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Category Archives: Immunity/Affirmative Defense

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Submission of online application by Plaintiff authorizing prior employers to provide full details of past employment does not waive a mutual non-disparagement provision of a settlement agreement.

Posted in Immunity/Affirmative Defense
Assuming Shannon authorized the Church to speak with the Seminary, the Church nevertheless was bound to communicate in accordance with the terms of its Agreement. We conclude that in signing the authorization, Shannon did not unequivocally manifest the intent not to assert any of her rights under the Agreement. In other words, Shannon did not… Continue Reading

Defendant’s expressions of doubt that plaintiff could perform the job duties for a prospective employer were not protected by Tex. Lab. Code § 103, which makes employers immune from suit for describing the manner in which an employee performed her job duties for that employer.

Posted in Immunity/Affirmative Defense
Here, the Church did not present evidence of any statements to the Seminary relating to Shannon’s violation of any policy of the Church or failure to perform her job as required by the Church. The Church did not establish that Steane’s statement expressing doubts about Shannon’s ability to solicit donations for the Seminary was related… Continue Reading

Ministerial Exception is an affirmative defense, not a jurisdictional bar.

Posted in Immunity/Affirmative Defense
The Church moved only on the ministerial exception as a jurisdictional bar and did not move for summary judgment as to this affirmative defense. Accordingly, the trial court erred to the extent that it concluded it did not have subject matter jurisdiction over Shannon’s claims under the ministerial exception. We sustain Shannon’s fifth issue. Shannon… Continue Reading

Whether former employer disparaged plaintiff to prospective employer by stating (1) plaintiff not rehireable, (2) that it should be obvious there were issues with plaintiff because of settlement agreement, and (3) that plaintiff would not be able to perform job for prospective employer could be analyzed in purely secular terms and so did not implicate immunity under Ecclesiastical Exemption doctrine.

Posted in Immunity/Affirmative Defense
  The Church argues that it is immune from suit because “what is ‘disparaging’ involves subjective judgment through the eyes of the Church.” To the contrary, applying the plain meaning of the word “disparage,” a factfinder could determine whether the Church belittled Shannon or “reduce[d her] in esteem or rank” when, as alleged, (1) a Church… Continue Reading