to guide you and your team to excellence can be invaluable. Contact us today. You—and your employees—will be glad you did.

In His Name HR helps organizations build high-performance human resource programs. E-mail us here.

Mark A. Griffin is President and Founder of In His Name HR LLC. Connect with him on LinkedIn and Twitter.

 

 

 

Join Us in Orlando In HIS Name HR LLC

2021 ABHE Annual Meeting ~ Rosen Plaza Hotel, Orlando, Florida


The Association for Biblical Higher Education (ABHE) Annual Meeting

February 17–19, 2021 | Rosen Plaza Hotel, Orlando, Florida

Oversight of Institutional Payroll and Employee Benefits 

Overview: Regardless of the exigencies of the pandemic or other crises, all employees expect payroll and other vital employee benefits to happen on schedule and without mistakes. This makes oversight of payroll and employee benefits a top priority of smart CFO’s. How do distinguished CFO’s effectively manage both payroll and employee benefits? What are systems and best practices to consider? What are reasonable benefits to provide? Walk through the labyrinth of related issues with an expert in HR policies and practices, including:

  • Knowing best practices for cost effective and efficient payroll services
  • Reviewing the pros and cons of various employee benefit packages
  • Managing an effective employee benefits system

Basic Principles of Conflict Resolution & HR Effectiveness 

Overview: Perhaps it’s inevitable. Where there are people, there will be differences of opinion that can lead to conflict. Blessed are the peacemakers! The CAO carries a unique weight for HR effectiveness as typically the leader of the largest group of institutional staff. Explore key principles for effective HR leadership and conflict resolution that are vital when conflicts arise, including:

  • Unpacking the nature of personnel conflicts and administrative response
  • Understanding the principles of conflict resolution
  • Initiating exemplary practices for HR effectiveness and conflict prevention

Prudent Response to a Title IX Investigation 

Overview: A growing list of institutions are reporting their hazardous journey through a US federal Title IX investigation. What are we learning about this audit and investigation process? How do smart institutions prepare for this most unfortunate circumstance? Consider the wise counsel from an ABHE partner and HR expert to give you as president much better insight into both the nature of this investigation and practical steps to prepare, including:

  • News from the emerging stories of Title IX investigation – the good, bad and ugly
  • Understanding the focus and the likely outcomes of an investigation
  • Prudent counsel for practical preparations that can make a big difference

In HIS Name HR, in conjunction with ABHE, is excited to announce the 2021 Annual Meeting presentation topics.

Learn More Here 

Visit us- Booth 119 – ABHE Annual Meeting!

About The Speaker

Mark is an accomplished HR expert with a fresh perspective. He believes in challenging people to think differently when presented with obstacles in any situation. His passions are inspiring, motivating, and helping others. Peers describe Mark as creative, proactive, determined, and eager to learn. Just a few of Mark’s professional skills include organizing, presenting, and problem solving.

Mark received his Bachelor of Science degree in Human Resources Administration from Saint Leo University. He earned his MBA from Bloomsburg University while interning for Congressmen Kanjorski as a military liaison during the first Gulf War. Mark has completed several executive education programs at the University of Michigan.

Prior to leading In HIS Name HR, Mark worked for Quaker Oats Company, Kodak Inc., and Merck Inc., and private companies Woolrich, Conestoga Wood Specialties, and Valco Companies Inc.

In addition to helping people professionally, Mark also believes in helping people personally through volunteer work. Mark has coached leaders on “Business as a Mission,” traveling to Eastern Europe, India, Haiti, Honduras, Nicaragua, and the Dominican Republic.

 

Integrate-After the Mission Vision and Values


Integrate-After the Mission Vision and Values …

 Most leaders, after they finalize the recreation of their Mission Vision and Values (MVV) for their organizations, do what comes naturally — they share it with everyone. If that sounds like you, then it goes out on your website, and it gets printed poster-sized and hung on the walls of your conference rooms and lobby. You mention it consistently for about three months … and then it dies.

It dies because it is not an  intrinsic part of the way you do business.

It is not ingrained into the soul of your company. 

How do you make your Mission Vision and Values a part of the way in which you do business? You integrate it into the practices that are always connected to the people that make it happen — you integrate it into the people who are applying your HR practices. HR practices are practices that touch all employees.

What are some examples of HR practices?

