Friday, June 02, 2017

Hebrew Teacher's ADA Suit Barred By Ministerial Exception Doctrine

Grussgott v. Milwaukee Jewish Day School, Inc., (ED WI, May 30, 2017), a Wisconsin federal district court held that the ministerial exception doctrine requires dismissal of a suit by a teacher in a Jewish Day School who claims she was fired in violation of the Americans With Disabilities Act.  The court concluded that plaintiff, who taught Hebrew to second and third graders, and had taught an integrated Hebrew-Jewish Studies curriculum, qualifies as a "minister" for purposes of the ministerial exception doctrine.  In rejecting her argument that her teaching of Hebrew was cultural, not religious, the court nevertheless commented that "a religious organization could abuse this deference by claiming that certain apparently secular activities are actually religious."