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Exemption of Unemployment Services in the Employ of a Church Doesn't Violate First Amendment

Terminated employee unable to sue church for lack of unemployment benefits.

Last Reviewed: March 30, 2021
Key point. The exemption of church employees from state unemployment compensation laws does not violate the First Amendment's Establishment or Free Exercise of Religion Clauses.

A Texas court ruled that the exemption of services in the employ of a church from the unemployment compensation system did not violate the First Amendment's prohibition of the establishment of religion.

A church terminated the employment of its pianist and organist (the "plaintiff"). The plaintiff filed a claim for unemployment benefits. His claim was denied because he had not earned sufficient covered wages to establish a claim for unemployment benefits. The plaintiff filed a lawsuit arguing that exemption of church employment in establishing a claim of unemployment benefits violated the First Amendment's guarantees of the nonestablishment and free exercise of religion.

Background

Under the Texas ...

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Posted:
  • December 22, 2014
  • Last Reviewed: March 30, 2021

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