Church Law & Tax Report

September/October 2002
Articles with a Member Access Only are available only to members.

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Feature Article

Articles

Child Abuse Reporting Member access only

A New Jersey court ruled that a woman could not sue her pastor and church for failing to report to civil authorities her sexual abuse that she had disclosed to them when she was a minor.

Unemployment Member access only

An Oregon court ruled that a church was required to pay state unemployment taxes on its pastor since he was an employee.

Recent Developments

Issues that affect ministers and churches, with Richard R. Hammar
Louisiana
Arbitration

Arbitration Member access only

A federal court in Louisiana ruled that an employee of a church school was required to have her sex discrimination and sexual harassment claims resolved through binding arbitration rather than litigation.

Church Meetings Member access only

An Arkansas court dismissed a lawsuit brought by the former members of a church's board of deacons challenging their removal from office and dismissal from membership.

Church Property - Part 1 Member access only

A California court ruled that a disruptive person who engaged in outbursts during church services and harassed members could be legally restrained from the church property.

Church Property - Part 2 Member access only

The Georgia Supreme Court ruled that a national church controlled the property of a local church that desired to separate from the national church.

Clergy—Removal Member access only

The Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled that it was prevented from resolving a claim that a church violated the legal rights of its pastor.

Counseling Member access only

A Florida court ruled that a psychotherapist did not owe a legal duty to an outpatient client who committed suicide.

Employment Practices - Part 1 Member access only

A New York court ruled that a church did not violate a state labor law prohibiting employers from discriminating against employees because of their lawful "recreational activities.”

Employment Practices - Part 2 Member access only

A federal court dismissed a lawsuit brought by a former seminary student against a seminary alleging that the seminary violated the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Employment Practices - Part 3 Member access only

A federal court in North Carolina ruled that a secular employer did not commit unlawful religious discrimination when it terminated an "ex-gay" employee.

Freedom of Religion Member access only

A Colorado court ruled that Christian witnessing in a shopping mall was a form of free speech that was protected by the state constitution, but it could be limited by reasonable restrictions.

Officers, Directors, and Trustees Member access only

An Illinois court ruled that the directors of a public charity could not be liable for the dismissal of an employee because they were protected by a state "charitable immunity" law.

Personal Injuries on Church Property and During Church Activities - Part 1 Member access only

A New York court ruled that a "release" form signed by a high school student and his parents did not relieve a church-operated school from liability for injuries sustained by the student.

Personal Injuries on Church Property and During Church Activities - Part 2 Member access only

An Illinois court ruled that a driver's use of cell phone could be presented to a jury as evidence of negligence.

Privacy Member access only

A federal appeals court ruled that employees have a reasonable expectation of privacy in the contents of their desks, cabinets, and computers, but that this expectation can be reduced or eliminated by policies or practices.

Sexual Misconduct by Clergy and Church Workers Member access only

A Minnesota court ruled that it was barred from resolving a man's claim that his church and a denominational agency were responsible for the negligent counseling of his pastor.

Employment Practices - Part 4 Member access only

A New York court ruled that a charity was legally responsible for the sexual molestation of a child by a custodian.

Taxation—Church Property Member access only

The New Hampshire Supreme Court ruled that a church-operated campground did not qualify for exemption from property tax, except for a small chapel.

Trademarks Member access only

A federal appeals court ruled that a website that used a national church's registered trademarks without permission violated federal trademark law.

Workers Compensation Member access only

A Pennsylvania court ruled that the widow of a man who suffered a heart attack as a result of stress he experienced while working at a church was entitled to workers compensation benefits.

Zoning - Part 1 Member access only

A federal court in Connecticut ruled that a city zoning commission violated federal law when it ordered a homeowner to stop conducting weekly prayer group meetings in his home.

Zoning - Part 2 Member access only

A Texas court ruled that a city could compel a church-operated school to close because it failed to comply with various safety provisions in a city building code.

ChurchSalary

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Setting Wages and Benefits for Church Staff

Setting Wages and Benefits for Church Staff Member access only

This training download addresses key aspects of compensation planning for church employees.
Church Board Guide to Developing a Risk Management Strategy

Church Board Guide to Developing a Risk Management Strategy Member access only

Learn how to develop and implement a risk management strategy in your church.