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Courts and Non-Minister Employee Disputes

Key point 8-10.2. 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.
Key point 9-07. The First Amendment allows civil courts to resolve internal church disputes so long as they can do so without interpreting doctrine or polity.

A New Mexico court ruled that the First Amendment did not prevent it from resolving a claim of wrongful termination by a teacher at a church-operated elementary school. An adult female (the "plaintiff") was employed as a teacher by a church-operated elementary school from 2009 to 2011. She alleged that she was sexually harassed by her supervisor in the summer of 2010. She reported her complaint to church officials, who issued a written reprimand to the supervisor. She claimed that her supervisor later retaliated against her, which ultimately ...

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Posted:
  • February 20, 2015

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