Parameswaran v. Mysorekar
09/22/2006: Federal court rules for Temple in overtime pay case, dismisses lawsuit
On September 22, 2006, federal judge Joseph Bianco dismissed a lawsuit brought by a religious employee of S&G client Hindu Temple Society of North America for various alleged labor violations. The court held:
"this Article III requirement is not met, then, no matter how interesting or significant the legal issue presented, the Court has no jurisdiction and is not permitted to proceed with the case."
Parameswaran v. Mysorekar, No. 05-CV-3162 (E.D.N.Y. 2006).
04/18/2006: "God's Work"
Religious groups are more likely to run into problems when they look before they leap, says Roman Storzer, a Washington, D.C., lawyer who represents religious institutions. "Churches are not as sophisticated as commercial entities," he says. "They're used to preaching to the community, not doing taxes and payroll." He recently represented a Hindu temple in Flushing, N.Y., which set up a canteen to serve food to worshippers. Last summer, a worker at the canteen sued the temple for overtime wages. While the worker ultimately withdrew the suit, it's an example of the obstacles that might come with the territory, he says.
Colleen DeBaise, SmartMoney. Read the story here.
07/28/2005: S&G represents Hindu Temple against religious employee lawsuit
As the lawsuit itself describes, the religious cooks prepare naivedyam (cooked offerings) for daily rituals as well as special prasadams for Hindu festivals. These are all part of non-profit religious activity that has a much different character than frying up burgers at McDonalds.
The Temple will defend itself in this matter. These protections are especially important where minority religions, such as Hinduism in the United States, are concerned. We cannot always count on government bureaucrats making the right decisions for activities that they may not well understand.
Religion and America, Letter to the Editor, The Indian Express (Aug. 5, 2005).
"We believe that it's going to be thrown out very quickly," said Roman Storzer, a lawyer that is representing the temple. Storzer added that the labor laws cited in the lawsuit cover commercial, not religious workers. "It's not a restaurant. Nobody comes in off the street who's not worshipping there," Storzer said.
New Lawsuit Alleges Temple Mistreated Cooks and Priests, Queens Chronicle (July 28, 2005).