Church Law & Tax Report
Articles with a are available only to members.
Issues that affect ministers and churches, with Richard R. Hammar
Fundraising and Designated Gifts
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
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
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
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
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.
Age Discrimination Lawsuits
A federal court in Ohio ruled that a dismissed church employee could sue her church for age discrimination.
Exempt vs. Non-Exempt Employees
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.
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
An employer's failure to conduct criminal records checks on its employees might be viewed by a jury as evidence of negligent hiring.
Church Property; Personal Injuries on Church Property or During Church Activities
A New York court ruled that a public high school cannot be liable for injuries occurring to students after they leave school property.
Church Property; Personal Injuries on Church Property or During Church Activities; Schools
Risk of Injury on Church Property
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
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?
Find out what criteria your state uses.
Q&A: What Kind of Severance Agreement Should We Offer?
How to determine pay when you let an employee go.