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A Teacher Was Not Barred from Suing a Christian College for Discrimination

The school could not use the “ministerial exception” as a defense against the suit, says Massachusetts court.

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.

A Massachusetts court ruled that the ministerial exception did not bar a teacher at a religious college from litigating a discrimination claim.


In 2017, a tenured associate professor (the plaintiff) of social work at a Christian College (the “college”) in Massachusetts sued the college. She claimed the college unlawfully retaliated against her for her vocal opposition to the school’s policies and practices regarding individuals who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer by denying her application for promotion to full professor, despite the fact that the faculty senate unanimously recommended her for the promotion.

The Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts ...

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  • August 17, 2021

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