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U.S. Supreme Court Rolls Back Employment Discrimination Protections for Teachers at Religious Schools

Supreme Court United StatesReligious School Teachers and Employment Discrimination Protections Under the Law

On July 7, 2020, the United States Supreme Court ruled by a margin of 7-2 that teachers at religious schools whose duties include religious instruction do not receive employment discrimination protections under federal law.

The two cases before the Court on this issue – – Our Lady of Guadalupe School v. Morrissey-Berru, and St. James School v. Darryl Biel – – involved Catholic school teachers in California who sued their employers for disability discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act, and age discrimination under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, respectively. 

The Court majority found that these teachers fell under the “ministerial exception” to employment discrimination laws, as they provided religious instruction to their students, despite the fact that most of their duties involved teaching secular subjects.  The dissent on the bench argued that the “ministerial exception” was being applied too broadly, and that it should only be applied to “faith leaders” such as priests and rabbis on solely religious discrimination claims. 

If your employer has discriminated or retaliated against you, contact Borrelli & Associates, P.L.L.C. immediately to schedule a consultation through one of our websites, or, or any of our phone numbers: (516) 248–5550, (516) ABOGADO, or (212) 679–5000.


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