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Part 9: What Happens With the Retaliation Lawsuit?

fighting retaliation claimsOur question today is, how do you avoid a retaliation lawsuit? The original complaint doesn’t have to have merit. It could be wrong or ill-conceived. It is still going to be difficult to get a claim of retaliation dismissed. You are going to have to show a non-retaliatory business reason for the termination... 

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Local Government and Legislative Prayer--Can They Pray or Not?

Two recent decisions on invocational prayer before local government Board meetings, filed in March of 2013, came out in opposite directions, but give some insight into the legal principles involved in determining whether Boards can properly sponsor a formal prayer before meetings. In Hudson v. Pittsylvania County, the federal district court for the Western District of Virginia issued an injunction against the prayers being offered. In Atheists of Florida v. City of Lakeland, the Eleventh Circuit found no constitutional violation. Different courts on different days, or consistent underlying principles?

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Part 6: What Reports or Observations Trigger an Investigation

investigationsIn our hypothetical, Tom and Sally reached out and made allegations to the mission leader. It seems fairly obvious this should have triggered an investigation. But we probably want to spend more time thinking about how investigations get started. When should you investigate? A number of situations may call for an investigation. 

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You Gave the Church Away?

You hate to see a case with a caption like God’s Hope Builders, Inc. v. Mount Zion Baptist Church, since it seems unlikely the lawsuit is what God would have hoped for. The Georgia Court of Appeals, on March 28, 2013, remanded this case with orders to the trial court to figure out, if it legitimately could, who the church members actually were.

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Part 3: Some Points About Your Policies - Protecting and Reporting

whistle blower policiesLet’s talk about policies—the types of policies you should have and how people can report without either personnel or the company running into problems with retaliation. Your conduct and discipline policies should also prohibit retaliation, and a separate whistle-blower policy is a good idea. An important piece in avoiding sticky situations is to have a complaint or grievance procedure. 

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Part 2: How Whistle-blowing is Protected and Why You Want it Anyway

Hi Brent, Back in law school, sometimes the prof would weave the entire semester’s legal principles into one diabolical hypothetical, and the single exam question would be your entire grade for the course. The general answer is that Mission Leader in your hypothetical is in big trouble, and the mission is probably now facing a lawsuit. 

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What is RLUIPA Substantial Burden on a Church, Anyway?

The Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA) makes the government meet a very tough standard for a land use regulation that imposes a substantial burden on religious exercise, including for churches. Obviously an important initial question is whether the regulation does impose a substantial burden. A Fourth Circuit case issued January 31, 2013, Bethel World Outreach Ministries v. Montgomery County Council, develops the “substantial burden” standard in a way that may help other churches facing zoning issues.

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Goals of Therapy Versus Goals of Investigation

Therapeutic processes and legal processes are different. Certain things are appropriate in the therapeutic process that are not acceptable in a legal process. Absolute factual accuracy is not the primary goal of therapy. In the world of an investigation, with livelihood and organizational survival on the line, impartial factual accuracy is very important.  

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Factors in Preventing Child Sexual Abuse

factors for child protectionFor abuse to happen, three factors must be present. First, there must be a perpetrator who desires to abuse. Second, there must be a child who will take the role of a victim. Third, there must be an environment that provides enough privacy for the perpetrator to act. If prevention and training can stop any one of the three factors necessary for child sexual abuse, the abuse will not happen.

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