Recent Developments

Issues that affect ministers and churches
Court Can’t Resolve a Dismissed Minister’s Breach of Contract Claim

Key point 8-10.1. The civil courts have consistently ruled that the First Amendment prevents the civil courts from applying employment laws to the relationship between a church and a minister.

A federal appeals court ruled that it was barred by the “ministerial exception” from resolving a dismissed minister’s breach of contract claim against his former church despite his insistence that the dispute could be resolved without the need for the court to interpret or apply church doctrine. In December 2012, a church’s deacon board recommended, and the church voted unanimously to accept, a candidate for the position of church pastor. In March 2013, the pastor and church officials executed an employment contract (“the Agreement”) establishing that the pastor would serve as the church’s pastor for a 20-year term, beginning December 2012 and subject to termination “for cause.” If the church removed him without cause before the 20-year term expired, it would be required to pay him the salary and benefits he would have received for the unexpired term of the Agreement. The Agreement specified that the pastor could be terminated for cause if he “commits any serious moral or criminal offense (“serious offense”) including, but not limited to, adultery, embezzlement, or fraud, is convicted of a felony, or commits any other act which is a violation of applicable law” or if he became incapacitated through illness or injury.

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Church Governance

Church Governance

What leaders must know to conduct legally sound church business.
Pastor, Church & Law, Fifth Edition

Pastor, Church & Law, Fifth Edition

Learn which local, state, and federal laws apply to religious organizations.
Mandatory Child Abuse Reporting Laws

Mandatory Child Abuse Reporting Laws

Did you know pastors and other church staff may be required by law to report child abuse and that laws on this vary state by state?
Church Issues: Same-Sex Marriage and Gender Identity

Church Issues: Same-Sex Marriage and Gender Identity

Richard Hammar combines research and analysis to take you through a step-by-step process regarding public accommodations laws.

ChurchSalary

ChurchSalary

Experience a whole new way to set compensation. Eliminate the guesswork – get access to detailed compensation reports in just minutes.