Jump directly to the content

Ministerial Exemption Bars Court's Ruling in Music Director's Dismissal

Federal Court unable to resolve claim that director's dismissal was based on age or disability.

Key point 8-10.1. The civil courts have consistently ruled that the First Amendment prevents the civil courts from applying employment laws to the relationship between a church and a minister.

A federal appeals court ruled that it was barred by the "ministerial exception" from resolving a church music director's claim that he was dismissed in violation of federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination based on age or disability. A church's music director (the "plaintiff") oversaw the music department's budget and expenditures, managed the sound systems and maintained the sound equipment, music room, and music area in the sanctuary, and rehearsed with members of the choir and accompanied them on the piano during services while running the soundboard. The plaintiff's employment was terminated by the church, and he filed a lawsuit claiming that his termination was in violation of the Age ...

Join now to access this member-only content

Become a Member

Already a member? for full access.

Related Topics:
Posted:
  • February 27, 2014

Related ResourcesVisit Store

50-State Religious Freedom Laws Report
50-State Religious Freedom Laws Report
A review of state laws and court decisions affecting church leaders.
Pastor, Church & Law, Fifth Edition
Pastor, Church & Law, Fifth Edition
Learn which local, state, and federal laws apply to religious organizations.
12 Law & Tax Guidelines for New Ministers
12 Law & Tax Guidelines for New Ministers
Essential knowledge to ensure legal and financial clarity and integrity in ministry.
Your Guide to Employee Handbooks
Your Guide to Employee Handbooks
If updated regularly, an employee handbook can offer valuable legal protection against civil court claims made by disgruntled staff members.