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Supreme Court Reaffirms and Expands Ministerial Exception

What the ruling means for churches and religious organizations.

Supreme Court Reaffirms and Expands Ministerial Exception

In a 7-2 ruling issued on July 8, 2020, the United States Supreme Court ruled that the “ministerial exception” barred the civil courts from resolving employment discrimination lawsuits brought by former teachers against two Catholic schools. This article will review the facts of each case, summarize the Supreme Court’s ruling, and assess the relevance of the ruling to religious organizations.

Case No. 1: Teacher sues over age discrimination

For many years, a woman (the “Teacher”) was employed by a Catholic parochial school as a lay fifth or sixth grade teacher. She taught all subjects including religion.

The Teacher earned a BA in English with a minor in secondary education, and she holds a California teaching credential. While on the school faculty, she took religious education courses at the school’s request and was expected to attend faculty prayer services. ...

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Posted:
  • July 9, 2020

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