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legalgems, Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
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Our church wants to ask a pastor to come but they are putting

Customer Question

Our church wants to ask a pastor to come but they are putting a requirement that his wife come as well. The candidate has mentioned to me that he feels that this is a violation of EEOC. I believe he's correct.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  legalgems replied 1 year ago.
The EEOC does not apply to clergy:Courts have held, based on First Amendment constitutional considerations, that clergy members cannot bring claims under the federal employment discrimination laws, including Title VII, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Equal Pay Act, and the Americans with Disabilities Act, because “[t]he relationship between an organized church and its ministers is its lifeblood.”[50] This “ministerial exception” comes not from the text of the statutes, but from the First Amendment principle that governmental regulation of church administration, including the appointment of clergy, impedes the free exercise of religion and constitutes impermissible government entanglement with church authority.[51] Thus, courts will not ordinarily consider whether a church’s employment decision concerning one of its ministers was based on discriminatory grounds, although some courts have allowed ministers to bring sexual harassment claims.[52]The ministerial exception applies only to those employees who perform essentially religious functions, namely those whose primary duties consist of engaging in church governance, supervising a religious order, or conducting religious ritual, worship, or instruction.[53] The exception is not limited to ordained clergy,[54] and has been applied by courts to others involved in clergy-like roles who conduct services or provide pastoral counseling. However, the exception does not necessarily apply to everyone with a title typically conferred upon clergy (e.g., minister).[55] In short, in each case it is necessary to make a factual determination of whether the function of the position is one to which the exception applies. That is from the EEOC's website here: