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Christian College Not Liable for Sexual Misconduct of Former Student Hired by a Church

Churches should be aware that states are divided on liability based on recommendations related to hiring.

Key point. While employers may not have a duty to provide a reference about a former employee, if they choose to do so they may be liable if they fail to disclose information suggesting that the individual may pose a risk of harm to others.

A Missouri court ruled that a religious school was not liable for the sexual misconduct of a former student on the ground that it provided a positive reference to a church on the offender.

Church sues college over positive recommendation

A Christian college (the “College”) is an independent college that prepares students for ministry. On occasion, individual churches needing to fill open positions contact the College for recommendations. However, the individual churches, and not the College, make the ultimate hiring decisions.

Based upon the College’s positive recommendation, a church hired an employee (the “offender”) in 2004. ...

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  • July 22, 2020

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