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Employment Essentials

What you should know about hiring and firing.

A generation ago, most churches employed one pastor and possibly part-time help for custodial or clerical work. But times have changed. Now churches have several ministers on staff, paid custodians, facility engineers, sound and lighting engineers, day care staff, kitchen staff, music staff, and more.

As the size of a church's staff grows so does its responsibility as an employer. Therefore, church leaders must be aware of the laws that govern hiring and firing to avoid litigation. A good dose of planning and common sense remains the best protection.

Rex Frieze, a church consultant and certified public accountant in Orlando, Florida, says that employment litigation involving churches is on the rise, both because churches are hiring more people and because churches are not immune to society's litigation craze. "If people aren't treated fairly, they know they can turn to the courts," Frieze says.

Under the Law

So what laws apply to churches as employers? In most cases, the same ones that apply ...

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