Employment & Ethical Considerations for Churches


Re-Broadcast on December 4, 2017

You have been asked to represent a church, perhaps your own. Are you qualified? Who is actually the client?  How can you make the right ethical choices for yourself or your client? What aspects of representing religious institutions raise ethical red flags?

The applicability of general employment principles and discrimination concerns may differ considerably with religious institutions. Indeed, certain discrimination is expressly permissible. Explore some of the nuanced distinctions and how they apply to churches in real life.

This course is co-sponsored by Wolters Kluwer.

Key topics to be discussed:

•  Am I ethically permitted to represent a church?
•  Who is the client?
•  Advising the organization’s lawyers, e.g., members of the board of directors
•  Advising boards and directors regarding their ethical responsibilities toward the congregation
•  Counseling congregations and clergy on confidentiality and clergy-penitent privilege
•  Who is an employee and who is an independent contractor? What difference does it make?
•  Are churches subject to the FLSA? To what extent?
•  What can churches do to prevent discrimination claims?
•  What is the Ministerial Exception, and what are its limitations?
•  How does Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 apply to churches?

Date / Time: December 4, 2017

•  2:00 pm – 4:00 pm Eastern
•  1:00 pm – 3:00 pm Central
•  12:00 pm – 2:00 pm Mountain
•  11:00 am – 1:00 pm Pacific

Choose a format:

•  Live Video Broadcast/Re-Broadcast: Watch Program “live” in real-time, must sign-in and watch program on date and time set above. May ask questions during presentation via chat box. Qualifies for “live” CLE credit.
•  On-Demand Video: Access CLE 24/7 via on-demand library and watch program anytime. Qualifies for self-study CLE credit. On-demand versions are made available 7 business days after the original recording date and are view-able for up to one year.


barry-blackBarry Black has practiced primarily in the fields of civil and criminal litigation, contract negotiation and dispute resolution.

An ordained and practicing clergyman for thirty years until stepping down to form Nelson Madden Black in 2016, he has focused much of his practice on religious institutions and clergy, from employment issues to dispute resolution and criminal matters. He has extensive working knowledge of administration and governance issues. In particular, he has counseled and represented both religious institutions and ministers on clergy-related issues, from parsonage and taxes to intraorganizational disputes.

Mr. Black practiced law independently from 2011 to 2016. Prior to that he was a litigation partner at a New York City law firm. His clients have ranged from major banking institutions to individual investors in a multi-million-dollar interstate investor fraud scheme and federal RICO claims. In representing several hundred criminal defendants over the course of many years, Mr. Black is experienced in trial and post-verdict litigation. In 2016, he co-founded a law firm, Nelson Madden Black LLP, specifically to focus on serving the legal needs of the religious community.

Hofstra University, B.B.A. 1991
Hofstra University School of Law, J.D. 1994

Bar Admissions
New York State
United States District Court, Southern District of New York
United States District Court, Eastern District of New York

English, Yiddish. Proficient in Hebrew, working knowledge of Spanish.

CLE Accreditation:
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Accreditation Policy
myLawCLE will seek credit where attending attorneys are primarily licensed for all of its live webinars and live teleconferences, except in states which allow for reciprocity (see reciprocity section below). Credit for CLE in a self-study format is sought for in most states; however, some states do not allow for CLE credit to be earned in a self-study format (see the self-study section below). Many states typically decide whether a program qualifies for MCLE credit in their jurisdiction 4-8 weeks after the program application is submitted. For many live events, credit approval is not received prior to the program. Credit hours granted are subject to approval from each state.

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On-demand CLE
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