Is Your Church Safe from Employment Liabilities?


In our 77 plus years of our Church and Clergy Tax Ministry, we have witnessed a continual rise in employment related lawsuits against Churches. As a rule Churches experience much more freedom in hiring and firing staff, especially Pastors, than other organizations. Unfortunately, the Constitution does not protect all types of employment related issues.


Pastors and Church Leaders are often oblivious to many hiring and firing guidelines and restrictions that apply to their House of Worship. Because we are living in a society that thrives upon Tort Law, lawsuits are often the first choice rather than the last resort. People do not like to be inconvenienced or upset, and if they feel as if they have been victimized (whether or not they have) they will file a lawsuit at the drop of a hat. Churches are not exempt.


Every day Churches, Pastors, and Church Leaders end up in court because someone has become disgruntled and feel as if it is their duty to set the Church and its Leaders “straight,” and what better way in their mind to do it than a lawsuit.


Cover Your Assets


The Federal Government has made itself the watchdog over the American people. The Department of Labor, the Internal Revenue Service, as well as several others are deeply concerned as to how employees are counted, classified, and compensated.


Everything from wage scale for salaried employees, overtime pay, and now, the Affordable Care Act, feeds the Government involvement frenzy. The term, “Big Brother is watching,” is more real than we imagine.


These and other factors ensure that there will be a continued rise in employment litigation, even to the point of exponential increase, that will bring our already overloaded court system to a screeching halt and a depletion of already limited Church resources.


If you are a Pastor or Church Leader, and have not been sued as yet, it would behoove you to understand that it is no longer “if you are sued” – it is now, “when you are sued.”


Should this be an area of concern for Pastors, Church Leaders, and Churches? Yes and no.


How We Can Help


It should be a major concern that those whom you have employed or spiritually guided would choose to file a lawsuit against you. If you do not know and fully understand the law and any benefits afforded you as employer, you open up your Church and yourself to possibly pay huge awards and fines to any plaintiffs.


These dynamics may cause worry among church leaders. However, when you are protected by someone who specializes in these and other Church and Clergy areas, you have nothing to fear.


Chitwood and Chitwood has been helping Churches and Clergy for more than 77 years. You are our area of expertise. We know that for which we should look and to where any concerns should be addressed. Your task should be preaching and ministering, while leaving the rest up to us.


In Closing


Here is some good news: Churches can avoid many of these potential problems – or successfully navigate any challenges that arise, simply by keeping their employment affairs in order. The way to do this is to conduct Human Resource audits at regular intervals.


It would behoove every Pastor and all Church Leaders to contact Chitwood and Chitwood today at 800-344-0076 to arrange a Human Resource audit of your organization.


We can bring peace of mind to you and your Church by ensuring that you have a strong defense in place, should the unwanted, unexpected lawsuit target you.


At Chitwood and Chitwood it is “A Ministry – Not A Job!”