Thursday, January 31, 2013

Ministerial Exception Ends Wrongful Termination Lawsuit Against United Methodist Agency

In Mills v. Standing General Commission on Christian Unity, (NY Sup. Ct., Jan. 29, 2013), a New York state trial court dismissed a breach of contract wrongful termination lawsuit that had been filed by a former Associate General Secretary of Dialogue and Interfaith Relations for a program-related agency of The United Methodist Church.  The court concluded that the ministerial exception doctrine applies because plaintiff had a role in conveying the Church's message and carrying out its mission.  Deciding the case would require the court to interpret the Church's Book of Discipline. Furthermore plaintiff failed to show that there was an employment contract between him and defendant Thompson Reuters News & Insight reported on the decision.