Our Lady of Guadalupe School v. Morrissey-Berru

Summarized by:

  • Court: U.S. Supreme Court Certiorari Granted
  • Area(s) of Law: First Amendment
  • Date Filed: December 18, 2019
  • Case #: 19-267
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: 769 F App'x 460 (9th Cir 2019)
  • Full Text Opinion

Whether the Religion Clauses prevent civil courts from adjudicating employment discrimination claims brought by an employee against his or her religious employer, where the employee carried out important religious functions.

Petitioners operate private Catholic schools dedicated to education of traditional Church doctrine and require all teachers implement religious curriculum into their classrooms. Respondents each applied the required curriculum but failed to satisfy other standards set forth by school administration. After Petitioners declined to renew Respondents’ teaching contracts, Respondents brought complaints to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and subsequently filed suit in district court. The district court found in favor of Petitioners’ motions for summary judgment, holding that the ministerial exception identified in Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church & School v. EEOC (2012), and supported by the First Amendment, exempts the Petitioner employers from civil employment discrimination claims. The Ninth Circuit reversed, holding that without other Hosanna-Tabor factors present, Respondents’ obligations to administer religious doctrine in the classroom did not qualify as ministerial work. Petitioners argue to the Supreme Court that the Ninth Circuit’s “rigid formula” splits from every other circuit and that the split should be resolved, as this issue is on the rise and is of great importance to the various religious groups affected.

Advanced Search

Back to Top