Discrimination and religious-freedom law update: Director of music ministries is a minister

July 29, 2020:- Today the Appeals Court reaffirmed that the employment relationship between a religious organization and its ministers is beyond the reach of the anti-discrimination laws. The court held that the “ministerial exemption” covered the job in question, namely director of music ministries, and that the trial judge was right to dismiss the plaintiff’s age- and gender-discrimination case against her former employer.

As the ruling points out, the purpose of the exemption is to prevent courts depriving a religious organization of control over “the selection of those who will personify its beliefs.”

You can read the decision in Menard v. Archdiocese of Boston, which proponents of freedom of conscience and religion will welcome, by clicking here.

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Photo by Josh Sorenson on Pexels.com

Tick, tock: Justice delayed

Invidious discrimination does occur, and we are fortunate to have an agency tailor-made to address it, namely the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD). But the current four-year backlog of cases at the MCAD is hurting litigants on both sides, employers and employees alike. Justice delayed is justice denied, as the saying goes. And most reasonable people would agree that the MCAD should not handle cases outside its jurisdiction.

So what should we do about the problem? Check out my article in the current edition of the Massachusetts Bar Association’s Lawyers Journal¬†by clicking¬†here.

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Attorney Peter Vickery