The Masterpiece Cake Shop Case has Implications for Employers

by Isaac Benmergui, Esq on December 26, 2017

 The Masterpiece Cake Shop Case has Implications for EmployersThe question facing the Supreme Court in the Masterpiece Cake Shop case has implications not only for small business owners, but employers everywhere. If you’re not familiar with the case, a cake shop owner in Colorado was approached by a same-sex couple wanting a custom-made cake for their wedding. The owner offered to sell the couple any pre-made cake in the shop, but said his evangelical Christian beliefs prevented him from being involved with a same-sex marriage celebration. The cake shop owner also does not make custom items for bachelor or bachelorette parties or Halloween.

The cake maker and owner of Masterpiece Cake Shop claims that he is an artist, and cake is his art form. So asking him to create art that goes against his religious beliefs violates his first amendment right to freedom of expression. But where does this case potentially intersect with employment law?

If this cake maker is an artist, than why can’t other people consider their chosen work an art form? And if any potential employee is an artist, then their work is their art, and they have be allowed to follow their conscious in crafting their art.

Some people who have sounded off on this case say, well, if he wants to lose business as a cake shop, those individuals that he chooses not to serve can walk down the street, down the block, or into the next town and find dozens of businesses willing to serve them. This might be true. It’s also the same argument that has allowed heavily restrictive non-compete agreements into the workplace. The courts have decided that the free market will take care of this issue; that if the restrictions are too much, the employee can simply seek employment elsewhere.

But as we have seen throughout history, people enjoy having jobs. They like being able to pay bills, rent, and buy groceries. It’s a huge imbalance of power that the employer has, and history has shown that that power will be used against the worker if the worker isn’t provided some protections that even the playing field.

So watch this case carefully, because if businesses are allowed to discriminate against protected classes when those people are the ones handing money over to them, imagine what they’ll do to the people who are depending on them for equal treatment.

 

Call Miami Employment Lawyer Isaac Benmergui at 305.397.8547 and set up a no charge, no obligation consultation to discuss your case. We have over a decade of experience handling Employment Law and Civil Litigation cases throughout Miami and South Florida, and will use our expertise to help your case to the best of our abilities.

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