When Employees Violate Moral Standards

Redhead v. Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, 566 F.Supp.2d 125 (E.D.N.Y. 2008)

Article summary. Federal laws, as well as the laws of many states, permit churches and religious schools to discriminate in employment decisions on the basis of religion. As a result, religious employers are free to employ only persons of a certain religious faith. They also are permitted to impose their religious standards upon their employees, and they may discipline or dismiss employees who violate those standards. However, religious employers may not apply religious standards in a way that discriminates against a protected class of employees, such as women, minorities, the aged, or disabled. A federal appeals court ruled that a church school may have violated a federal ban on employment discrimination based on pregnancy when it dismissed a female employee who was four months pregnant on the day she was married. The court conceded that religious schools can impose religious standards upon their employees, but it concluded that there was substantial evidence refuting the school's claim that "religious standards" were the basis for its decision to terminate the employee.

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Posted: March 2, 2009
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