| Court avoiding
cases on firing
WASHINGTON — The direction the courts will take
with other cases related to religious employment is far from clear, but
the Supreme Court’s Jan. 11 ruling opens a whole track of possibilities.
The decision in Hosanna-Tabor v. EEOC held that fired teacher Cheryl Perich
could not sue under federal disability discrimination laws, because the
Michigan Lutheran school where she worked considered her a “called”
Two cases involving Catholic dioceses that have been pending before the
Supreme Court ask related questions.
In Skrzypczak v. Roman Catholic Diocese of Tulsa, Monica Skrzypczak sued
the Oklahoma diocese for gender and age discrimination after being fired
from her job as director of the Department of Religious Formation. In
a second case, former math teacher Madeline Weishuhn sued the Diocese
of Lansing, Mich., alleging retaliation that violated anti-discrimination
Lower courts in both cases held that under the ministerial exception,
the decisions fell within the bounds of a church’s protection from
state interference in employment decisions.
On Jan. 17, the court without comment declined to take both cases, meaning
the rulings in favor of the dioceses stand.