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Div6
11th January 2012, 09:42 PM
http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/supreme-court-discrimination-laws-do-not-protect-certain-employees-of-religious-groups/2012/01/11/gIQAIbO4qP_story.html?hpid=z2



.....The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit had said the lawsuit could go forward. But other appellate courts have acknowledged a “ministerial exception” grounded in the First Amendment’s protection of religious freedom that precludes discrimination laws from intruding upon the employment relationship between religious institutions and their leaders.

Wednesday’s ruling marked the first time the Supreme Court had acknowledged such an exception. Requiring a religious group to accept or retain unwanted ministers, the justices said, deprives the group of “control over the selection of those will will personify its beliefs.”

Perich had claimed that the exception did not pertain to her. She joined the school as a “lay teacher” and then underwent religious training. Perich agreed that she became a “called” teacher in 2000 and sometimes taught religious classes along with secular classes such as math, and she occasionally led chapel services. She estimated that the “religious” part of her school day was only about 45 minutes.

But Roberts said there was little doubt that Perish was a member of church leadership. Such a determination “is not one that can be resolved by a stopwatch,” Roberts wrote.

He said Perich “held herself out as a minister of the Church by accepting the formal call to religious service,” and even claimed a special ministerial housing allowance on her taxes.

Roberts noted that the EEOC and Perich “foresee a parade of horribles” that could result from the court recognizing a ministerial exception to employment discrimination suits. Employees of religious institutions, for example, might be retaliated against for reporting criminal misconduct or testifying before a grand jury in a criminal trial.

He said those questions could be addressed when and if they arise. “We express no view on whether the exception bars other types of suits, including actions by employees alleging breach of contract or tortious conduct,” he wrote.

Full article at source.

Type4_PTS
11th January 2012, 10:25 PM
An occasional poster here on ESMB, Tikk (attorney Scott Pilutik) posted on his website some time ago as concerns this legal case:


Will Hosanna-Tabor v. EEOC Give Hope to the Headleys?

The “ministerial exception” is finally about to get its long overdue day in court, as the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on October 5, 2011 in the case of Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. EEOC, out of the 6th Circuit [pdf of decision here]. The case’s outcome promises to have significant impact, as ministerial exception cases have seem to be more and more commonplace, and the various Circuits are split on how to approach them. For our purposes, the outcome could potentially affect three cases involving Scientology litigants, namely actions brought by Claire and Marc Headley (separately), and Laura DeCrecenzo, all who were members of Scientology’s purportedly “elite” Sea Org, which meant that they all worked obscenely long and hard hours, and were treated horrifically. Before I get to why Hosanna-Tabor matters with respect to these Scientology cases, let me back up explain how Hosanna-Tabor came about.

See Full Post Here:
http://realitybasedcommunity.net/archive/2011/08/will-hosanna-tabor-v-eeoc-give-hope-to-the-headleys.php


Note: for those not familiar with Scott, he is listed in the #23 slot of "The Top 25 People Crippling Scientology", the epic series at the Village Voice:
http://blogs.villagevoice.com/runninscared/2011/08/ken_dandar_top_25_crippling_scientology.php

Type4_PTS
11th January 2012, 11:43 PM
Looking at some articles on this decision it doesn't particularly sound like a favorable decision (from our perspective). :no:

Although IANAL, so hope that I am wrong about this.

An example of what I'm talking about:

Ken Klukowski, director of FRC's (Family Research Council) Center for Religious Liberty, said:


"President Obama's EEOC argued that the Constitution provides no special protection for churches regarding their ministers, and ordered the church to reinstate the minister-teacher. But the Supreme Court unanimously held that there is a ministerial exception to federal employment laws in the Establishment Clause and the Free Exercise Clause, that the ministerial exception applies in this case and therefore that the federal government has no power to order the church to take her back.
"We are pleased that the Supreme Court rejected the Obama administration's profoundly troubling claim of power over churches, and glad to see that the Supreme Court has stayed out of the Lutheran Church's affairs and allowed its internal rules as a body of believers to stand."
http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/frc-applauds-supreme-court-ruling-in-hosanna-tabor-case-137121153.html


EDIT: On the other hand.........there is this:


The court also noted in a footnote that the ministerial exception is an affirmative defense to a lawsuit, not a jurisdictional bar. It also added that it expressed no opinion on whether this exception would bar “other types of suits, including actions by employees alleging breach of contract or tortious conduct by their religious employers.”

For religious employers, that last clause means you should probably expect to see lawsuits by employees brought under these state claims, rather than the employment discrimination claims in the past.
http://www.ctemploymentlawblog.com/2012/01/articles/breaking-u-s-supreme-court-supports-fairly-broad-ministerial-exception-to-anti-discrimination-laws/

So, maybe the decision IS favorable afterall? :unsure:

Need an attorney! :help2:

Albion
23rd January 2012, 02:09 PM
Sorry, I'm not an attorney: but I've given my guess
as to what this ruling means in the context of Scientology
in my latest posting at Infinite Complacency (http://infinitecomplacency.blogspot.com/2012/01/supreme-court-confirms-ministerial.html).

RogerB
23rd January 2012, 02:51 PM
Looking at some articles on this decision it doesn't particularly sound like a favorable decision (from our perspective). :no:

Although IANAL, so hope that I am wrong about this.

An example of what I'm talking about:

Ken Klukowski, director of FRC's (Family Research Council) Center for Religious Liberty, said:


"President Obama's EEOC argued that the Constitution provides no special protection for churches regarding their ministers, and ordered the church to reinstate the minister-teacher. But the Supreme Court unanimously held that there is a ministerial exception to federal employment laws in the Establishment Clause and the Free Exercise Clause, that the ministerial exception applies in this case and therefore that the federal government has no power to order the church to take her back.
"We are pleased that the Supreme Court rejected the Obama administration's profoundly troubling claim of power over churches, and glad to see that the Supreme Court has stayed out of the Lutheran Church's affairs and allowed its internal rules as a body of believers to stand."
http://www.prnewswire.com/news-relea...137121153.html


EDIT: On the other hand.........there is this:


The court also noted in a footnote that the ministerial exception is an affirmative defense to a lawsuit, not a jurisdictional bar. It also added that it expressed no opinion on whether this exception would bar “other types of suits, including actions by employees alleging breach of contract or tortious conduct by their religious employers.”

For religious employers, that last clause means you should probably expect to see lawsuits by employees brought under these state claims, rather than the employment discrimination claims in the past.
http://www.ctemploymentlawblog.com/2...mination-laws/

So, maybe the decision IS favorable afterall? :unsure:

Need an attorney! :help2:

Type4,

Cited above are two different points of law :biggrin: One has to read each carefully as to what they address :biggrin:

The second scenario you cite above means suit can be brought against religious organizations on proper grounds.

The first case you cite simply addresses the point that you can't sue a church for discrimination based on religious grounds. There are all kinds of legal "logic" behind that ruling . . . which, when one looks at it in the context of the US Constitution and the nature of Churches as employers makes sense . . . just as, equally, the second case cited does.

This because they deal with different points of law relating to different subjects and issues.

Rog

Man de la Mancha
23rd January 2012, 11:43 PM
Depending on how specifically the exception is defined, this decision will be challenged to determine whether it applies to certain situations; for example, those involving illegal or dishonest conduct, or conduct at odds with the very concept of "religion". These challenges will come from people who otherwise might not have standing to air specifics in open court. Think of the possibilities.

I'm just thinking off the top of my head here. I haven't read the actual decision or done any research. Constitutional law attorneys/experts please chime in.