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ScottyMacEsq
ScottyMacEsq, Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
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Experience:  Licensed Texas General Practice Attorney
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I work catholic church in the Joliet diocese in Illinois. I

Customer Question

Good Afternoon.
I work for a catholic church in the Joliet diocese in Illinois. I am a music director - full time employed since March of 2015.
the pastor is looking to hire a person to direct the choir. That is fine. However, he wishes to have a meeting tomorrow afternoon- Friday Feb 12th - with the prospective person (she has not been hired yet). During this meeting he is planning on planning liturgies for holy week and easter as well as looking at the music repertoire of the parish - and - discussion job descriptions and responsibilities.
My question is - are my rites being violated is openly discussing job descriptions and responsibilities openly like this? Even more so - discussing this with this potential choir director who at this point, is nothing more than a parishioner?
I would think any discussion about job responsibilities would have already been had between he and I prior to interviewing anyone for the position but that has not happened. I do not plan to have this "parishioner" for right now, sit there in this meeting and help decide what my job will or will not consist of.
What are my rights? Should I participate in this meeting or not? All too often I think the church thinks they are above the law and I believe this is part of the problem here. The pastor seems to think this should be an open discussion - I do not. Please advise.
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  ScottyMacEsq replied 9 months ago.

Thank you for using JustAnswer.

I am sorry to hear about your situation. Unfortunately, unless you can show that you're being discriminated based upon race, age, gender, or disability, you probably have no case against the church, and your rights would not be violate here.

Illinois is an "at will" employment state. At-will employment means that without a contract, you have no contractual or other right to employment with the company. The company is entitled to fire you for any reason: a good reason, a poor reason, or no reason at all--as long as the company does not fire you for an illegal reason (race, gender, age, religion, etc...). a But it extends beyond firing, to hiring, promotions, demotions, wage cuts and raises, disciplinary actions, and even scheduling. Unless you can show that this was done in violation of a contract, union agreement, or a clear violation of an unambiguous and binding clause against the employer, or that it was done because of some minority status (age, race, gender, religion, disability) that you have, then they do have this discretion. Now given that it's a church and the 1st amendment does give freedom of expression of religion, the church can even discriminate against you based on religion.

In short, they can do this, can require that you be there, etc... Whether or not you should, that's up to you, but if I were you I'd want some input into the matter.

I know this is probably not what you wanted to hear, but it is the law. I hope that clears things up anyway. If you have any other questions, please let me know. If not, and you have not yet, please rate my answer AND press the "submit" button, if applicable. Please note that I don't get any credit for my answer unless and until you rate it a 3, 4, 5 (good or better). Thank you, ***** ***** luck to you!

Expert:  ScottyMacEsq replied 9 months ago.

Did you have any other questions before you rate this answer?

Expert:  ScottyMacEsq replied 9 months ago.

If there's nothing else, please rate this answer. Please note that I don't get any credit for the time and effort that I spent on this answer unless and until you rate it a 3, 4, 5 (good or better) AND press the "submit" button, if applicable. If you feel that I have gone above and beyond in this answer (my average answer is about 10 minutes) bonuses are greatly appreciated. Thank you, ***** ***** luck to you!

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Expert:  ScottyMacEsq replied 9 months ago.

I see that you have not responded in some time. Please note that this question is still open until you rate it. I believe that I have answered your question, but if you have any other questions, please let me know.If not, and you have not yet, please rate my answer. Please note that I don't get any credit for my answer unless and until you rate it a 3, 4, 5 (good or better). Thank you, ***** ***** good luck to you!

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