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Pastor, Church & Law

written by Richard R. Hammar, J.D., LL.M., CPA

Cases Not Recognizing the Ministerial Exception

Volume 3 . Chapter 8, Part 3 . § 8-10.2
Key Point8-10.2 Some courts have not recognized the ministerial exception, usually because the complainant was not a minister in either status or function, or was employed by a secular organization.

A few courts have not applied the ministerial exception, usually because the employee in question was not a "minister."

Case Studies

• A federal appeals court ruled that in some cases ministers can pursue sexual harassment claims against an employing church without violating the First Amendment. A woman served as associate pastor of a church for one year. Shortly after assuming this position, she claimed that the church's senior pastor began sexually harassing her and creating a "hostile work environment." Pastor Ruth made a formal complaint of ...

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