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Former School Counselor’s Discrimination Claims Barred by Ministerial Exception

A woman fired because of her same-sex marriage could not pursue remedies against a Catholic school under federal and state laws, court holds.

Key point 8-10.01. 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.

An Indiana federal court ruled that the ministerial exception barred it from resolving the discrimination claims of a school counselor who was fired from a Catholic school for entering into a same-sex marriage.

The plaintiff’s termination

A woman (the “plaintiff”) worked for a private Catholic school (the “school”) in Indianapolis, Indiana, for nearly 40 years. After the school learned of her same-sex marriage, it declined to renew her employment contract on the grounds that her marriage violated Catholic teachings.

At the time of her termination, the plaintiff worked as Co-Director of Guidance Counseling. The plaintiff sued the school and the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of ...

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Posted:
  • May 12, 2022

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