Regent University School of Law student Nevin Beiler ’17 earned an honorable mention in the 2016 Religious Liberty Student Writing Competition, sponsored by the J. Reuben Clark Law Society and the International Center for Law and Religion Studies at Brigham Young University.
Beiler’s paper, “Deciphering Title VII & Executive Order 13672: To What Extent Are Religious Organizations Free to Discriminate in Their Hiring Practices,” was recognized among winners from schools such as Harvard Law School, George Mason School of Law and University of Virginia School of Law.
According to the 2016 J. Reuben Clark Law Society Writing Competition Committee, this year marked the largest number of participants in the competition’s seven years. Each paper was reviewed by a panel of nine judges – “legal practitioners and academics.”
Beiler was inspired to write on the topic following an internship at the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA) in the summer between his 1L and 2L year. He traveled with one of the organization’s representatives to a conference in D.C. and attended a conference on a similar issue for federal contractors.
“Turns out, it’s a big Title VII issue, not just a federal contractor issue,” said Beiler. “So I merged the two issues and wrote about them simultaneously.”
Beiler explained that Title VII is a long-standing, widely accepted non-discrimination law that has been in effect since the 1970s saying that employers cannot discriminate on the basis of race, religion or gender.
“The issue that’s come up now is the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), under the current administration, is interpreting sex as it applies to gender as well as sexual orientation,” said Beiler. “Now they’re saying Title VII may not discriminate on sexual orientation or gender identity.”
The latest EEOC ruling states that federal contractors can’t discriminate, but the untested question lies in whether it now applies to religious organizations – a question that Beiler’s paper explored.
After graduation, Beiler plans to open his own practice, mostly focusing on the transactional side of the law, but also, perhaps representing churches and non-profit organizations. What he’s learned in his research will help him future advise these organizations on their hiring processes.
“It’s been fantastic, the Christian mission of the school is really attractive and I feel like I’m getting a great legal education,” said Beiler. “Regent has a great writing program, it really does. I need to give it some credit for my writing success.”
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