Skip to comments.Separation of Church and State
Posted on 06/27/2011 7:13:27 AM PDT by marbren
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) sued the employer, asserting a retaliation claim under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The trial court dismissed the claim, based on the "ministerial exception" to the ADA. The 6th Circuit vacated the trial court's dismissal.
The ministerial exception is codified in the ADA (42 USC Section 12113(d)), but it is rooted in the 1st Amendment and has been applied to Title VII and other employment discrimination statutes. The EEOC's claim arose from the discharge of a teacher from a sectarian school, and the primary issue on appeal was whether the teacher was a "ministerial" employee subject to the ministerial exception. The 6th Circuit noted that "[t]he question of whether a teacher at a sectarian school classifies as a ministerial employee is one of first impression for this Court."
The 6th Circuit observed that "the overwhelming majority of courts that have considered the issue have held that parochial school teachers ... who teach primarily secular subjects do not classify as ministerial employees for purposes of the exception." The 6th Circuit also observed that "when courts have found that teachers classify as ministerial employees for purposes of the exception, those teachers have generally taught primarily religious subjects or had a central role in the spiritual or pastoral mission of the church." Applying those standards, the court concluded that the teacher at issue did not fall within the scope of the ministerial exception. The court noted that the teacher taught secular subjects, and spent only forty-five minutes out of her seven hour workday on religious-oriented activities. The court reasoned, "[t]he fact that [the teacher] participated in and led some religious activities throughout the day does not make her primary function religious."
(Excerpt) Read more at lawmemo.com ...
Should the Government police corrupt religious institutions?
The Supreme Court will decide.
An interesting case.
The facts presented do not support the claim the teacher was in a ministerial position. She was a lay teacher hired by a religious institution to do secular work.
The full article at the link describes her as a commissioned minister. Not sure what that means. But if she was a minister than yes the exception should apply.
It is also essential that the religion itself defines who is a minister and not the government. It is also important that religious practice not be defined by the government in such incidents.
Will the Supreme Court rule with the LCMS or EEOC?
Better question, what right does the Government have in determining what is and what isn't acceptable within a Religion? You mention disability, but what if the "disability" was the parish Priest's homosexuality and he was being "discriminated against" due to the clash between what the sodomites are pushing and what God commands?
I could easily see this scenario coming in the near future.
I agree, But, what about this teacher does she have any protection? Maybe she is just a victim for the greater good?
Well why bother at all the ADA is unconstitutional anyways.
Honestly marbren, I don't know what to tell you. After looking into the case, some details came to light that make this a little more cut and dried in my mind, but it's still distasteful all the same.
First of all the teacher, Cheryl Perich, was not only hired to teach secular classes but was also required to be a commissioned (not sure if this is the same as being ordained) minister and lead students in prayer and worship.
Second, the School was owned and operated by a Church, the Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School in Redford, Mich. Since this was not a secular School, no public funds were involved in the employment of Ms. Perich.
Third, when Ms. Perich became ill in 2004 and spent several months on disability, Perich was diagnosed and treated for narcolepsy and was able to return to work without restrictions. But she said the school at that point urged her to resign and, when she refused, fired her.
I may be reading that wrong, but from my impression, the teacher was allowed to return and then a short time later requested to resign and then fired. I'm not sure exactly what happened here but just how far into an employer's business practices can the EEOC delve before someone says that it's too much? I understand that we aren't to discriminate against people, but what about the employer? Is the Church stuck with this employee now, even if she can't do the work, just because she got narcolepsy?
In my mind, it's cut and dried that since the sickness precludes Ms. Perich from doing her job, she shouldn't be allowed to keep her job. Perhaps another position could be found for the woman by the Church that was running the School, but that's the Church's decision and not up to the Court. After all, the Church is providing the funding for the position anyway, why should the Court think it has dominance here? It sounds like to me that the "Separation of Church and State" that the liberals are so fond of quoting is only a one-way separation and only then when it will benefit them.
You may be right, I do not know much about the case either. I thought the doctor said she could resume her job but the church did not want her anymore. I would guess for money issues. What does her contract say? If it is a “called” position doesn’t the Holy Spirit decide when she should leave?
Should the doctor or the church decide?
I would guess for money issues.
Why would you say that? Rather it appears that the school board determined that narcolepsy in a teacher is a bad thing, and if they are going to pay someone for the job, they prefer a non-narcoleptic.
If it is a called position doesnt the Holy Spirit decide when she should leave?
What makes you so sure He hasn't; a disability incompatible with the profession, from nowhere?
That might stink but the deeper constitutional question is whether the government has the right to define “church.”
The LCMS isn't part of this lawsuit.