Search This Blog

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Alcazar v. Catholic Archbishop: Ministerial Exemption Bars Minimum Wage Action

In Alcazar v. Corporation of the Catholic Archbishop of Seattle, --- F.3d ----, 2010 WL 5029533 (9th Cir. December 10, 2010), an en banc panel of the Ninth Circuit affirmed an order granting judgment on the pleadings in a case involving a seminarian who alleged that the Church failed to pay him minimum wage in violation of Washington law. The Court held:
Churches, like all other institutions, must adhere to state and federal employment laws. But the federal courts have recognized a “ministerial exception” to that general rule. The exception exempts a church's employment relationship with its “ministers” from the application of some employment statutes, even though the statutes by their literal terms would apply. A key inquiry, therefore, is whether an employee is a “minister” for purposes of the exception. Where, as here, the plaintiff alleges that he “entered the seminary to become a Catholic priest” and performed his duties “in a ministerial placement,” “[a]s part of [his] preparation for ordination into the priesthood,” we hold that he is a “minister” for purposes of the ministerial exception.
Slip op. at 1. The opinion is available here.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.