California Megachurch Faces Legal Issues Over Firing of Catholic Employees at Church’s School

Crossroads church fired 11 employees in 2010 because they did not have the same beliefs. Two of the ex-employees won a case before the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission but the EEOC apparently won't pursue the case further. (TERRY PIERSON, STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER, PE.COM)
Crossroads church fired 11 employees in 2010 because they did not have the same beliefs. Two of the ex-employees won a case before the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission but the EEOC apparently won’t pursue the case further. (TERRY PIERSON, STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER, PE.COM)

Four years after Corona’s Crossroads Christian Schools fired 11 employees for their religious beliefs, legal experts disagree as to whether the dismissals violated the law.

In May 2013, the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission found “reasonable cause to believe” that the conservative evangelical Christian school violated the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by dismissing the four teachers and seven other employees, most of whom are Catholic.

But the EEOC opted not to file a lawsuit, and the two fired employees who complained to the commission also haven’t sued.

The hiring and dismissal policy remains in place, Crossroads spokeswoman Kasey Husen said.

Leaders of the 863-student, kindergarten- through 12th-grade school and Crossroads Christian Church, which oversees the school, declined to comment on the policy or the EEOC’s findings.

The case pits the religious freedom of the school against the religious freedom of employees.

School officials contend that, as a ministry of the church, the school should expose students only to beliefs that are in line with church teachings. With more than 8,000 worshipers, Crossroads is one of the largest churches in Southern California.

Church officials said the school had long had rules requiring employees to adhere to certain religious beliefs and practices but did not strictly enforce the rules until the 2009-10 school year.

Employees also are required to attend a born-again, Protestant evangelical church.

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SOURCE: DAVID OLSON 
The Press Enterprise

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