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Sex Discrimination in Schools

Court rules that nun cannot sue school and archdiocese.

Key point. The civil courts ordinarily will not interfere with the decisions of religious organizations to dismiss clergy or other church employees who perform ministerial functions.

A New Jersey court ruled that a Catholic school and archdiocese could not be sued on the basis of sex discrimination by a lay principal who was replaced by a nun. The lay principal had been employed by Catholic parochial schools for many years. The archdiocese closed the principal's school during a reorganization, and opened a new school. The principal was not selected to be principal of the new school. Rather, the archdiocese selected a nun on the ground that her status was important in carrying out the religious mission of the school. The former principal sued the archdiocese, claiming sex discrimination in violation of federal law. A court dismissed the lawsuit, noting that a church has a constitutionally ...

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Posted:
  • January 1, 1997

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