U.S. Roman Catholic Archdioceses “At Will” Employment Patterns and Roman Catholic Social Teaching

Charles T. Tackney, Alexander Turøy

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperResearchpeer-review


    Theology of the workplace root cause analysis of employment practices by Roman Catholic archdioceses and dioceses in the United States indicates a systematic and near universal domestic policy commitment to “at will” employer dismissal prerogative in the workplace as direct or indirect employer. While this is valid U.S. employment law, comparative policy analysis indicates that most industrial nations follow a “just cause” practice, where employers are bound to prove just cause for dismissal of employees. In a peculiar contrast, “at will” is inconsistent with Roman Catholic social teachings (RCST) for the direct and indirect employer; it is inconsistent with the Church Code of Canon Law; it is at variance with U.S. Roman Catholic domestic employer advocacy by the bishops themselves. The outcome is a contradiction between teaching and practice, and the emergence of a dual- class employment regime: one of just cause employment for clergy, the other of a fundamentally contingent, often explicitly anti-union, domestic U.S. status for teachers, staff and other employees. Two exceptional archdioceses, however, practice justice in employment, as does the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference. To ensure RCST authenticity in employment, training of the U.S. hierarchy and clergy in RCST and human resource management seems indicated.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication date2016
    Number of pages39
    Publication statusPublished - 2016
    EventThe Academy of Management Annual Meeting 2016: Making Organizations Meaningful - Anaheim, United States
    Duration: 5 Aug 20169 Aug 2016
    Conference number: 76


    ConferenceThe Academy of Management Annual Meeting 2016
    Country/TerritoryUnited States
    Internet address


    • Management spirituality and religion
    • Theology of the workplace
    • Roman catholic social teaching
    • "At-Will" Employment
    • Authenticity
    • Root cause analysis

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