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Does ADA cover Churchworkers?
Jul 12, 2001

I have heard that the ADA does not cover employees of religious organizations. Is this true? May Churches discriminate against HIV+ employees?

Response from Ms. Breuer

Under Title I--Employment in the ADA, Sec. 101. Definitions inlcudes this text at (5)(B)Exceptions:

"The term "employer" does not include-- (ii) a bona fide private membership club (other than a labor organization) that is exempt from taxation under section 501(c) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986."

That language is generally construed to include churches, since churches are generally exempt from federal taxation.

I would hope, however, that a church would take the ADA as a MINIMUM standard in issues of non-discrimination and do AT LEAST what the ADA requires of secular employers.

You didn't ask for the opinion part, but you'll find that, among churches, the view I stated is widely-held.



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