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Pastor, Church & Law

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

Negligent Selection of Church Workers—In General

Volume 4 . Chapter 10 . § 10-03

One of the most significant legal risks facing churches today is negligent selection. The term negligence means carelessness or a failure to exercise reasonable care. Negligent selection, then, means carelessness or a failure to exercise reasonable care in the selection of a worker. Consider the following examples:

Examples

• A church employs a pastor without any investigation into his background. The pastor seduces a counselee during marriage counseling. The victim sues the church, claiming that it is responsible for her injuries on the basis of negligent selection. It is later learned that the pastor committed adultery with a member of his prior congregation. No one in his present church asked for any information or references from the ...

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