Readers of this newsletter may have seen in the news that on July 2, 2015 – the week after the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell v. Hodges that legalized gay marriage nationwide, Brad Avakian, Oregon’s BOLI (Bureau of Labor and Industries) Commissioner, issued his Final Order in a BOLI case entitled In the Matter of Melissa Elaine Klein, dba Sweet Cakes by Melissa.
Oregon and most other states have laws that prohibit employment discrimination based on sexual orientation or marital status. However, Oregon has a statutory exemption to these laws for churches and other religious institutions.
John Kaempf, the author of this newsletter, successfully defended a lawsuit filed by a student expelled by a religious high school, whose parents also sued the school. The student was expelled due to repeated instances of misconduct at school. He sought damages for the alleged “loss of value” due to not graduating from the school and for the allegedly resulting loss of college scholarships.
John Kaempf, the author of this newsletter, successfully defended a lawsuit against a Catholic school and its private investigator brought by a religion teacher at the school. The unmarried teacher was fired for admittedly having premarital sex in violation of Catholic doctrine. The defendant school hired the co-defendant investigator to evaluate the plaintiff’s claim that she was raped by a co-worker.
Same sex marriage is now legal nationwide pursuant to a 2015 ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court in the Obergefell case. However, Oregon religious entities should keep in mind that, pursuant to an Oregon statute, they are not required to hire or continue to employ someone in a same sex marriage. They cannot be held liable for employment discrimination based on such actions if they have a “bona fide religious belief” against same sex marriage….
1. A summary of the Sweetcakes ruling by BOLI and its rejection of the Christian bakers’ First Amendment free exercise of religion defense On July 2, 2015 – the week after the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, 135 Supreme Court 2584 (2015), which legalized gay marriage nationwide (as separately discussed in this newsletter) – Brad Avakian, Oregon’s BOLI Commissioner, issued his Final Order in a BOLI case entitled In the Matter of…
Churches and religious schools are periodically faced with the dilemma of having to terminate a priest, pastor, teacher, or other employee and then answer questions from the congregation and other employees about why the person was let go. Churches and religious schools can feel torn between wanting to explain what happened and fearing civil liability for defamation (a false, unprivileged statement that causes injury to another) to a person who is upset that they were…