Published January 11, 2012
WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court says a church school cannot be sued in court over an employee's discrimination complaint.
The high court's unanimous decision Wednesday overturned an earlier ruling by the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Courts normally have ruled the First Amendment's guarantee of freedom of religion shields churches and their operations from the reach of anti-discrimination laws when dealing with employees of religious institutions.
But the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission sued the Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School of Redford, Mich., on Cheryl Perich's behalf after she was fired.
Perich, a teacher, had complained of discrimination under the Americans With Disabilities Act.
The appeals court allowed the lawsuit to move forward, saying Perich's work was more secular than religious.
The high court disagreed.