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Pastor, Church & LawMember access only

by Richard R. Hammar, J.D., LL.M., CPA

Risks Associated with Cell Phones

§ 10.19
Key point 10.19. There are several legal risks associated with the use of cell phones by church employees and volunteers, including liability for distracted driving while using a cellular device, punitive damages, personal liability of board members, invasion of privacy, and admissions against interest.

For most church employees, electronic communications via cell phone calls, text messaging, and emails have become an indispensable tool for both business and personal use. But few church leaders have a clear understanding of the legal issues associated with these forms of communication. The following issues are addressed in this section:

  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

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