Demkovich v. Saint Andrew the Apostle Parish (U.S.C.A. 7th Circuit, en banc, 2021)

Separation of Church & State
Civil Liberties
Separation of Church & State
Civil Liberties

At issue in this case is whether the First Amendment ministerial exception should be expanded to categorically bar any Title VII or other hostile work environment claims by clergy and other ministerial employees of religious organizations. The purpose of the exception is to ensure that faith-based organizations have full control in hiring, firing and disciplining employees who perform religious duties. ADL joined a legal brief rejecting this expansion. The brief asserts that such an expansion is not supported by the First Amendment because it is unnecessary to protect the religious autonomy and freedom faith-based employers. Indeed, it would violate the Establishment Clause by placing hundreds of thousands of employees at risk of workplace harassment and abuse, with no possibility of legal recourse.