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Friday, April 12, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Opponent of Church Video Is Entitled to Benefits

(CN) - A church employee should not be denied unemployment benefits because she protested a church video about inappropriate physical contact, the Illinois Court of Appeals ruled.

The Illinois Department of Employment Security and the trial court denied the claim of Carmen Czajka, a 63-year-old woman who cleaned St. Liborius Church.

The pastor fired her after she objected to the "Talking About Touching" video that was mandated by the diocese.

Czajka told the pastor she was telling families not to support the video. The pastor said Czajka called the video "pornographic." She was fired after her vacation.

Judge Toomin reversed the decision because the pastor warned Czajka after she has spoken out against the video. Also, there is no evidence that Czajka was involved in parents' efforts to place anti-video flyers on parishioners' cars.

Also, Czajka did not violate her employers' policy when she called the video "pornography" and said she would "lay down her life" to prevent its showing.

"While a single flurry of temper between a worker and a supervisor may suffice to warrant discharge in an at-will relationship," the judge wrote, "it is not enough to deny unemployment benefits."

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