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Pastor, Church & Law

written by Richard R. Hammar, J.D., LL.M., CPA

Legal Briefs

Volume 3 . Chapter 8, Part 1

Churches don't generally think of themselves as employers. And yet, in reality, most churches are employers. In addition to a minister, they may also employ a secretary, custodian, bookkeeper, music director, counselor, or business administrator. So as an employer, is the church subject to the same legal obligations that apply to secular employers? Do you know what employer-employee issues are protected by the First Amendment guaranty of religious freedom, and which ones are not? Never has it been more important to know your church's legal responsibility towards your employees than now. Why? Because employment-related issues land churches in court more than any other area of litigation. (See Table 8-1 Litigation Involving Religious Organizations) ...

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