Friday, June 30, 2017

Diocese and Parishes May Be Single Employer For Purposes of Title VII

In Clement v. Roman Catholic Diocese of Erie, (WD PA, June 16, 2017), a Pennsylvania federal magistrate judge refused to dismiss a Title VII sexual hostile work environment claim against two Catholic parishes and the Catholic Diocese of Erie.  Plaintiff served as Facilitator of Religious Education Programs in three parishes. In the case, the Diocese contended that plaintiff was employed only by the parishes, and the parishes claimed that individually each does not employ at least 15 individuals, the minimum number required before Title VII applies.  The court concluded that at this early stage of the litigation, evidence of the dual chain of command over defendant's position and the intermingling of parish and Diocese business affairs raises a reasonable expectation that discovery could reveal sufficient evidence to treat the Diocese and parishes as a single employer.  GoErie reports on the decision.