Employment Practices – Part 2

A Tennessee court ruled that a denominational agency did not commit unlawful race discrimination when it appointed a white male to a management position.

Church Law and Tax 2003-11-01

Employment Practices- Part 2

Key point 8-07. Employees and applicants for employment who believe that an employer has violated a federal civil rights law must pursue their claim according to a specific procedure. Failure to do so will result in the dismissal of their claim.

* A Tennessee court ruled that a denominational agency did not commit unlawful race discrimination when it appointed a white male to a management position instead of a black female secretary who had applied for the same job. A black female (the “plaintiff”) who worked for a religious organization as a full-time secretary expressed an interest in a part-time position as her employer’s communications director (in addition to her full-time secretarial position). The religious organization decided to combine the position of communications director with a newly created position of director of disaster relief. The combined full-time position was offered to a white male. The plaintiff sued her employer for racial discrimination. A state appeals court ruled that the plaintiff produced “no evidence from which a jury could reasonably infer that her employer’s decision to merge the communications position with the disaster relief position was based on considerations of race …. In the absence of evidence that the decision to create the combined position … was motivated by racial animus, we must conclude that [the plaintiff] has failed to make out a prima facie case of racial discrimination.” Bryant v. Tennessee Conference of the United Methodist Church, 2002 WL 661937 (Tenn. App. 2002).

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