Washington D.C., Jul 12, 2021 / 13:24 pm
A federal appeals court on Friday dismissed a hostile work environment lawsuit against the Archdiocese of Chicago, citing a religious exemption in federal law.
In the case of Demkovich v. St. Andrew the Apostle Parish, a former parish employee sued both St. Andrew's and the Chicago archdiocese for discrimination after he was fired in 2014.
The former employee, Sandor Demkovich, had served as the parish's music director, choir director and organist, and had entered a same-sex marriage contract in 2014. The archdiocese said that violated both the terms of his employment and Church teaching. Demkovich alleged that the parish pastor created a hostile work environment for him based on his sexual orientation and medical issues.
In a 7-3 ruling on Friday, a full panel of the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals found that due to the so-called “ministerial exception” in federal civil rights law, the court could not adjudicate Demkovich’s claims. The exception holds that the government cannot interfere in a church’s selection of its religious ministers.