Unless there is a religious exemption in an area of employment law, religious charities are required to follow all the rules and regulations that apply to businesses.
3/8 – CPA Practice Advisor – 6 HR Must-Knows for Small Businesses in 2016 – These “must-knows” apply to churches and parachurch ministries just as much as small businesses. If you’re not familiar with these issues, your organization could trip over the rules and create big problems.
The issues described in the article and my brief comment:
Review the status of employees
New rules on the horizon from the federal Department of labor will increase the cutoff at which point a person can be considered exempt under the Fair Labor Standards Act. I think this will affect a huge number of charities
Understand the maximum on minimum wage
The minimum wage for each employee is the highest of the federal, state, or local rate that has been approved.
Make accommodations for moms
Lots of states have rules requiring reasonable accommodations for pregnant workers.
If you are not familiar with the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) you need to get up to speed.
Refrain from discouraging salary discussions
While you would prefer staff not to compare notes on salary, a growing body of laws and regulations indicate employers cannot discourage such discussion.
Respect religious beliefs or practices
There is an increasing trend of requiring employers to accommodate sincerely held religious beliefs of their staff. Example in a major court case was a national clothing store chain being required to allow a Muslim employee to wear a hijab over her head even though that violated the companies dress code. Sincerely held religious beliefs trump such things as dress codes.
If your charity is classified by the state as a religious organization and all your corporate documents are lined up correctly, this issue may be moot since you may be allowed to discriminate in hiring based on religion. Check with your HR advisors.
Check out the article for more explanations. If you are not immediately aware of what any of those points mean, might be time to do some research.