PITTSBURGH - A Christian college in Western Pennsylvania and a faith-based coalition can use a state-sponsored job site specifically to hire Christians, according to the settlement of a religious discrimination suit.

Attorneys for Geneva College in Beaver Falls and the Association of Faith-Based Organizations, a coalition in Springfield, Va., filed the federal suit over Pennsylvania's online CareerLink job-listing site in December. The state and federal governments were named as defendants.

The plaintiffs argued they were wrongly denied use of the employment service, which includes an Internet service called CareerLink. The service has a nondiscrimination policy barring job postings that require applicants to have particular religious backgrounds.

"The right of a religious organization to align itself with individuals of shared belief is as central to that organization's mission as other viewpoints are to nonreligious organizations," said Timothy J. Tracy, an attorney for the Christian Legal Society, which filed the suit along with the Alliance Defense Fund.

"Religious job requirements can't be singled out for exclusion from a public job listing simply because they are religious," Tracey said.

Attorneys for the U.S. Department of Labor and Pennsylvania's Department of Labor and Industry could not immediately be reached for comment yesterday. Court documents settling the suit on Thursday showed all parties agreed to it.

The settlement said Geneva could use the CareerLink site because the college did not receive federal Workforce Investment Act funding.