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Running a For-Profit Business In Accordance With Religious Values (Part 1, Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws)

For many business owners, running their business in accordance with their religious values is a non-negotiable. Their religious values are often what drive them and make their businesses successful. This is particularly true when business owners define success as being, first and foremost, faithful to a calling. The first thing to which such business owners should pay attention is the business’s articles of incorporation and bylaws.

In Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc.,  the Supreme Court noted that “owners of closely held corporations may—and sometimes do—disagree about the conduct of business….some might want a company’s stores to remain open on the Sabbath in order to make more money, and others might want the stores to close for religious reasons.” 573 U.S. 682, 718–19 (2014). State corporate law often “provides a ready means for resolving any conflicts by, for example, dictating how a corporation can establish its governing structure.” Id. Articles of incorporation and bylaws are the documents which establish a business’s governing structure, Depending on your state’s corporate law, you can prepare these documents in such away as to make clear that your business will be managed and organized in accordance with certain religious values. When you prepare these founding documents in such a way, the courts can look to those documents and the underlying state law to resolve any disputes that may arise over how the corporate activities are being conducted.

At Dalton & Tomich, we have represented a wide variety of religious organizations all across the country. That experience helps us better serve businesses in both Michigan and Illinois that are owned and operated by people of faith who seek to run their businesses in accordance with their religious beliefs and values. If you need a business attorney with a wealth of experience working with people of faith and need help with your articles of incorporation or bylaws, please give us a call.

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