R Corps: When Should Corporate Values Receive Religious Protection?

36 Pages Posted: 8 May 2019

See all articles by Elizabeth Brown

Elizabeth Brown

Bentley University

Inara Scott

Oregon State University, College of Business

Eric D. Yordy

The W. A. Franke College of Business at Northern Arizona University

Date Written: March 6, 2019

Abstract

In this article, we explain how a corporation might invoke religious freedom claims in order to protect corporate values such as diversity, equality, sanctuary, or women’s access to reproductive care which are not exclusively associated with a religion, and are often held by secular entities. In order to do so, we must address the following unresolved legal issues: 1) How can one define whether a set of beliefs are “religious” when those beliefs are held not just by a single individual, but by a diverse collection of individuals? 2) Does the meaning of religion change when it is no longer exercised by a human being but instead by a corporation? 3) Importantly, how would a court evaluate the religious claims of a business entity made up of diverse owners, members, and/or shareholders? 4) What are the broader consequences, benefits and detriments of protecting such claims?

Keywords: First Amendment, Religious Freedom, Freedom of Religion, Corporate Values, RFRA, Corporate Governance

Suggested Citation

Brown, Elizabeth A. and Scott, Inara and Yordy, Eric D., R Corps: When Should Corporate Values Receive Religious Protection? (March 6, 2019). Berkeley Business Law Journal, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3369079

Elizabeth A. Brown

Bentley University ( email )

175 Forest Street
Waltham, MA 02145
United States

Inara Scott (Contact Author)

Oregon State University, College of Business ( email )

443 Austin Hall
Corvallis, OR 97331
United States

Eric D. Yordy

The W. A. Franke College of Business at Northern Arizona University ( email )

PO Box 15066
Flagstaff, AZ 86011
United States

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