Home > Law

Law

Will Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Discrimination Become Illegal?
High court’s decision could have implications for the hiring and firing practices of churches.
Will Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Discrimination Become Illegal?
Image:

Three cases argued last month before the United States Supreme Court raise a key employment question that may significantly affect the way churches approach future hiring, firing, compensation, and benefits decisions involving nonministerial employees.

Though a ruling is not ...

The 10 Commandments of Church Management
Apply these principles to stay legal and keep your witness intact.
The 10 Commandments of Church Management
Image:

I. Thou shalt not allow the church's intellectual property to be used for personal purposes.

Rule: Under the work for hire doctrine, any property developed within the scope of the job duties of an employee is the property of the employer.

Practice Tip: An intellectual property ...
Tackling Potential Legal Issues in the Church
A national conference offers a balance of professional expertise and spiritual fellowship for Christian leaders.
Tackling Potential Legal Issues in the Church
Image:

As the current president of the Christian Legal Society (CLS), Attorney Sally Wagenmaker is well-acquainted with myriad potential legal issues facing the church today. With this in mind, she led efforts to add a “Pastors’ Forum” to the CLS national conference ...

Why "Legal" Matters More Than Ever
Churches can no longer fly under the radar, explains attorney Erika Cole.
Why "Legal" Matters More Than Ever
Image:

Attorney Erika Cole (pictured above) developed the Church Compliance Conference in 2007 to serve churches and pastors who face legal and tax concerns.Editor Matthew Branaugh recently talked to Cole, who serves as an editorial advisor for Church Law & Tax, about legal struggles ...

Could Your Church Face an ADA Noncompliance Lawsuit for Its Website or App?
What to know about this rising trend in litigation.
Could Your Church Face an ADA Noncompliance Lawsuit for Its Website or App?
Image:

Our webhost recently brought to my attention a trend in lawsuits targeting websites and apps for their failures to comply with the federal Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA). Could your church or ministry face such a claim? I have good news—read on!

A Ruling with Three Lessons on Embezzlement
A Ruling with Three Lessons on Embezzlement
Image:

A New York appeals court recently affirmed a trial court ruling that “a pastor who embezzled a substantial amount of church funds” had to make restitution for those funds, said attorney and CPA Richard R. Hammar in “Pastor Who Embezzled Must Make Restitution.” ...

Court Dismisses Pregnancy-Related Lawsuit Brought Against Church
Judge says the facts of the case demonstrate firing was based on religious doctrine.
Court Dismisses Pregnancy-Related Lawsuit Brought Against Church
Image:

The News

A federal judge late last month dismissed a lawsuit that was brought against an Alabama church after it fired a pregnant woman who worked as a custodian in the church’s daycare.

In the lawsuit and related testimony, the woman contended she was fired because she ...

When the Church Office Closes for Bad Weather, Does Everyone Get Paid?
The legal—and logical—considerations regarding how to handle an office closure.
When the Church Office Closes for Bad Weather, Does Everyone Get Paid?
Image:

Winter weather advisory: snow, gusty winds, ice, and bitter cold are hitting much of our nation, with the Polar Vortex bringing wind chills of 50 below or worse this week in parts of the Midwest.

How should churches address inclement weather issues for their employees? And are ...

Churches: Note Time-Off Requirements for the Election
Check your state’s statute addressing what employers must provide.
Churches: Note Time-Off Requirements for the Election
Image:

Election Day is upon us—and churches as employers need to note their potential legal obligations to give employees time off to vote.

As Kiplinger Letter recently noted, 29 states keep laws on the books that require employers to accommodate voting time of between one and ...

Supreme Court Sides with Christian Baker in Major Religious Freedom Case
SCOTUS cites violation of baker’s First Amendment rights in ruling.
Supreme Court Sides with Christian Baker in Major Religious Freedom Case
Image: Picsale / Getty Images

It’s considered to be the “biggest religious liberty case of the year”—and this morning, the Supreme Court ruled 7-2 in favor of Jack Phillips, the owner of Colorado bakery Masterpiece Cakeshop, who had refused (on religious grounds) to make a gay couple’s ...