  • Employee Relations
  • Recruitment Management
  • Workforce Planning
  • On Boarding Management
  • Training Management
  • Performance Management
  • Compensation & Benefits
  • Attendance and Leave Management
  • Compensation and Benefits Management
  • Employee Development Skill Management
  • Health & Safety
  • Employee Activities
  • Employment Policy Management

You could probably laundry-list 40-plus practices, but, for the sake of explanation, we are going to provide guidance on six key practices that you can integrate with your MVV quite easily. These six are your:

  1. Handbook
  2. Recruitment Process
  3. Performance Review Process
  4. Job Descriptions
  5. Communication Process
  6. Training and Development

Over the next few weeks, I will walk us through the integration of the MVV into each one of these practices. What has your experience been when integrating these concepts into your company’s practices? Share with us below. We would appreciate hearing your thoughts and stories.

$305,000 in Employer Fines Upheld for I-9 Violations In HIS Name HR

$305,000 in Employer Fines Upheld for I-9 Violations


$305,000 in Employer Fines Upheld for I-9 Violations

Human resources can be complicated these days. Few would argue with that. But sometimes it’s the most basic human resources processes that can cause the greatest damage to any organization when not done right. And that disaster can be compounded if you lack a skilled professional to provide oversight.

When I say any organization, that includes any college, university, church, ministry, hospital, nonprofit or for-profit company, and even youth camps. Small organizations are not immune. No matter what size or kind of organization you are, if you employ staff, you must be diligent in following state and federal employment laws.

Recently, DLS Precision Fab, an LLC in Phoenix, Arizona, assumed they had made the right decision in hiring what appeared to be a seasoned HR professional. Much to their chagrin, despite his credentials, the human resources professional they hired proved inept and derelict in his duties when it came to maintaining the administration of the firm’s I-9s.

What is an I-9, you ask? Well, if you employ people and don’t know what an I-9 is, that’s a huge red flag, right there! Here is the definition as provided by ICE, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement:

Form I-9 is used for verifying the identity and employment authorization of individuals hired for employment in the United States. All U.S. employers must ensure proper completion of Form I-9 for each individual they hire for employment in the United States. This includes citizens and noncitizens. Both employees and employers (or authorized representatives of the employer) must complete the form. (Source)

We, as an established HR firm, are continually astonished that organizations think that because they are a school, church, camp, or nonprofit, the I-9 is not a requirement. The law clearly states: “All employers must complete and retain Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, for every person they hire for employment on or after Nov. 6, 1986, in the U.S., as long as the person works for pay or other type of payment.”

All employers must have I-9s for every employee, regardless of the employer type or size!

Back to the case concerning DLS in Arizona, they were in a growth mode and had conscientiously made an effort to comply with state and federal employment laws by hiring an HR professional to handle compliance. Unfortunately, as the appeal by DLS states, the HR professional failed in his duties:

DLS is a company located in Phoenix, Arizona, providing custom sheet metal fabrication in a variety of industries. In the late 2000s, DLS grew to about 200 employees because of the expansion of a Department of Defense program. To deal with the sudden growth of its workforce and ensure its compliance with applicable state and federal employment laws, DLS hired a well-credentialed human resources director (the “HR director”). Unbeknownst to the company, however, this individual shirked his responsibility to ensure the company’s compliance with the INA to the point, as later described by DLS, “of literally stuffing the government’s correspondence in a drawer and never responding.”

Their legal problems started in 2009, when ICE served DLS with a notice of inspection and an administrative subpoena. After the onsite visit and a thorough review of their I-9 forms, DLS was served a notice of suspect documents. In October 2012, ICE served a notice of intent to fine.

DLS quickly responded by requesting a hearing before an administrative law judge, and ICE countered by filing a six-count complaint alleging that the employer failed to comply with employment verification requirements and continued to employ 15 individuals despite knowing they were ineligible for employment, all in violation of the Immigration Nationality Act.

Now, in 2017, in an attempt to reverse the violations, DLS Precision Fab appealed—and promptly lost. Richard Clifton, assigned to the case through the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals found DLS Precision Fab liable for 504 of the 508 alleged violations, 489 of which were I-9 paperwork violations and 15 of which involved DLS Precision Fab’s ongoing employment of ineligible aliens. As a result of the actions of the so-called HR professional, DLS Precision Fab was ordered to pay civil money penalties totaling more than $305,000.

