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Employees' Violation of Employer's Moral Teachings

Is termination on such a basis discrimination?


• Can a teacher sue a church-operated school for discrimination when it refuses to renew her contract because of her violation of the church's moral teachings? No, said a federal appeals court. A Catholic school hired a teacher in 1977. A few years later, she was divorced, though this did not affect her eligibility to teach. For the next several years, she served with distinction. However, in 1986, she remarried, and was later informed by the school that she would not be rehired for the following school term. The school based its decision on statements in the employment contract and employee handbook. The contract specified that the school had the authority to dismiss any teacher "for serious public immorality, public scandal, or public rejection of the official teachings, doctrine or laws of the Roman Catholic Church." The employee handbook illustrated this provision by noting that ...

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  • November 1, 1991

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Essential Guide to Employment Issues for Church Boards
Essential Guide to Employment Issues for Church Boards
Covers selection and screening, dispute resolution, terminations, discrimination, and minimum wage.