When Volunteers Drive for Your Church
Tips for handling this critical area of risk-management.
When Volunteers Drive for Your Church
Image:

To help churches better understand some of the issues involved with volunteer drivers, ManagingYourChurch.com talked to Frank Sommerville. He is an attorney and editorial advisor for ChurchLawAndTax.com.

What should you know before allowing volunteers to drive on behalf of the ...

Why Taking Minutes Is a “Must”
Here are 4 reasons to take thorough, accurate minutes at your meetings.
Why Taking Minutes Is a “Must”
Image: Helloquence / Unsplash

Taking minutes arguably tops the list of “most thankless jobs,” and those who assume the role often wish they hadn’t been such a willing volunteer. But accurate minutes are a parliamentary procedure “must” for all nonprofits—including homeowners’ ...

9 Steps Employers Should Take to Comply with the ADA
What churches should be aware of as they hire and train staff members.
9 Steps Employers Should Take to Comply with the ADA
Image:
  1. Prepare job descriptions for all employees. Be sure to itemize essential job functions. These are functions that are job related and required by business necessity. Do not list functions that will not be required in performing the job in question.
  2. Review job application forms and eliminate any question that segregates or classifies applicants on the basis of disability.
Responding to Injuries at Church
What to do when employees or volunteers get hurt.
Responding to Injuries at Church
Image:

A pastor falls off a ladder while hanging a banner. A volunteer trips while playing with second-graders in the kids ministry. A staff member gets injured during an on-site church activity.

Injuries are surprisingly common at churches. Responding quickly to them can help get an ...

Protecting Your Church in Case of Allegations of Abuse
Protecting Your Church in Case of Allegations of Abuse
Image:

Around a year ago, attorney Richard J. Mathews shared lessons he learned from advising the Boy Scouts of America during the organization’s child sexual abuse crisis. ManagingYourChurch.com recently interviewed him regarding what churches should know about insurance coverage ...

Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Christian Schools
The religious freedom victory now could mean others in the future.
Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Christian Schools
Image:

The Supreme Court of the United States has ruled on its most important religious freedom case of the year, and they ruled in favor of a church.

Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia v. Comer was a lawsuit brought by a Lutheran church against the director of the Missouri Department ...

How Does Trump’s Religious Liberty Executive Order Affect Churches?
Four legal experts weigh in on what the order actually means.
How Does Trump’s Religious Liberty Executive Order Affect Churches?
Image: Samuel Schneider / Unsplash

On May 4, 2017, President Trump signed an executive order (full text here) concerning religious liberty. Promises to “destroy” the Johnson Amendment—a provision in the US tax code that restricts churches’ political activity—have long been part of ...

Church Cell Tower Leases and Zoning Laws
How to navigate the process smoothly and with minimal problems.
Church Cell Tower Leases and Zoning Laws
Image:

Kevin Donohue spent decades building networks for wireless companies before switching sides to represent landowners through his work with Tower Genius—a consultant firm that helps churches, businesses, and private citizens with lease agreements. He spoke with ManagingYourChurch.com ...

What Churches Should Know About Immigration Law
An immigration attorney shares how churches can help immigrants in their congregations and communities.
What Churches Should Know About Immigration Law
Image:

Recently, conversations about immigration have been surfacing in headlines, in our communities—and in our churches. Church Law & Tax talked with immigration attorney Analí Gatlin Looper about the sanctuary church movement, resources churches can use to learn ...

How Recent Changes to Form I-9 and the R-1 Visa Process Affect Churches
What church leaders need to know about recent changes to workers’ immigration forms and processes
How Recent Changes to Form I-9 and the R-1 Visa Process Affect Churches
Image:

Form I-9 Changes in January 2017

Recently the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) released a new version of its Form I-9, the Employment Eligibility Verification form, and required US employers to begin using the new Form I-9 by January 22, 2017. Currently, US Immigration ...

ChurchSalary

ChurchSalary

Let ChurchSalary do the work. Get personalized compensation reports for staff and pastors.

The 4 Hour Legal Training Program for Church Boards

The 4 Hour Legal Training Program for Church Boards Member access only

Understand key legal concepts necessary to protect the board and the church.
Starting a Disaster Response Ministry

Starting a Disaster Response Ministry Member access only

Safely and effectively serve people whose lives have been overturned by a disaster.