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Sexual Harassment Suit Proceeds Against Local Church, but Not Denomination

Denominations are not held liable for acts of individual churches.

KEY POINT 8-09.1 Many federal employment and civil rights laws apply only to those employers having a minimum number of employees. In determining whether or not an employer has the minimum number of employees, both full-time and part-time employees are counted. In addition, employees of unincorporated subsidiary ministries of a church are counted. The employees of incorporated subsidiary ministries may be counted if the church exercises sufficient control over the subsidiary.

KEY POINT 8-12.5 Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination prohibited by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It consists of both "quid pro quo" harassment and "hostile environment" harassment. Religious organizations that are subject to Title VII are covered by this prohibition. An employer is automatically liable for supervisory employees' acts of harassment, but a defense is available to claims of hostile ...

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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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Posted:
  • May 1, 2008