Understandably, this has landed the company in dire straights, and it is now is in the midst of Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings. While we can’t be sure that these violations are solely responsible for the bankruptcy filing, it certainly hasn’t helped, adding to their already stressed organizational longevity.

Perhaps, like DLS, you assume your HR staff are competent and on top of complying with all your legal requirements. But are you sure?

The first thing you should you do is have all of your HR processes independently audited by a human resources processional, one with the right experience. We can help. Our HR Assessment, conducted by our skilled team of HR professionals will determine whether you’re protected or at great risk. We help clients across the country. Don’t hesitate—it could be costly.

Contact us today to find out more, and learn about our HR Assessment here.

 

_______________

In His Name HR helps organizations build high performance Human Resources programs. Visit them at In HIS Name HR or e-mail them here.

Mark A. Griffin is the founder and chief consultant of In His Name HR LLC. Connect with him on LinkedIn or Twitter.

Give Your Employees a Hope and a Future

Give Your Employees a Hope and a Future


Jeremiah 29:11(NIV)  11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you,  plans to give you hope and a future.”

I believe that, in today’s tumultuous times, we must remain diligent in our obligations as Christian leaders.  Now, more than ever, Christian leaders must acknowledge that employees want, need and crave an environment in which they can be not only productive but trust that their leadership is attempting to provide them and their family stability, a “hope and a future.”

We must remain diligent in our obligations as Christian leaders.

So what about you? What are you doing to demonstrate to your employees that you are setting the foundation for tomorrow’s growth?  Are you giving them hope and a future?  If you do this, if you honor your employees by properly managing your organization and lighting a path to their future, you will be creating a “Kingdom Minded” organization.”

What have you witnessed in your workplace that has created a culture of creativity, inclusiveness and productivity?  Please share your thoughts and help our community learn from your experiences.

Why Outsourcing Title IX Investigations is Best

Why Outsourcing Title IX Investigations is Best


Does your college or university receive federal funding? If so, you need to be aware of Title IX regulations—failure to comply can result in a loss of your funding.

What exactly is Title IX? Title IX is a statute included in the Education Amendments of 1972 to protect students against sex discrimination. It requires that all schools publish and distribute a policy preventing sex discrimination.

Title IX has strict requirements for the handling of any reports of gender-based incidents on campus, including:

  • assault
  • harassment
  • sexual assault
  • sexual discrimination
  • stalking

Title IX requires that every school appoint a Title IX coordinator to handle compliance with the regulations, oversee the Title IX process, and work with law enforcement in the event of an incident. Title IX coordinators are not allowed to conduct investigations, however, or make any final decisions regarding the outcome of any such events.

Their responsibilities may consist of:

  • Acting as the official contact for Title IX communication.
  • Monitoring incidents and investigations to prevent systemic issues.
  • Keeping an eye on enrollment to identify disproportionate demographics.
  • Participation in drafting and implementing school policies.
  • Ensuring compliance with the school’s discrimination policy.
  • Drafting and distributing any Notice of Discrimination.
  • Setting up and distributing clear reporting tools for Title IX incidents.

All schools must post their Title IX coordinator’s information on their website and communicate this information to students, staff, parents, and all unions.

Title IX investigation process requirements

A Title IX investigation process must allow for prompt and systematic investigations and ensure respect for the rights of all parties involved. Title IX issues can be sensitive, which means neutrality and discretion are paramount.

Given the sensitivity required throughout the process, many institutions understandably prefer to hire a third party to assist in the investigation. Outsourcing investigations also removes any potential conflict of interest and negates concerns around bias. And it insulates victims from the discomfort or awkwardness of seeing their investigator regularly around campus once the case is over.

Often, a third-party investigator works with an internal investigator.

What a Title IX investigation looks like

Title IX investigations can be informal, using mediation to resolve issues between parties. But while informality can save time and resources, it is often deemed inappropriate, given the severe nature of many sex discrimination cases.

Formal investigations follow stringent requirements, which involve distinct phases:

  • All parties are informed of the investigation.
  • Investigators conduct interviews and collect the facts.
  • All information is carefully documented and analyzed.
  • A decision is made about whether an offense was committed.
  • Investigators provide a formal report.
  • All parties are informed of the outcome or the decision made.

