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Can Churches Dismiss an Employee Without Cause?

Understanding the limitations of "employment at will."

Can Churches Dismiss an Employee Without Cause?

While “employment at will” is a phrase most church leaders have heard, not everyone knows what it truly means.

In a nutshell, the employment at-will rule establishes a default rule that an employment relationship is indefinite, not for a certain duration of time, and can be ended at the will of either the employer or employee.

The rule is a presumption courts use that employment may be ended without notice, without giving any reason, and without consequences—unless the employer and employee have agreed to a different type of arrangement.

We often think of the rule from the perspective of the employer’s right to discharge a worker at will. It may be helpful to understand it from the employee’s perspective. That is, a worker may, at his or her will, walk away from a job at any time, for any reason or no reason. Perhaps, at one time or another, most of us have felt ...

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Posted:
  • May 11, 2020

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