April 11, 2018

ILF lawyers defended labor rights of a pastor of one of Ukrainian churches

In October 2016 the bishop fired for absenteeism a pastor who worked with church congregations of Kharkiv, Kremenchuk and Poltava. Opposed to the dismissal, the pastor asked ILF for legal assistance.

To win the labor dispute, ILF partner Sergey Silchenko sought to prove two interrelated facts in court. Firstly, the pastor had a valid reason for being absent from work – he was attending a refresher course abroad. And secondly, his absence was authorized by the congregation council, which, along with the bishop and church administration, governs the activities of the church.

Above all, the pastor serves his community, not the bishop. This is what we resolved to establish in court. In addition, the church administration violated the very procedure of dismissal: they failed to secure the congregation’s consent for the dismissal and to return the pastor’s work record, and gave him no opportunity to properly explain his absence.

The trial and appellate courts ruled to reinstate the pastor and awarded him average salaries earned during the period of absence. Our client will shortly be serving his congregation once again.