Hospitals aren't churches, yet some religiously affiliated hospitals are claiming
just that to avoid providing employees promised retirement benefits.
This is wrong, and we're fighting back.
The Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) protects the retirement savings of tens of millions of employees nationwide. The law requires that if an employer offers a pension plan, it must meet certain basic standards, including adequately funding the pension plan. The law is vital to safeguarding the financial security of employees across the nation.
Because ERISA involves governmental regulation of employers’ finances and business organization, Congress created a narrow exemption for houses of worship to prevent government intrusion into church finances.
Remarkably, religiously affiliated hospital systems across the country have decided that they should be treated like churches under ERISA— and therefore have not been following ERISA’s requirements. Now, the hospital systems’ employees who were promised retirement benefits find themselves woefully unprepared for retirement because their employers have not been following the law.
Religiously affiliated hospitals are not churches, and they should not be able to claim exemptions like houses of worship to the detriment of their employees. Religious freedom does not entitle these hospital systems to harm their employees. That’s why we filed an amicus brief in Dignity Health v. Starla Rollins, Advocate Health Care Network v. Maria Stapleton and St. Peter’s Healthcare System v. Laurence Kaplan, three cases the Supreme Court will hear on March 27.
Hanging in the balance: Hundreds of thousands of employees nationwide who work at religiously affiliated institutions are at risk of losing hundreds of millions, if not billions, of dollars in retirement funds. And that’s just wrong.
Learn More About The Case:
Commentary By AU Lawyers:
Hospitals Aren’t Churches: Why The Supreme Court Should Conclude As Much And Protect Hundreds Of Thousands of Pensions - AU Legal Fellow Bradley Girard