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Employment Practices - Part 1

A federal court in Tennessee ruled that it was barred by the First Amendment from resolving a discrimination lawsuit.

Key point 8-06. The civil courts have consistently ruled that the First Amendment prevents the civil courts from applying civil rights laws to the relationship between a church and a minister.
The Civil Rights Act of 1964

* A federal court in Tennessee ruled that it was barred by the First Amendment from resolving a discrimination lawsuit brought by a hospital chaplain against her employer. A woman (Megan) was employed by a church-affiliated hospital in its clinical pastoral education program. Megan's job description stated that she was required to initiate pastoral visits with patients and family members, be an on-call primary chaplain during non-work hours, and lead a Sunday worship service for patients, family, and staff. The hospital later dismissed Megan after a psychological assessment and other evidence suggested that she was not a suitable candidate for the clinical pastoral ...

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Richard R. Hammar is an attorney, CPA and author specializing in legal and tax issues for churches and clergy.

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  • September 1, 2006

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