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Disability Discrimination

The application of the ministerial exception to FMLA claims.

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.

Key point 8-06. The civil courts have consistently ruled that the First Amendment prevents the civil courts from applying civil rights laws to the relationship between a church and a minister.

* A federal court in Pennsylvania ruled that it was barred by the First Amendment from resolving a church music director's claims that her employing church discriminated against her on the basis of her disabilities, and violated the Family Medical Leave Act. A woman (Ann) performed ministerial responsibilities as the director of music for a church. As its director of music, the church considered Ann to be a non-ordained liturgical minister who was an integral part ...

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