In The School

Can the Government Tell Private Christian Schools Who To Hire/Fire?

Posted May 11th, 2012


Heritage Christian Academy Headmaster Dr. Ron Taylor

Background

  • Heritage Christian Academy (HCA), located in Rockwall, Texas, came under fire when it terminated their teacher and volleyball coach. HCA dismissed the teacher for inappropriate and immoral behavior – admittedly engaging in sex outside of marriage. Her conduct violated the specific terms of her written contract and the school’s policies, which include serving as a Christian role model and adhering to a Biblical code of conduct.

Current Status

  • After this teacher filed a charge with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), HCA engaged Liberty Institute. The EEOC declined to proceed with her claim. She now has until July 16 to file a private lawsuit.

Impact

  • The U.S. Supreme Court’s 9-0 decision in Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. EEOC clarified the strong protections for religious organizations. Liberty Institute filed an amicus brief in Hosanna-Tabor on behalf of religious schools nationwide, including Jewish Educational Center, Association of Christian Schools International, and The North American Division of Seventh Day Adventists Office of Education. Hosanna-Tabor made clear that the Religion Clauses of the First Amendment bar a school teacher’s wrongful termination action against a Christian school based upon an alleged violation of employment discrimination laws.
  • The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Hosanna-Tabor recognizes that the First Amendment grants religious ministries, including schools like HCA, the freedom to make decisions concerning the hiring and firing of their leaders and others in ministry positions.
 

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