Investigations must be systematic and can be time quite time consuming.

Complainants and Respondents: Rights to consider

In conducting investigations, it’s essential to respect the rights of all parties, which exist to provide a fair and unbiased outcome. Title IX coordinators must be well versed in what these rights are and ensure that they are respected.

During an investigation, all parties have the right to:

  • a prompt, unbiased investigation;
  • ask questions and receive information;
  • bring an advisor to all meetings;
  • take an equal part in the process;
  • file a complaint with campus or local law enforcement; and
  • receive access to relevant support services.

Failure to respect and act by these rights can result in legal action against the school.

Why outsourcing is best

There are many reasons to outsource your Title IX investigations. Most schools understand the need for compliance in the face of the withdrawal of funding. Yet, there’s also the risk of a personal lawsuit—indeed, such lawsuits have grown in recent years. Weighing on these factors is the potential for negative publicity. It also can cause morale issues internally if the investigators are deemed to be too close in relationship with the accused.

It’s no wonder so many schools take advantage of independent investigators. External investigators bring with them a wealth of knowledge about Title IX law. They also understand the need to protect student rights, as well as the integrity of the school. With an external investigator, you mitigate any claims of bias or retribution.

Outsourcing communicates a commitment to fairness. It opens the door to an independent and impartial investigation. It eliminates the doubts often expressed with internal investigations.

It also reduces any risk that the student may feel unsupported or that their future may be at risk. In short, hiring a neutral third party instills faith and trust. It shows the world that your institution stands for its staff and students, without compromise.

In HIS Name HR: The Title IX investigative experts

At In HIS Name HR, we have the experts to support educational organizations across the nation. Our experienced and knowledgeable staff provides support that can make all the difference.

What can you expect from an In His Name HR investigation?

  • Professional investigators experienced in policy analysis, conducting interviews, research, and investigation techniques.
  • Objectivity, fairness, and absolute integrity.
  • Expertise to help you provide a safe campus for everyone.
  • Advice on how to resolve issues, including compliance with evolving law and regulations.
  • Options for approaching complainants and respondents to create access and education.

At In HIS Name HR, we build reliable and robust HR programs.

Let us help you with your Title IX investigations. Check out our Services page for more information.

2020 ABHE Financial Officers Conference ~ Orlando, Florida and Virtual

2020 ABHE Financial Officers Conference ~ Orlando, Florida and Virtual


Join us in Orlando Florida

The Association for Biblical Higher Education (ABHE)

Financial Officers Conference

On-Site and Virtual Options Available

November 5-6, 2020 

Strong institutions are served by astute financial leaders who both accurately manage the financial operations of the organization and provide keen foresight for the financial planning of institutional leaders. Drill one level down and you are quickly immersed into the complex details of effective budgeting and reporting, financial ratios and key performance indicators, governance compliance, auditing standards, HR policy, risk assessment/ management, and the list continues. Embark on this journey of excellence in financial leadership and take your service to your institution and the cause of Christ to a new level.

Employee Relations & Regulations During Crisis

Presenter: Mark Griffin, CEO – In His Name, HR

Overview: For the HR issues of many ABHE institutions, the buck stops at the CFO’s desk. During a crisis, this demands a new level of employee care and understanding. What are the options, implications and regulations for employees? How can an institution best adjust the payroll part of their budget while honoring their staff? Consider:

  • Reviewing the range for employee relations termination, furlough, etc. options
  • Understanding the impact of communications and process respect & honor
  • Knowing the risks and rewards of government payroll assistance opportunities
  • Planning well and minimizing surprises thinking ahead

 

Register Here 

About The Speaker

Mark is an accomplished HR expert with a fresh perspective. He believes in challenging people to think differently when presented with obstacles in any situation. His passions are inspiring, motivating, and helping others. Peers describe Mark as creative, proactive, determined, and eager to learn. Just a few of Mark’s professional skills include organizing, presenting, and problem solving.

Mr. Griffin received his Bachelor of Science degree in Human Resources Administration from Saint Leo University. He earned his MBA from Bloomsburg University while interning for Congressmen Kanjorski as a military liaison during the first Gulf War. Mark has completed several executive education programs at the University of Michigan.

