Wed Jan 30, 2013, 02:15 PM
cbayer (146,218 posts)
Freedom of and from Religion to be Tested in Federal Lawsuit by California Church
By ERNEST A. CANNING on 1/28/2013, 3:47pm PT
A federal lawsuit filed by the Calvary Chapel of Thousand Oaks seeks to test the legal line drawn by California regarding the boundaries of church and state.
Under the Golden State's Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), churches are permitted to discriminate in hiring practices based on their religious beliefs only within the confines of non-profit institutions --- a line that recognizes that government has no role in a religious institution's selection of a priest, minister, rabbi or imam. Thus, for example, laws banning discrimination on the basis of gender do not prevent the Catholic Church from limiting the priesthood to adult males.
But the Calvary Chapel now seeks to obliterate the line drawn by the state FEHA law. It purchased the Little Oaks School of Thousand Oaks, a for-profit, previously non-sectarian private school and subsequently fired two teachers who refused to make statements of faith and obtain references from a pastor. The teachers' objections, one of whom had been the director of Little Oaks' preschool, were on religious freedom grounds.
Facing a likely legal challenge under state law, the church filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court against the teachers and their attorneys as a preemptive strike in hopes of preventing the teachers from seeking redress in state court under FEHA.
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Freedom of and from Religion to be Tested in Federal Lawsuit by California Church (Original post)
Response to cbayer (Original post)
Wed Jan 30, 2013, 03:05 PM
pinto (106,886 posts)
3. What a stretch. They're trying to bypass CA's FEHA guidelines with a dubious federal claim.
The church purchased the school, previously operated as a nonreligious entity, in 2009. While the vast majority of religious schools are nonprofit and tax-exempt, church leaders said they organized Little Oaks as a for-profit because they were on a tight deadline. They said forming a tax-exempt corporation is a lengthy process.
They said the school is operated not as a profit-generating entity but as a spiritual arm of the church. Its students include about 130 children in preschool through fifth grade.
They bought the school in 2009, fired the teachers in 2012. And cite the "lengthy process" of incorporating as a tax exempt operation. I've been involved in a number of federal 501 (c)3 filings; 3 years is plenty of time to establish non-profit status. The process for a religious institution's completion under 501 standards has to be pretty similar.
I'd guess they're filing with the 9th Circuit Court and I'd wager the court refuses the case. It's a pretty blatant example of inserting a religious wedge into existing state and federal standards. Or maybe they just need the money.
Response to cbayer (Original post)
Thu Jan 31, 2013, 05:12 AM
struggle4progress (91,327 posts)
6. ... The women ... threatened to sue the school after being fired. However, before they could file
the lawsuit, the school lodged a complaint of their own in federal court, requesting that the women be prohibited from filing in the state courts. Calvary Chapel and Little Oaks Elementary School says that it wants the case to proceed in federal court and not at the state level.
At issue in this case is whether the school has the right to fire employees for not meeting religious standards if it is not registered as a not-for-profit entity. While owned by a church and not used for the purpose of commercial profit, Little Oaks Elementary School has not filed for non-profit status ...
Because the school is not officially non-profit, Serrano and Guevara are pointing to the California Fair Employment and Housing Act, which they believe asserts that an employee cannot be dismissed because of their beliefs — or lack of them. They state that the school’s decision to dismiss them for failure to complete the form was an illegal act of discrimination ...
Christian School Locked in Legal Battle With Teachers Fired for Refusing to Affirm Their Faith
January 29, 2013
By: Heather Clark