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Church Law & Tax Report

November/December 2007
Articles with a Member Access Only are available only to members.

Feature Article


Church "Sound Rooms" Member access only

Recent Developments

Issues that affect ministers and churches, with Richard R. Hammar
Charitable Contributions

Fundraising and Designated Gifts Member access only

Church board members may be personally liable for diverting designated funds or trust funds to some other purpose.
Child Abuse; Child Abuse Reporting

Child Abuse Reporting Protection in Counseling Member access only

A Florida appeals court ruled that counseling notes prepared by a psychotherapist during counseling sessions with a minister accused of child abuse were not protected against disclosure in court.
Charters, Constitutions, and Bylaws; Church Property

Church Property and Denominational Ownership Member access only

A California court ruled that a provision in a church's deed that required church property to revert to a denominational agency was legally enforceable by the civil courts.
Church Members; Church Records

Membership and Reviewing Church Records Member access only

The Alabama Supreme Court ruled that church members who lost their membership lost their right as members to inspect church records.
Breach of Contract; Clergy - Removal

Determing Disability Discrimination Member access only

Most courts have concluded that they are barred by the First Amendment from resolving challenges by dismissed clergy to the legal validity of their dismissals.
Employment Practices

Age Discrimination Lawsuits Member access only

A federal court in Ohio ruled that a dismissed church employee could sue her church for age discrimination.
Employment Practices

Exempt vs. Non-Exempt Employees Member access only

A federal court in Maryland addressed the question of whether a secretary is entitled to overtime compensation for hours worked in excess of 40 during the same work week.
New York
Employment Practices

FMLA Requirements Member access only

A federal court in New York ruled that a church pension board did not violate the Americans with Disabilities Act of the Family and Medical Leave Act when it dismissed an HIV-positive employee.
Employment Practices; Sexual Misconduct by Clergy, Lay Employees, and Volunteers

Conducting Background Checks Member access only

An employer's failure to conduct criminal records checks on its employees might be viewed by a jury as evidence of negligent hiring.
New York
Church Property; Personal Injuries on Church Property or During Church Activities

Off-Property Injuries Member access only

A New York court ruled that a public high school cannot be liable for injuries occurring to students after they leave school property.
New York
Church Property; Personal Injuries on Church Property or During Church Activities; Schools

Risk of Injury on Church Property Member access only

A variety of defenses are available to a church that is sued as a result of an injury occurring on its premises.
Sexual Misconduct by Clergy, Lay Employees, and Volunteers

Negligent Hiring Liabilities Member access only

A federal court in Kansas ruled that a victim of child abuse made a viable claim against a charity that hired the molester as a youth worker despite knowledge of a history of sexual misconduct.


Q&A: What Crimes Disqualify Someone from Working with Kids? Member access only

Find out what criteria your state uses.

Q&A: What Kind of Severance Agreement Should We Offer? Member access only

How to determine pay when you let an employee go.