The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that teachers at religious schools cannot file discrimination suits against their employers and are not covered by federal protections, in a 7-2 decision written by Justice Samuel Alito. Justices Ruth Bader Ginsberg and Sonia Sotomayor dissented. The court had previously ruled that ministers could not sue religious bodies such as churches and synagogues for discrimination, citing a “ministerial exemption.” The decision in Our Lady of Guadalupe School v. Morrissey-Berru, which involved a teacher whose contract was not renewed after disclosing that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer, was wrapped together with St. James School v. Biel, which centered around an instructor whose contract was not renewed after she refused to retire. In both cases, the schools had cited the unanimous 2012 ruling in Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. EEOC. The Wednesday ruling expands that exemption to include teachers at religious schools who do not primarily teach religion.
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