Prior to leading In HIS Name HR, Mark worked for Quaker Oats Company, Kodak Inc., and Merck Inc., and private companies Woolrich, Conestoga Wood Specialties, and Valco Companies Inc.

In addition to helping people professionally, Mark also believes in helping people personally through volunteer work. Mark has coached leaders on “Business as a Mission,” traveling to Eastern Europe, India, Haiti, Honduras, Nicaragua, and the Dominican Republic.

 

Defending Biblical Principles Resources For Action

Resources For Action


Often we are asked how best to support family values and protect our freedom as Christians when doing business. The same extends to churches, Christian colleges, ministries and camps. The following organizations do just that.

Find an organization that operates in your state and support them. Connect with the leadership; attend functions in person and virtually. Help them get the word out to the community about what they are doing to promote Christian values within your state.

We can all make a difference—but we must be active to do so.

National Focus on the Family

National Alliance Defending Freedom

AL – Alabama Policy Institute

AK – Alaska Family Council

AZ – Center for Arizona Policy

AR – Arkansas Family Council

CA – California Family Council

CO – Colorado Family Action Foundation

CT – Family Institute of Connecticut

DE – Delaware Family Policy Council

FL – Florida Family Policy Council

HI – Hawaii Family Forum

IN – Indiana Family Institute

IA – The Family Leader of Iowa

KY – The Family Foundation of Kentucky

LA – Louisiana Family Forum

ME – Christian Civic League of Maine

MA – Massachusetts Family Institute

MI – Michigan Family Forum

MN – Minnesota Family Institute

MT – Montana Family Foundation

NE – Nebraska Family Alliance

NH – Cornerstone Action

NY – New Yorkers Family Research Foundation

NC – North Carolina Family Policy Council

OH – Citizens for Community Values

OK – Family Policy Institute of Oklahoma

PA – Pennsylvania Family Institute

SC – Palmetto Family Council of South Carolina

SD – Family Heritage Alliance

TN – Family Action Council of Tennessee

TX – Texas Values

VA – The Family Foundation of Virginia

WA – Family Policy Institute of Washington

WV – Family Policy Council of West Virginia

WI – Wisconsin Family Council, Inc.

Worried about your HR programs at your organization? Reach out to us to discuss having a trusted partner to guide you and your team to excellence.

Contact us today. You—and your employees—will be glad you did.

In His Name HR helps organizations build high-performance human resource programs. Visit them at In HIS Name HR or e-mail them here.

Mark A. Griffin is the founder and chief consultant of In His Name HR LLC. Connect with him on LinkedIn and Twitter.

 

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Supreme Court Upholds Workplace LGBTQ Protections

What Should Churches, Christian Colleges & Camps Do About the LGBTQ Ruling?


Supreme Court Upholds Workplace LGBTQ Protections

In case you haven’t already heard, the Supreme Court recently ruled, on the basis of Title VII, that discrimination against LGBTQ workers is prohibited.

According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, “Title VII prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex and national origin.”

Some states, like California and New York, already had this ruling in place. However, the Supreme Court passed this ruling for all states.

You may wonder…

  1. How does this affect your church or nonprofit organization?
  2. What about religious colleges and camps?
  3. Are non-ministerial positions affected?

These are valid questions. What we know right now:

  1. Ministers and clergy are exempt from discrimination disputes that include sexual orientation or transgender issues.
  2. Religious employers, including colleges and camps, are also exempt. (However, this might change if the Supreme Court overturns the exemption.)
  3. Religious organizations are exempt, which includes non-ministerial positions.

4 Steps You Can Take to Preserve Your Protections

Although religious employers and organizations are exempt, there are four steps you should take to protect yourself from liability, should they arise.

1.   Document Religious Beliefs

Document your religious beliefs regarding human sexuality and marriage in your statement of faith, bylaws, employee handbook, and staff lifestyle/covenant agreements.

Make sure your employees sign these agreements. Discuss these documents with your staff yearly to ensure everyone is on the same page.

When your beliefs are listed, in writing (specifically on human sexuality and marriage), it can be used as documentation to affirm your exemption, if needed.

2.   Update Job Descriptions

Create job descriptions that detail the functions of each position in a religious establishment.

Think about how this position (even if it’s non-ministerial) plays a crucial role in the religious function of your organization.

To be safe, include spiritual requirements or your statement of faith in the posting of the description.

