Joshua Payne-Elliott had worked as a world language and social studies teacher at Indianapolis’ Cathedral High School for 13 years before he was abruptly fired in 2019. The school’s president said that the Catholic archdiocese “directed” him to fire Payne-Elliott, triggering a lawsuit that has been winding its way through the courts. On Friday, however, Marion Superior Court Judge Lance D. Hamner issued an order in favor of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis’ motion to dismiss the suit.
The archdiocese argued that it can set whatever rules it wants for employees, and it began requiring staff to sign a “morality clause” several years ago but Payne-Elliott was never asked to sign one. The archdiocese also ordered another school to fire Payne-Elliott’s husband, who is also a teacher. However the school refused, even in the face of the archdiocese’s attempts to strip it of its Catholic status.