Ruling that religious organizations have the right to hire and fire employees who perform religious duties based on any criteria they choose, the Supreme Court of the United States upheld an appellate court decision in a case involving Cheryl Perich, a teacher at Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School in Redford, MI, who was fired after she received a narcolepsy diagnosis.
Perich, who taught religious as well as secular classes and periodically led chapel services, argued that the church’s action violated the Americans With Disabilities Act. She joined the school as a lay teacher in 1999, then underwent religious training and later became a “called teacher,” expected to perform her job “according to the Word of God and the confessional standards of the Evangelical Lutheran Church as drawn from the Sacred Scriptures.” After becoming ill in 2002, she was ready to return to work in 2005. By then, the school had hired another teacher. After she threatened to sue to get her job back, she was fired for “insubordination and disruptive behavior.” Church and school leaders maintained that disputes should be resolved within the church, not in court....
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