Religious Liberty Legislation

HB 59 – FY 2014-2015 Main Operating Budget (2013-2014)

As It Pertains to Discrimination Law Exemptions for Religious Employers

Link to Bill:

To read an excerpt of the bill as it affects employees’ rights, click here.

Read our testimony.

HB 59 is the main operating budget for fiscal years 2014-2015. This provision exempts a religious corporation, association, educational institution, or society from certain discriminatory employment practices by permitting religious employers to hire or fire any employee, in any position, if the employee does not share the same religious beliefs or practices.

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Finance (S), Finance and Appropriations (H)
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Our take on this bill:

Ohio’s religious employers already had constitutional protection to discriminate in employment decisions relating to the hiring and firing of ministerial employees. This amendment to HB 59 expands that power to discriminate against all employees for religious reasons. For example, it allows a Christian school the right to fire the janitor for having a different religion.

The ACLU of Ohio believes this amendment swings the pendulum too far in favor of religious entities and is extremely disappointed the legislature moved to decrease protections for Ohio workers.

Bill Status:

On May 15, 2013, the ACLU of Ohio presented testimony opposing this portion of HB 59.
Passed out of the House Finance and Appropriations Committee on 4/17/13
Passed the House on 4/18/13
Passed out of the Senate Finance Committee on 6/5/13
Passed the Senate on 6/6/13
Signed by the Governor on 6/30/13