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Clergy—Removal

The "ministerial exception" to employment discrimination laws prevented a church from resolving an age discrimination lawsuit.

Key point 2-04.1. Most courts have concluded that they are barred by the First Amendment guarantees of religious freedom and nonestablishment of religion from resolving challenges by dismissed clergy to the legal validity of their dismissals.
Termination

* A federal appeals court ruled that the 'ministerial exception' to employment discrimination laws prevented it from resolving an age discrimination lawsuit brought by a church music director against his church. A church employed a man (Richard) as its music director and organist. The job description for the position required him 'to assist the office of divine worship in preparing and celebrating various diocesan liturgies' and 'in planning and celebrating liturgical events as requested.' The description of his church job required him to play the organ for masses and other events, including weddings and funerals, and, in his capacity ...

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Richard R. Hammar is an attorney, CPA and author specializing in legal and tax issues for churches and clergy.

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Posted:
  • September 1, 2006

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