Sunday, January 15, 2012

Supreme Court Endorses "Ministerial Exception"

On Wednesday the Supreme Court decided that that First Amendment protected a religiously-affiliated elementary school from having to defend claims that it fired a teacher for reasons that discrimination on the basis of her disability. The Court concluded that because the teacher's job included religious instruction, the school's right to religious freedom precluded the application of antidiscrimination law. This decision is reportedly the first time that the Supreme Court has affirmed the concept of a "ministerial exception" to employment discrimination laws, though lower courts have applied this concept in the past -- including in cases involving discrimination on the basis of sex.