Normally, religious employers can refuse to hire those who don’t share their religious beliefs. This issue is currently being litigated in Thousand Oaks. A California Christian school is suing two of its former employees in order to protect its right to hire only Christians. The Little Oaks School in Thousand Oaks was purchased in 2009 by Calvary Chapel. Calvary Chapel intended to operate the school, which was previously secular, as a Christian school. Because of a tight deadline, the school was organized as a for-profit entity rather than as a tax-exempt non-profit.
The school started requiring employees to answer questions about their religious beliefs and whether they attended church. According to the school’s headmaster, the school was establishing a Christian curriculum and wanted to ensure the teachers were of the Christian faith. Two preschool teachers refused to fill out the form and their contracts weren’t renewed. They threatened to sue the school. The school then sued the women and the law firm representing them, alleging that the California Fair Employment and Housing Act is unconstitutional when used to restrict a religious school’s hiring practices.
At issue is whether the for-profit Christian school can discriminate on the basis of religion. Under California law, employers cannot discriminate on the basis of religion generally. However, nonprofit religious groups can refuse to hire those that aren’t members of a certain religion.
At Liberty Law, Micha Star Liberty believes employees should not be discriminated against on the basis of their religious beliefs. However, at the same time, religious employers should be allowed to hire only those who share their beliefs. If you believe you have been discriminated against on the basis of religion in San Francisco, Hayward, Tracy or Fairfield, call Micha Star Liberty, San Francisco religion discrimination attorney at 415-896-1000.