“Ministerial Exception” Upheld in Campus Ministry Context

Are campus ministries exempt from anti-discrimination employment laws, with respect to their religious leaders?  The federal Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has emphatically said, “Yes.”  Its decision expands application of the “ministerial exception” doctrine that protects faith-based organizations from certain discrimination claims.  The decision also raises important questions concerning judicial application of the doctrine.

1.         Background to the “ministerial exception” – religious exemptions from certain discrimination laws.

Clergy Discipline – What May Be Disclosed to Others?

Most issues within churches and other religious institutions typically stay within such organizations as their own business.  But what happens when a pastor or other spiritual leader engages in misconduct or otherwise demonstrates unfitness for such religious leadership?  May the religious organization’s governing leaders share these shortcomings with others? 

When Volunteer Leadership Goes Bad: Personal Liability

Can nonprofit volunteer leaders ever be held personally liable in relation to their work for an organization?  Unfortunately, the answer is emphatically yes.  Most state nonprofit laws protect directors and officers from personal liability for acts performed in such volunteer capacities, but significant limitations exist.  Leaders need to be attentive to applicable legal requirements, to govern their organizations well, and to pursue available protections such as directors’ and officers’ insurance and other risk management measures.