HR Management & Compliance

News Notes: Religious Employees Not Covered By Anti-Discrimination Laws

A California Court of Appeal has ruled that employment decisions made by religious institutions about ministerial employees, like clergy members, are not covered by state anti-discrimination laws. The case was brought by a female chaplain at Chapman University. The chaplain claimed that her hours were cut back in retaliation for reporting incidents of alleged sexual harassment, and she sued the Christian college for violating the state Fair Employment and Housing Act. But Chapman argued that it had an absolute right to make employment decisions about its ministers, and the court agreed. The First Amendment’s separation of church and state, the court ruled, precludes any judicial second-guessing of a church’s employment relationship with its clergy.