Supreme Court rules many parochial school teachers not protected from employer discrimination

January 11, 2012
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Former Lutheran school teacher Cheryl Perich in front of Supreme Court in October. Today the Court ruled against her in her claim that she was wrongfully dismissed.

On October 5, 2011, TeenJury reported on oral arguments in Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, et al.  In this case, Cheryl Perich, a teacher and minister, claimed she was terminated after a medical leave, which is in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.  The church, however, argued that First Amendment bars the government from interfering in the employment decisions between a religious organization and its ministers.  Previously, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that since most of Ms. Perich’s duties were teaching non-religious classes, she did not qualify for such a legal exemption.  Today, the Supreme Court disagreed.  In a unanimous verdict, the justices ruled that Ms. Perich was a recognized religious leader at the church, and as such, the government could not interfere with the church and its employment decisions.  In other words, Ms. Perich was not protected by the same worker protections as teachers in public schools.

What do you think?

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