Jump directly to the content

Church Liable for Not Screening

Is a church leader liable for not screening someone they know?

If a pastor does no screening for persons he knows personally, has he exposed the church to a risk of liability?

When hiring anyone, you should be familiar with the legal principle of 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:

Example. A church allows Bob to serve as a Sunday School teacher in a 3rd grade class despite its knowledge that Bob engaged in inappropriate sexual relations with a child in another church. The senior pastor wants to give Bob a "second chance." Six months after being hired, a parent alleges that Bob molested her adolescent daughter. The church is later sued by the victim and her mother, who allege that the church is responsible for Bob's misconduct on the basis of negligent selection.

Article Preview

This article is currently available to ChurchLawAndTax.com subscribers only. To continue reading:

May 14, 2008

Related Resources

See All
from our store
Integrating Sex Offenders into Faith Communities

Integrating Sex Offenders into Faith Communities

Best practices to both welcome the offender and protect the vulnerable
Disciplining Kids at Church

Disciplining Kids at Church

Learn how to lovingly and effectively discipline children of all ages.
Screening & Selecting Children's Workers

Screening & Selecting Children's Workers

Learn practices to include in the screening process, the importance of background checks and interviews, and more.
Hosting Large Events at Church

Hosting Large Events at Church

Assess and address the unique risks your event presents.