Tuesday, August 02, 2016

Ministerial Exception Claim Requires Case-Specific Factual Analysis

In Collette v. Archdiocese of Chicago, (ND IL, July 29, 2016), an Illinois federal district court refused to dismiss an employment discrimination suit brought by plaintiff who for 17 years was employed as the Director of Worship and Director of Music at Holy Family Parish in Inverness, Illinois.  He was dismissed when it was learned he was planning to marry his same-sex partner.  When he sued claiming violations of federal, state and local law, defendants moved to dismiss on the basis of the ministerial exception doctrine.  They argued that he should be seen as a "ministerial" employee based solely on his titles. The court refused to dismiss solely on the pleadings, holding that whether plaintiff is a "ministerial" employee requires a fact-specific analysis.