March 28, 2011

Supreme Court to Decide Groundbreaking Church Employment Case

Image: Supreme Court to Decide Groundbreaking Church Employment Case

Today the Supreme Court said it would decide a groundbreaking First Amendment case concerning the right of churches and other religious employers to freely choose the people who will lead their congregations, instruct their faithful, and speak for the church.

The lower courts agree that these employees cannot sue their employers when that would put the courts in the position of second-guessing the church’s choice of its religious leaders—a rule known as the “ministerial exception”. But the Supreme Court has never before ruled on such a case, and the lower courts are divided over how far the rule extends and which employees are subject to it.

For more information read our press release or the case fact sheet.

  • mike fogarty

    HOSANNA-TABOR EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN CHURCH AND SCHOOL v. EEOC

    How could nine judges the dream team of law blow it?

    The question was never a matter of religion.

    There was no medical challenge to an illness on the record.

    The person hired to replace the teacher was a lay contract.

    When notified of the intent to return the response was she had been replaced until the end of the year. She was not medically ready to return as per school.

    They offered medical insurance assistance not to fight them.

    Why go any where else?
    The court did not need to go anywhere else no religion has come into the fight and the war is over.
    Why did the court start a new one?

    1- No dispute on illness
    2- replaced by lay person contract for remainder of
    school year
    3- teacher told do not return, not medically ok as to
    School, if challenge we will not pay medical
    insurance assistance
    4- teacher returns with medical letter- not challenged
    at meeting by any professional medical opinion
    5- teacher fired for not following church tenets

    Teacher wins!
    Medical problem-proof
    Financial dispute only
    A- School choice to hire lay replacement on
    long term contract.
    B- School choice to offer medical assistance
    and threaten to take if agreement not
    taken. The teacher chilled by threat
    Lawyer need because their actions

    No medical proof of failure to return to duty.
    This was never a religious battle but a financial one.
    School actions caused dispute to escalate based on budget alone.