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http://ssrn.com/abstract=2178235
 
 

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The Church-Clergy Relationship and Anti-Discrimination Law


Nicholas Hatzis


University of Oxford - Faculty of Law; City Law School

November 19, 2012

Ecclesiastical Law Journal (Forthcoming)
Oxford Legal Studies Research Paper No. 71/2012

Abstract:     
Should antidiscrimination norms apply to the relationship between a religious group and its clergy? In Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church v EEOC the US Supreme Court affirmed the existence of a “ministerial exception” which bars discrimination claims by ministers of religion against their church. In 2005 the House of Lords had reached the opposite conclusion, ruling, in Percy v Board of National Mission of the Church of Scotland, that the decision to dismiss an ordained minister was not a spiritual matter falling outside the scope of secular law. This article examines the constitutional foundations of the ministerial exception, argues that Percy ignored important aspects of church autonomy and suggests that courts should consider creating a narrowly tailored rule exempting decisions to appoint or remove clergy from the scope of anti-discrimination law.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 20

Keywords: employment discrimination, ministers of religion, freedom of religion, ecclesiastical law, First Amendment, Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church v EEOC, Percy v Board of National Mission of the Church of Scotland

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Date posted: November 20, 2012 ; Last revised: February 4, 2013

Suggested Citation

Hatzis, Nicholas, The Church-Clergy Relationship and Anti-Discrimination Law (November 19, 2012). Ecclesiastical Law Journal (Forthcoming); Oxford Legal Studies Research Paper No. 71/2012. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2178235

Contact Information

Nicholas Hatzis (Contact Author)
University of Oxford - Faculty of Law ( email )
Lady Margaret Hall
Oxford, Oxfordshire OX2 6QA
United Kingdom
City Law School ( email )
Northampton Square
London, EC1V OHB
United Kingdom
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