Employment Law Questions? Ask an Employment Lawyer.
Thank you for contacting Just Answer. I look forward to assisting you. I may have switched you out of "chat." If I did, it's because I have had technical problems chatting here. I hope that you don't mind!
While we write back and forth, please keep in mind that I do not know what you already know or don't know, or with what you need help, unless you tell me. Sometimes I'm unable to read your entire question until AFTER I write back to you.
Although it's usually five minutes, sometimes there can be a delay of an hour or more in between my answers because I may be researching the answer to your question, helping other customers, or taking a break. If we are writing late at night, I may have to go to sleep and resume helping you the following morning.
I need the following information before I can answer your question:
Can you please tell me what US state or country is involved in your question? I cannot see it on my screen right now. I may need to research your state-specific law.
I'll look forward to hearing from you,
Jane Doe Deer
The question you raised is harder than you may imagine.
Nationwide, state and federal courts have ruled that in some matters, religious organizations can make their own rules about employees that would be illegal if the employer was not part of a church or religious organization. For example, a church may decide that it will only hire people of its own faith. Or a particular organization may employ only men. Or a church may require employees to engage or not engage in certain type of behavior - for example, it may be legally all right for a church to fire an employee who has an abortion.
I can think of policy reasons regarding why a church/religious organization may have the rule you mention for their missionaries. Whether or not this type of rule has been litigated would take quite a bit of legal research. It's not something I can answer off the top of my head.
You asked me to cite laws - the starting place for legal research would, of course, be the First Amendment to the US Constitution. That's the starting point for looking at whether there are ANY limits at all on what rules a church can make for its employees (on the theory that a missionary is a type of employee, even if a volunteer, and even if paying for the privilege of being a missionary).
If you would like detailed legal research, I will have to opt out and perhaps someone else will be willing to do the research.
Please feel free to write back, or click "accept" if I have answered your question.
DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.
The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).