Feature Article
Stacking Up Electronics in the Church
Gadgets present legal, tax issues for leaders.

For most church employees, electronic communications via cell phone calls, text messaging, and e-mails have become an indispensable tool for both business and personal use. But few church leaders have a clear understanding of the legal and tax issues associated with these forms of communication. This article will explore the following issues:

  1. church liability for employees' negligent driving
  2. criminal liability for sexually explicit messages
  3. employer inspection of electronic communications
  4. application of the clergy-penitent privilege
  5. the "admissions against interest" exception to the hearsay rule
  6. sexual harassment
  7. the tax implications of cell phone use
  8. FLSA
  9. OSHA
  10. cyberattacks

Issue #1: Church Liability for Employees' Distracted Driving

There is no doubt that cell phones are a tremendous convenience, and make pastors and other church staff members accessible in the event of emergencies. But the use of such devices while operating a vehicle can cause the driver to be distracted, especially when they are used for texting, web surfing, or checking e-mail. And, distracted driving can lead to accidents and astronomical monetary damages. Some employers have paid out millions of dollars to settle lawsuits resulting from accidents caused by employees who were distracted while driving as a result of the use of a cell phone.

Log In For Full Access

Interested in becoming a member? Learn more.

Posted: November 1, 2011
View All
from our store
Managing Church Facility Use

Managing Church Facility Use

Find insights to equip your church to host members and strangers.
Pastor, Church & Law, Fifth Edition

Pastor, Church & Law, Fifth Edition

Learn which local, state, and federal laws apply to religious organizations.
Managing the Legal Risks of Lay Counseling

Managing the Legal Risks of Lay Counseling

Develop specific policies and procedures that protect your church, lay caregivers, and those who receive care.
Church Issues: Waivers and Release Forms and Church Liability

Church Issues: Waivers and Release Forms and Church Liability

What these documents do—and don't do—based on statutes and court decisions made nationwide.

ChurchSalary

ChurchSalary

Let ChurchSalary do the work. Get personalized compensation reports for staff and pastors.