In Thousand Oaks, California, northwest of Los Angeles, two teachers who had faith they’d have jobs in September were sorely disappointed. After threatening to sue the school, the teachers now find themselves slapped with their own lawsuit, MSNC reported.
When the Godspeak Church bought the elementary school in 2009, it began requiring its teachers to fill out questionnaires that gave proof of their faith. The form asked for the name of the teachers’ churches, how often they attended services and what their pastor said about their beliefs. The teachers’ lawyers said their rights were violated and that under state equal employment laws, they had the right to refuse to answer the questionnaire.
However, the Godspeak Church and Little Oaks Elementary argued that all teachers knew filling out the questionnaire was a condition of employment. The school’s counsel says as a religious school, the school is exercising its First Amendment right to freedom of religious expression. He says this will win out over any of the state’s laws.
The lawyer representing the teacher is confident her clients are protected by the state, largely because the church purchased the school as a for-profit organization rather than a nonprofit. Its for-profit status means the school must adhere to California state equal employment laws.