Recently, the Supreme Court heard a case related to two Catholic schools and whether or not employees are allowed to sue their employers for discrimination. One case involved a worker who alleged disability discrimination after she disclosed her breast cancer diagnosis, and another case revolved around a teacher who alleged age discrimination. Here, the Los Angeles discrimination attorneys at the Kaufman Law Firm want to discuss the Supreme Court decision and how it can affect employees throughout the state.
Essentially, the two cases we briefly mentioned above deal with whether or not employees can file a lawsuit against a religious institution for discrimination. In 2012, the Supreme Court decided that the Constitution prevents “ministers” from suing their churches for employment discrimination. At the time, the Court stated that the required separation of church and state meant that religious groups “must be allowed to hire and fire individuals who serve as teachers or messengers of their faith, without court interference.” However, the Court did not specifically define who could be counted as a minister.
It seems that this decision allows religious organizations to broadly determine who is a minister for the purposes of termination. In these two cases, the organizations that faced discrimination lawsuits claimed that the teachers were, in fact, ministers of the faith, thereby preventing them from filing a discrimination lawsuit.
In a 7 to 2 decision, the Court agreed.
Justice Samuel Alito wrote the majority opinion and said: “The religious education and formation of students is the very reason for the existence of most private religious schools, and therefore the selection and supervision of the teachers upon whom the schools rely to do this work lie at the core of their mission.”
In her dissent, Justice Sonia Sotomayor cautioned that as many as 100,000 employees in the US could lose their right to contest discrimination in the workplace.
In general, the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) says that an employee in California cannot be discriminated against in the workplace due to any of the following reasons:
This decision essentially allows religious organizations, including churches and schools, to define who is a minister. This could lead to an increase in terminations in religious organizations for what would be considered discriminatory reasons in other areas of employment in the state.
If you or somebody you love has faced discrimination in the workplace, contact an attorney as soon as possible. At the Kaufman Law Firm, Los Angeles employment law attorneys will conduct their view of your case and work to determine whether you are entitled to compensation for what has happened. This could include:
Your job is more than just a source of income. It is a major part of your lifestyle. If you have been the victim of wrongful termination, wrongful demotion or any kind of discriminatory business practices, it is time to take action and contact a Ventura employment law attorney that can help. Attorney Matthew A. Kaufman and the team at The Kaufman Law Firm bring experience and a vast arsenal of legal resources to help clients recover the money they deserve.
To learn more, contact our Westlake Village or Los Angeles law office today and schedule an initial consultation to discuss your case.