3.   Be Clear Throughout the Hiring Process

Remain consistent through the hiring process. Be clear about the requirement that candidates align with your statement of faith.

Only accept applications where applicants share the same religious beliefs.

Continue to communicate your religious beliefs throughout the process of the hiring and onboarding process.

4.   Consult a Legal Professional

If you’re unsure or just want to ensure all the i’s are dotted and the t’s crossed, consult a legal professional to assess any potential risks.

There are some great law firms that deal specifically with nonprofits and religious organizations. What we provide here does not constitute legal advice. Please read this disclaimer if you have any questions regarding the information here.

Two Recent Rulings That Support Religious Organizations

  1. Our Lady of Guadalupe School v. Morrissey-Berru
  2. James School v. Biel.

Highlights

In both cases, two teachers at Catholic schools were not offered contract renewals. Both teachers filed discrimination claims in federal district court against their former employers. The court ruled that both schools were protected religious organizations, exempt from anti-discrimination employment laws.

Both teachers appealed to federal circuit court, which reversed the district court’s ruling in one case and denied petition for rehearing, and for rehearing en banc, in the second case.

The Issue at Hand:

Whether the First Amendment’s religion clauses prevent civil courts from adjudicating employment-discrimination claims brought by an employee against their religious employer when the employee carries out important religious functions.

Status

Important news for religious organizations. On July 8, 2020 (during the time of the writing of this post!), the U.S. Supreme Court consolidated both cases and, In Our Lady of Guadalupe School v. Morrissey-Berru, the justices held that employment discrimination suits by the teachers fired by Catholic elementary schools are barred by the First Amendment’s “ministerial exception.”

What if the exemptions change?

Some of these exemptions might be subject to change. There are still court cases, specifically regarding religious colleges, on whether teachers should be exempt from this ruling or not.

Depending on the outcome of these cases, the exemption on religious colleges might be overturned.

If this does happen, the atmosphere of many religious colleges would change. What might we do then?

A passage in the book of Romans offers us insight:

“Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.” (Romans 13:1–2 NIV)

This passage tells us that we should obey the law of the land, because it has been ordained by God.

But what if the law of the land goes against God’s law?

Does God’s law supersede the law of the land?

The Story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego

King Nebuchadnezzar issues a decree that “everyone who hears the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipe, and all kinds of music, must fall down and worship the image of gold that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up.” (Romans 3:5 NIV)

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were faithful Jews who followed the ways of the Lord. They refused to worship idols or other gods. Because of their disobedience to King Nebuchadnezzar, they were brought before him to undergo punishment.

The punishment?

To be thrown into a blazing furnace!

King Nebuchadnezzar gave them one more chance to obey him and bow down to the idol.

How did Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego respond?

“King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and He will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if He does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” (Daniel 3:16-18 NIV)

Because of their unwillingness to bow to the idol, they were tied up and thrown into the furnace.

But the story doesn’t end there.

God rescues the three men of faith and they emerge unharmed.

Final Thoughts

If the law of the land conflicts with God’s law, we are instructed to follow God’s law.

There have been many points in history where Christians have had to follow God’s law rather than the law of the land. Many martyrs of the faith have demonstrated this. Though no one in any religious organization is likely to face losing their life, we most certainly do run the risk of losing rights, funding, access to resources, and lose our reputation in the broader community.

As the courts and culture continue to shift away from a historic Christian worldview, it may become more difficult to live out our faith. When faced with difficult situations, I find it easiest to revert to loving everyone. We can’t expect those who don’t align with biblical teaching to act as if they do. Be patient. We are called to love others and we should deal with these matters with grace.

That said, I pray you are encouraged and remember to maintain kindness when dealing with controversial topics such as this. We are facing ever-changing tumultuous times in the workplace. Our beliefs are being challenged and many are waning in their strength to support the gospel of Jesus Christ. Stay strong, and always remember that the truth will always remain the same, yesterday, today and tomorrow.

To learn more:

Also check out our Resources for Action Here 

—————————-

Mark Griffin is founder and chief consultant at In HIS Name HR LLC, and has over 25 years of HR experience.

Are you or your organization struggling to navigate these tumultuous times? Contact us by e-mail here.

Stay current on all the latest HR trends that affect the workplace. Follow In HIS Name HR LLC on FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn.